Tech jobs get a lot of hype — and for good reason. The industry is growing fast, demand is high for technical skills, and the pay isn’t bad, either. A growing number of mid-career professionals are choosing to take the leap into the tech world in search of a fulfilling, exciting career path. And it pays off for those who are dedicated to making a change. According to Hired’s 2020 State of Software Engineers report, 85% of software engineers surveyed said they’re happy they chose to pursue a career in software development.
If the prospect of job satisfaction alone isn’t enough to help you take the plunge, there are plenty of other reasons to make a change, including higher salaries, stronger job prospects, and increased job security.
From online learning to self-driving cars, technology drives nearly every industry these days. More than 50% of the roles in LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report are related to engineering or development, a testament to both the growth and staying power of tech. Indeed’s Best Jobs of 2020 also confirms the trend, naming seven of their top 10 roles in tech. “Full stack developer” leads the list with a colossal 162% growth in job postings over the last three years. Careers in tech are becoming fundamental to today’s workforce, and opportunities abound.
The tech industry can also be incredibly rewarding. Whether you’re building a game to entertain app users or coding algorithms to help doctors diagnose chronic illness, technology impacts nearly every part of our existence. You might just find yourself writing code that changes lives.
Oh, and did we mention compensation? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for tech roles in May 2019 was $88,240 — more than double the national average for all other jobs. And the median salary for software developers was $107,510, which climbs even higher in major cities like San Francisco and New York.
So, what does all of this mean for you? Tech jobs are undeniably attractive, and yet demand is increasing faster than supply can keep up. As a mid-career professional making a change, you’ll be moving into a job market full of open doors.
Engineers and developers make up a significant share of available tech roles, and they’re only increasing in popularity. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 8% job growth for web developers and 22% for software developers over the next decade. That said, the tech world is ever-changing, and new job functions are constantly being introduced.
And keep in mind that tech jobs aren’t only found at tech companies. According to research by labor economist Andrew Flowers, tech jobs in non-tech industries like finance, retail, and energy are growing rapidly. From 2013 to 2017, the share of tech workers in agricultural equipment and oil and gas extraction nearly doubled. So, even if you don’t envision yourself at a sleek Silicon Valley startup, there are ample ways to carve out your niche in the technology space.
Here are just a few of the careers in tech you might explore:
Using mathematics theory, applied statistics, and computer science, data scientists analyze complex sets of data to inform business decisions and build strategies.
Digital Marketing Manager
Digital marketing managers use analytics, programming, and a broad set of tech tools to plan and implement data-driven campaigns that drive traffic and increase customer conversion.
Machine Learning Engineer
One of the fastest growing careers in tech, a machine learning engineer uses advanced data models to build automated, predictive software that improves (or “learns”) each time it runs. These roles are powering artificial intelligence software across myriad industries today.
A great example of tech jobs that don’t require being a developer, business analysts bridge the functions of IT and business strategy to help companies make smart, efficient decisions.
These all-around developers perform both back-end and front-end engineering work, handling everything from coding complex databases to creating websites clients love.
The above list covers just a handful of the roles in the tech sphere, and depending on your end-goal, your path may vary. Despite a wide range of possibilities on the table, though, technical skills are core to all of these roles — meaning you’ll need the right training and know-how to succeed.
Whether you’re on the cusp of a career change, searching for your dream job, or just checking out the options, you’re probably here because you’re wondering how to get into tech. The good news is that no matter your background, making a career change is definitely doable.
A recent study by recruiting firm Robert Half showed that two-thirds of IT managers plan to grow their teams in areas like security, cloud computing, and business intelligence, but nearly 90% are having a challenging time finding that talent. The opportunity is there, but it’s up to you to make it happen.
Here are a few pointers for how to get into tech:
1) Understand the industry.
Get to know the companies where you might like to work. Learn about the roles and job titles in the tech space. Think about what your day-to-day will look like — what excites you? What doesn’t?
2) Get clear on your goals.
There’s something to be said for exploring your options, but once you’ve nailed down the path you’d like to take, set a clear, measurable goal. Create milestones on a weekly or monthly basis to hold yourself accountable along your career change journey.
3) Build your technical skills.
No matter your focus area, these jobs all rely heavily on technical skills, from programming to data visualization. Identify the skills you’ll need to acquire and begin honing them now. If you’re starting from scratch, consider an intensive, hands-on program that will set you up for success and help get you hired.
4) Commit to a plan.
The students who join programs at Lambda School are dedicated to their future and willing to put in the work to get there. Once you’ve made a decision to pursue a career change, create a plan to get there and take the steps to make it happen.
Making a career change to tech requires an investment of your time, energy, and, yes, sometimes money. But don’t let that deter you. According to Indeed, 81% of tech career-changers recouped their financial investment after making the switch. (And with Lambda School’s optional deferred tuition model, there’s a no-risk option!)
So, why work in tech? Because you’re ready for an invigorating, rewarding career change.
And we’ll be here to help you along the way. Lambda School offers live online programs for students ready to get serious about exploring careers in tech. Our interactive, accessible programs build deep knowledge to prepare you for a variety of careers in tech. Learn more about our live online courses to determine if Lambda School is the right fit for you.