Technology is now part of every aspect of our lives. The voice assistant you rely on for household items? The phone you check an average of 344 times per day? The automatic vacuum that stops and starts from your Wifi connection? It’s not exactly a secret: in the last ten years, it’s easy to see how deeply technology has infiltrated our daily routines.
Considering the global adoption of consumer technology across the world, tech jobs experienced steady growth for years, and only are forecasted to continue climbing. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, tech occupations will “grow 13 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.” So, if you’re here because you’re wondering if a career in technology is a viable pursuit, all signs point to yes.
It’s easy to look at a large amount of capital in the private market or the FAANG companies that make up 22% of the S&P 500 and think “Oh, this is tech.” However, they barely scratch the surface. Generally, a career working as a developer can fall into any of these focuses:
- Information Technology
- Computer Science
- Artificial Intelligence
- Software Development
- Cyber Security
- Data Science
- Product Management
Specific roles within each of these disciplines are highly sought-after because the average salaries pay well and offer a lot of flexibility, work-life balance, and growth opportunities. Tech jobs also require varying levels of education, which makes them a great industry to break into.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the ups and downs of a tech career, explore different industries that provide paths to technology careers, and how you can learn (and subsequently build) the technical skills needed for a successful new career in technology.
Pros and Cons of a Career in Tech
No job is perfect, and sometimes the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Here’s a look at why a technology career can be extremely fulfilling, and the challenges the industry is working to overcome.
Pro: You can work in nearly any industry.
The U.S. Labor of Bureau Statistics’ significant growth projection is a sign that a career in technology isn’t just working at Amazon, Facebook, or Google. Nearly every industry needs technology roles to keep businesses afloat and thriving. Here are a few that may pique your interest:
Measuring population growth, increased demand for water resources, changes in climate and weather patterns, and the use of agricultural products, such as biofuels, are just a few of the specialties tech jobs can focus on in the Ag industry.
Online platforms for remote courses, digital curriculums, and educational support tools are all a part of Education technology positions that are relevant at all levels. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we learn and digital transformations are occurring at every turn to support better learning through better technology.
- Health Care
In 2008, the U.S. enacted the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) to promote and expand the adoption of health information technology, specifically, the use of electronic health records (EHRs) by healthcare providers.” This adoption has also increased the number of tech jobs available in health care including cyber security and working with information systems. From EHRs management & IT healthcare analysts to Clinical data analysts, there is a lot of opportunity for a tech career path in health care.
Supply chain tracking, database management, and product management are only a few of the tech careers needed for the manufacturing industry. Those with an ability to analyze data, create business models and analyze cost and Return on Investment (ROI) can help companies streamline, reduce cost, and make more profit.
Pro: Learning is continuous.
If you're a person who strives to be a life-long learner, technology careers are definitely for you. The Harvard Business Review correctly reaffirms that “the only constant in the tech industry is changing. When you work in tech, you have to be comfortable knowing your expertise may become obsolete in a couple of years. You have to be ready to jump into the next significant shift.”
They're not kidding. Staying current as a data scientist, cloud computing software engineer, or full-stack developer is cost-of-entry. Embrace the idea that you're moving into a field that will be unforgiving to any software developer that rests on their laurels.
Pro: You can get paid well above the median U.S. salary.
Like most jobs, salaries depend on the actual job, location, experience, and education.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics outlines that the median annual wage for IT jobs is “$91,250, more than double the pay for all U.S. occupations.”
According to the U.S. News and World Report for 2022, the most well-paid positions in tech are:
- Information Security Analyst
- Software Developer
- Data Scientist
- IT Manager
- Computer Systems Analyst
- Web Developer
- Database Administrator
Con: There’s a lack of diversity in the industry, but bootcamps are making efforts to bolster new talent.
There is still a lot of progress to be made in the tech industry when it comes to diversity and equal pay. Currently, 15% of the tech workforce is from a BIPOC background. Furthermore and in a 2021 article on wage disparity, Forbes said “a recent study concluded that the gender gap for women in technology as a whole is worse today than it was in 1984.”
Major strides in HR practices across the nation are being made to hire, retain, and promote employees who come from a historically under-represented population. To help push greater diversity in the workforce, it’s crucial to educate more people from different backgrounds on tech skills.
Con: It’s a saturated workforce all pursuing high-competition jobs.
Large gaps in the workforce - partly due to the Great Resignation and COVID-19 pandemic - mean there are always companies hiring for tech jobs, but those open roles come with tough competition.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, in 2021 “employers posted more than 365,000 job openings for IT positions, with software developers, IT support specialists, systems engineers, and architects among the most coveted workers by employers.”
A positive reaction to the competitive job market is that top companies are offering more incentives like signing bonuses, unlimited paid time off, and education stipends to attract quality candidates. You could land one of the most coveted positions out there if you dedicate significant hours during and after a coding bootcamp to continue to build. The more quality apps you build and the more points of view you refine on solving business problems collaboratively, the better your chances of standing out.
The tech skills you need to shine in the competitive job market can be learned in a variety of settings. Traditional degrees, certificate programs, bootcamps, and self-paced learning through tutorials are all ways to start learning and building programming skills.
Building the Skills for a Career in Tech
With all the different ways to learn programming languages, computer science, data science, machine learning, and software engineering that exist it’s normal to wonder which option is best for you. Everyone has different learning styles - some education routes may make more sense than others.
Here are ways you can build technical skills to start a technology career path:
- Associate degree
Associate’s degrees are earned after completing 60-semester units. They can be completed through community colleges or four-year universities. These degrees also help solidify the fundamentals and support a transfer to a four-year for a Bachelor’s degree.
- Bachelor’s degree
Bachelor’s degrees are earned after completing 120-semester units at a four-year university. Computer Science degrees are the most costly education option, but perfect for those who are looking for a traditional education experience.
- Bootcamp Programs
Bootcamp coding courses start with the basics then progress into more advanced programming languages. These programs can take between 3 - 6 months to complete, and incorporate lecture-based learning, real-world examples, and portfolio projects to train students to become a software developer. Traditional universities even offer bootcamps to stay competitive in the space. Certifications are typically offered, although some in-person offerings can be found. These programs are a bit more flexible and cost-effective than degree programs, however, there’s far less accreditation among coding bootcamp providers.
Certification programs typically require 30-45 units to be completed. They require passing an exam to demonstrate skill proficiency and allow learners to focus on a specialized area or learn fundamental programming concepts. Certifications are typically offered, although some in-person offerings can be found.
- Self-paced learning with tutorials
There are numerous coding courses offered online that feature curated learning materials based on your interest and current technical abilities. One of the strengths of these programs is they’re often free or low-cost, can be completed when most convenient for you (try pitching to your boss why these should be woven into employee development), and help enhance your portfolio of projects. The downside is that most people are guided learners, and many people find these difficult to complete.
Overall, there’s a tremendous amount of potential options in the tech industry for professionals to hone new skills or coding language. Whether you’re brand new to tech, have some coding experience, hold a formal degree, or have only tried a couple of coding courses on your own, coding bootcamps provide accessible ways to break into a career in technology.
If you’re looking for a quicker route into this highly desired industry, bootcamps can help you get there. Get matched to one of the best coding bootcamps for you by filling out our questionnaire.