For many job seekers, tech is at once an intimidating and exciting career prospect. On the one hand, you can scarcely read a job report without hearing more and more about how quickly careers in the tech industry are taking off.
On the other hand, there are industry barriers. There’s plenty to learn. The jobs can be complex, and the industry isn’t well known for its diversity.
In this article, we make a case for why you should put your reservations aside and consider a career in programming. Read on for more information and potential career opportunities in this intriguing industry.
Table of Contents
- Why Coding?
- Background Requirements
- Great Careers to Consider for Those with a Coding Background
- 1. Software Application Designer
- 2. Web Developer
- 3. Computer Systems Engineer
- 4. Computer Systems Analyst
- 5. Database Administrator
- 6. Quality Assurance
- 7. Business Intelligence
- 8. Programming
- Breaking Down Barriers
The tech sector is one of the fastest-growing employment segments on the planet. New jobs are being created in tech daily, and they tend to feature higher-than-average salaries and plenty of flexibility. The majority of the jobs featured on our list today can be performed remotely some or all of the time.
People who work in programming also tend to enjoy it a great deal. The work can be challenging but provides the professional with new and creative tasks every day, making it one of the most rewarding career opportunities on the market.
Every once and a while, you’ll hear about a twelve-year-old who hacks into the White House’s website and gets offered a job by Google two weeks later.
I’ll hear about that, will I?
Well, we don’t want to put words in your ears. But it happens. And the reason it happens is that coding and programming skills are often cultivated on the home front by passionate players who want to learn them.
It is possible to get a job in programming without earning a degree. That’s what Robert Frost would call “the road less traveled,” and while it may make all the difference, it won’t improve your odds of success.
You might be reading this article because you’re already passionate about programming and entirely versed in its intricacies. Even if you know a thing or two, it will help your job prospects get a degree in computer science or technology.
That’s not all. Some of our list’s highest-paying jobs require more than coding skills. They’ll also warrant a healthy range of soft skills. Communication. Charisma. Leadership. Perhaps things can be learned but not taught in a classroom.
To go after these more competitive positions, you may want to pursue an advanced degree in business and pay your dues in all the traditional ways—networking, graduate school, entry-level jobs, promotions, etc.
In addition to getting the right educational and professional experience required to land a competitive job, there are certain key things that everyone working in code needs to know.
Great Careers to Consider for Those with a Coding Background
Not quite. Programming languages refer to the phrases used to communicate with computers to create code. There are as many as 2500 out there, though the actual number isn’t precise. At any rate, they aren’t as intimidating as they sound.
1. Software Application Designer
Software application design is a career path with a projected growth forecast of around 20%. Often operating on Java Script, software application design allows programmers to collaborate closely with other talented professionals to bring complicated projects to life.
Like many programming jobs, it’s often a long-term proposition. In addition to the app-building process, there is often an endless influx of updates, patches, upgrades, routine maintenance, etc.
Perfect for people with interest in larger-scale projects, software application design is a lucrative and rewarding career path with a median salary of around $100K.
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2. Web Developer
In the age of drag-and-click website building, anyone is invited to think of themselves as web builders. The truth is that a good website, especially one requiring custom features, is almost always the product of a web builder’s efforts.
Not only do they make websites look professional, but they also play a crucial role in guaranteeing their performance. A website that crashes or gets buggy can cost a business a fortune, regardless of how well they do everything else right.
Web developer views their work from the perspective of customers. What features will they want to see? How will they interact with the website, and what can be done to ensure those interactions go as smoothly as possible?
Web developers earn a respectable salary for being able to answer those questions—something to the tune of around $75K on average.
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3. Computer Systems Engineer
Computer systems engineers operate with more of a “big picture” mentality. A client will approach them with a goal. It might be to develop a digital tool, revamp their website services, or — well. Use your imagination. A business has a need. Computer systems engineers get paid (around $90K) to supply an answer.
Their work is less about getting their hands dirty and covered with code and more about coordinating the development process. They will work closely with the client and the team to ensure that the customer goals are being met. This usually means finding the right digital solution and staying on track to meet the deadline and budget.
This job requires a firm understanding of code, and someone will best serve it with excellent people skills.
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4. Computer Systems Analyst
A business has a goal. They want to accomplish X, but they need — well. They don’t know what they need to accomplish it. That’s where a computer systems analyst comes in. They will speak with the business about its goals, examine its systems, and make recommendations.
Upgrades, new products, new features, new training. Whatever it takes to help the business get to where they are going. The work is usually done on a freelance basis, though huge businesses may keep a computer systems analyst on the staff if they routinely have use for them.
The field has an estimated growth rate of around 10% over the next decade and a median salary of around $90K.
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5. Database Administrator
Database administrators work closely with enormous swaths of information to help businesses reach their goals. In the information age, this career path will keep a person busy. The job responsibilities may vary daily, but the work involves developing data storage and recovery strategies.
Data administration jobs are growing at about 10% and feature a salary of $90K. For people who enjoy working with numbers, it is a rewarding, enjoyable career path to consider.
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6. Quality Assurance
Quality assurance professionals work to test how well a software program works. They do this by examing the software and automating tests that probe deep into its code and performance to ensure it does exactly what it is supposed to do.
This is an essential job in the broader context of software development. Building an app or digital tool takes a lot of time and money. Software testers ensure those expenses are rewarded with a product that performs as needed on launch day.
They are rewarded for their contributions with an annual salary of around $90k. It’s also a quickly growing career path, with new positions developing at a rate of around 10% each year.
7. Business Intelligence
It’s worth pointing out that coding knowledge is a bonus rather than a requisite for this career path. If you know how to do it, all the better. If not, you can probably still scrape by and land a job in this exciting and rewarding career path.
Business intelligence professionals gather information and make recommendations to help businesses achieve their goals. In the digital age, many of these solutions will involve software, where coding knowledge comes into play.
You might not need it, but it will make your resume stand out. An invaluable asset even when applying for positions that are in high demand. Business intelligence professionals earn a median salary of just under $90k.
Of course, your coding background can help you achieve a career in programming. Straightforward and obvious, perhaps, but also lucrative. Programming jobs are in frequent demand, providing coders with attractive, often changing work.
This job can be performed freelance or full-time with an agency and is often done remotely, making it a flexible career path.
With a median salary of $85K, it’s not as lucrative as other careers on our list. However, there are many ways to increase the bankability of your programming skills.
Breaking Down Barriers
Has a frown creased your face? Might it be that you did consider exploring a career in programming only to find that people with your background are scantly represented in the industry? You’re not the sort of person to shirk away from adversity, but at the same time, you don’t want the friction. You’re talented, which should be enough to land you a good job.
The tech industry has been pretty monolithic regarding its professional representation. Overwhelmingly, these high-paying and exciting career opportunities have gone to white males.
If you are anything other than that, it’s very natural to wonder if there is a place for you in this career path.
That’s admittedly a personal consideration. It is, after all, mentally difficult to enter into a career or educational program in which you feel isolated and alone. That said, it’s worth noting that the tech industry has trended in a decidedly more diverse direction in recent years.
This is owing mainly to an increase in effort on the part of companies in the tech industry, as well as more concerted outreach attempts by tech-related educational programs.
We’re still far away from anything approaching adequate representation. However, the future looks promising. Consider adding your voice to the tech industry.
You will get a rewarding career. The business you work for will get a bright new star, and the consuming public will inch closer to seeing itself more comprehensively represented in tech. Everyone wins.
It’s not just that tech is an exciting and lucrative career path. It’s also quickly touching all aspects of professional life. Even careers that aren’t directly involved in programming benefit from a knowledge of it.
If, for example, you are interested in marketing or even in becoming a controller, you’ll find very quickly that at least a basic understanding of code will benefit you.
So much of business is done online now. It helps your career prospects to be the person who knows how to update the company page without calling it the tech people.
Or even to communicate more effectively with developers when it comes time to launch a new product.
As Gretzky put it, you’ve got to head where the puck is going. In the future, tech skills will be a vital component of almost all high-paying jobs.
Now is the time to develop your skills, make yourself more marketable, and open yourself up to rewarding and exciting career opportunities only available to those with technological fluency.