We’ve all seen headlines in the news that claim “tech is a hot field.” In fact, we’ve published articles with similar titles on this blog. But is it true? Is right now a great time to start a programming career?
Based on our first-hand experience over the last several years, we can say with confidence that there is overwhelming demand from employers and that thousands of our graduates have landed great jobs in technology—so yes, it’s a great time to start a programming career.
A recent report from Glassdoor confirms that our experience is part of a nation-wide trend.
Glassdoor is a site that “holds a growing database of millions of company reviews, CEO approval ratings, salary reports, interview reviews and questions, benefits reviews, office photos and more.” But get this—they employ real economists who study their own data and data from public sources so they can identify major trends happening in the job market.
Their chief economist, Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, released a report called Looking Ahead: 5 Jobs Trends to Watch in 2017, and it had several pieces of valuable information for people who want to start a programming career.
Let’s take a look at what Dr. Chamberlain discovered.
Tech jobs aren’t just at tech companies
We’ve said for a long time that “every company is becoming a tech company.” We don’t think about software developers being critical to businesses like grocery stores or automotive repair, but the reality is that we use websites and apps to do almost everything. In 2016, that undercurrent grew into a river:
A big change I saw unfold in 2016 is more traditional employers hiring for what used to be strictly “tech” jobs. Increasingly, jobs for data scientists, mobile developers and database engineers are showing up in more traditional, “old economy” industries like healthcare, finance and even retail.
That’s a big change from recent years. It wasn’t long ago when tech jobs and the tech industry were synonymous. Today, that’s changing. Every company with data is trying to transform itself in some measure into a “tech” company. Have a mobile app? Then you need developers. Have an e-commerce site? You need product managers and database engineers. Have “big data” from sales and online user behavior? Then you need data scientists to transform that into business knowledge.
That’s quite a paradigm shift. We’ve seen this in our own graduates. Growing up, many of them never thought they’d love working at a major retailer like Home Depot, but they are now developing cutting-edge prototypes in Innovation centers. Dr. Chamberlain highlights a similar point:
Even retail giants like Walmart are major tech employers today, with their Silicon Valley research facility aimed at attracting machine-learning experts to help automate pricing and logistics.
Salaries are going up
Money certainly isn’t everything, but we believe strongly that excellent employees who do great work should be well compensated. The good news for those who want to start a programming career is that salaries are increasing. Here’s more detail from the report:
In 2016, some early rays of sunlight burst through this gloomy wage picture. Wage growth from BLS ticked up to 2.8 percent from a year ago in October, the fastest pace in seven years and a clear sign of strength in the labor market. Data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta also showed wage growth picking up in 2016. And the Census Bureau reported this year than median household incomes rose 5.2 percent last year, the fastest pace on record since the 1960s.
As far as income potential, it’s a great time for the economy in general. For those who want to start a programming career, the news is even better. According to Facebook’s TechPrep site, the average starting salary for programmers is “$8,000 higher than the annual median US household income.”
Technology skills will be a requirement in the future
Right now having programming skills makes you more valuable no matter what your job is. Very soon, though, tech skills will be a basic requirement for all types of jobs. Near-term career progression is a great reason to start a programming career, but gaining the skills now will also help ensure long-term job security. Here’s what the Glassdoor report has to say about staying relevant:
For job seekers, the key to staying on the profitable side of automation is ongoing skill building. Workers increasingly need to build skills that are complementary to technology — learning to run the machine, not doing the same work the machine automates. As technology changes the landscape of work, workers will need to cultivate ongoing training, actively carving out time to re-sharpen skills on a permanent basis.
Just as professionals in law and medicine are required to satisfy ongoing professional development goals, we will see more organizations setting aside time for re-skilling to stay on top of the latest workplace technology.
Inspired? What should you do next?
If you’re interested in technology and want to learn more about how to start a programming career, you’re in the right place. There are hundreds of great resources that can help you start gaining the skills you need, starting today.
Here at The Iron Yard, we offer courses for people at every level—whether you want to try writing code for the first time or want to dive into a full-time program with career support. Here’s a quick overview of how you can get started today:
Learn the basics
- If you’ve already tried online tutorials and want to take the next step, check out our part-time Foundations Course, where you’ll learn from a professional and build a real website from the ground up.
Start a programming career
- We offer intense, immersive programs that prepare you to start a programming career in a short-amount of time. Offered in 12-week full-time and 24-week part-time formats, these courses are taught by experienced professionals and include our world-class career support program. Learn more today.