Looking Towards a Career in Software? Here’s Where to Start

Interested In A Career in Software Development? Here’s Where to Start!
As we experience a growing economy, fostered by unprecedented growth in the technology industry, many people are considering careers in software. Currently, there are almost 1 million open software and tech jobs in the US market, which is a great indication of the career prospects in the tech sector. 

But how do you gain the necessary knowledge and real-world experience necessary to land a great development position? The following article will go into detail about where to start if you’re thinking of becoming a tech professional while offering the core information you need to know. 

Jobs in Tech: Barriers to Entry
In software development, one of the greatest hurdles when it comes to getting your foot in the door is education. Training is essential in tech, as being up-to-date with current practices and skills is the foundation of the trade. However, among the most discouraging barriers is how expensive education is. There is tremendous interest in pursuing tech-related education, but a lack of funding can be a serious hindrance. Another perceived obstacle is that many people feel working in tech is out of reach. However, more people of color and women are becoming developers than ever before. 

Additionally, software development and coding are not rudimentary skills; it takes time, consistency, and a great amount of aptitude to excel in this field. One of the most important factors is experience; many companies are interested in understanding your capabilities by seeing the projects you’ve worked on. Companies aim to hire based on real-world experience and knowledge, not just on a degree. Training that includes actual work experience, such as an apprenticeship, becomes so much more valuable in this regard.

The Most Notable Misconceptions About Working in Software
The exact training aspect of being prepared to work in software is not cut-and-dry. 4-year IT degrees, coding “bootcamps,” and knowledge of all coding languages are not the only prerequisites. Though these can be key foundations, when it comes to a career, there is great flexibility and varying requirements between different companies. What a large software company is looking for can differ greatly from what a startup needs. 

Actual Software Training: Competency is Key
One factor that often comes up in vetting potential candidates for jobs in tech is their passion. While it’s obvious that prospective employees should have knowledge and experience, curiosity and passion are indicators that someone is looking for more than “just a job.” These traits indicate commitment, interest, and a drive to continuously learn and adapt as the position requires.

To Get a Degree or Not?
One of the most exciting aspects of working in tech in the present day is the myriad of options available. If you are aiming towards a career in software, you may be weighing the pros and cons of pursuing a degree. While education is a necessity, whether through a traditional 4-year degree in computer science or a more innovative approach like an apprenticeship, it’s very much a personal choice. It’s also important to emphasize the point that there will always be a great deal of independent learning involved in this field. There are numerous courses of action you can take towards a career in software and you should become familiar with each of them before you commit to a path. 

Bootcamp vs. Degree vs. Apprenticeship
Along these lines, you should seriously consider what each type of training entails. Here is a brief look at what you can gain from a degree, a bootcamp, or an apprenticeship if you are pursuing a career in software. 

4-Year Degree: A 4-year computer engineering degree will always hold a certain level of distinction, however, it does present some challenges regarding the job market. You will gain a wide range of programming skills, along with a well-rounded base of critical thinking and analytical skills that demonstrate you are capable of performing for the job market, but you may not be equipped with the real-world, on-the-job skills a developer needs. A tech-specific degree is an excellent starting point, but further training will most likely be necessary.

Coding Bootcamp: Bootcamps have become quite popular for those seeking training with a “fast-track” approach. However, they do not provide a well-rounded range of experience and they can be very expensive with costs ranging from $30-$50K. Many have curriculums that run for 3 or 6 months, which may seem attractive to those aiming for a quick education option. If you are an absolute novice when you go into bootcamp, upon graduating you still may not be prepared for an actual development job. You may qualify for a junior position or even an internship, but you’ve got to be realistic in what’s possible in a short amount of time. While many programs are quite rigorous, with the rise of coding bootcamps, you also need to factor in the level of competition for jobs available to those with the same level of knowledge and lack of actual working experience. 

Apprenticeship: Bridging the gap in regards to what is needed in the software industry are innovative apprenticeships that offer the training needed to pursue careers in development, along with actual training in the field. As an expedited path into development, apprenticeships, such as that offered by Techtonic, offer a unique blend of classroom training and 2000 hours of employment in the industry. What is also unique about this education path is that apprentices are paid for their time spent learning, disrupting yet another barrier to entry in the tech industry. Upon completion, students are equipped with both the necessary education and actual professional experience needed to work as part of a software development team.

Conclusion
Software development remains one of the leading industries driving growth and if you are aiming to take advantage of these opportunities, it’s important to know what your options are regarding education and how to kickstart your career. Numerous possible paths can provide great in-roads, however, you should be aware of what each requires. Above all, it’s important to keep in mind that this ever-growing, ever-evolving field requires knowledge, experience, drive, and a passion to keep learning because technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace.

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If you're interested in learning more about Techtonic please Contact Us today! Techtonic is the premier partner for developing onshore, commercial-grade software. We've also developed a unique method to simultaneously close the talent gap that exists within technology, by tapping into a new and highly diverse workforce. Our model is pioneering the way clients develop and hire top talent, and we'd love to work with you!