The most important thing you can do to future-proof your career

The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Future-Proof Your Career

7 minutes

The tech industry has always been in a constant state of change — that’s one reason why it’s so exciting and rewarding to have a career in tech that puts you at the forefront of innovation. 

But recently, as the biggest organizations in tech adjust to economic turmoil and cut back on hiring, all this change adds a layer of uncertainty. Folks in or pursuing a career in tech are left wondering: What does it take to future-proof your career?

There’s no singular silver bullet that’s guaranteed to future-proof your career in tech (or any industry, really). In today’s tech landscape, “future-proofing” your career really means constantly evolving your skill set and staying open to learning new things, says Erica Rivera, a career coach and tech recruiter at Google who recruits software engineers, application engineers, program managers, and technical program managers. 

The good news? There are a few tactical things you can do to give yourself the best chance of having a rewarding career through tumultuous times and well beyond. An easy place to start is by signing up for Codecademy. The brand new Codecademy Pro features will help you not only learn new marketable skills, but also boost your career potential. Here are some more strategies that can help you future-proof your career.

Evolve your skill set

Recruiters are always looking to hire people who are committed to learning and developing at every stage of their career. “Taking courses just to learn and upskill — that’s important,” Erica says. “That tells me that you’re someone who is a constant learner, you want to grow, and you’re willing to put in the effort to do so.” 

People who want to stand out in the tech job market should show potential employers that they’re adaptable in changing environments, Pooja Chhabria, LinkedIn’s career expert, told CNBC Make It. “Employers are therefore keen to recruit agile tech talent — they not only fulfill a specific need of today but have skills that are future-proof to respond to the needs of the future,” she said.

Find a plan that fits your goals

Whether you’re considering a big career change or are a seasoned developer, seek out opportunities to expand your skill set, Erica says. Not sure where to start? If you’re just at the start of your coding journey, you might want to check out the top 15 Codecademy courses and see what piques your interest. Or if your ultimate goal is to change careers, the free course Choosing a Career in Tech can help guide you to the languages and technologies you should learn. Codecademy also has courses that are geared towards experienced programmers who want to learn a new language or skill, like Python for Programmers, C++ for Programmers, and R for Programmers

Even folks who are in non-technical roles in the corporate world should consider picking up tech skills that could add value to their particular role or industry. Right now, organizations are eager to find ways that they can bring their pool of talented employees into the tech ecosystem, Janelle Hill, chief of research of the CIO research practice at Gartner, recently told CIO Dive

For example, maybe you could take the path Analyze Financial Data with Python to level up the way you process, analyze, and visualize finance data. Another option is the career path Business Intelligence Data Analyst, where you’ll learn how to use Python, SQL, and other business intelligence tools to understand and deliver business insights. If you want to upskill and take your career to the next level, consider signing up for Codecademy Plus for access to all of the courses and structured skill paths in our catalog, as well as quizzes and real-world projects. Explore our brand new offerings and find a Codecademy plan that fits your goals.

Take a look at trends

If you’re a technologist who’s been in a role for a long time, and you’re adept at the tools and skills you’ve utilized throughout your career, you might be hesitant to step outside your comfort zone. But it’s always a good idea to make sure that your skill set is still in-demand, Erica says. 

One way to do that is to stay up to date on the technologies and topics that are trending in your particular area of expertise. For example, the 2022 Stack Overflow Developer Survey found that Rust is the programming language that developers are most eager to learn. You can check out the Codecademy course Rust for Programmers to start learning the fundamentals of the language. 

“A lot of times, industry trends tell us what we need to focus on when it comes to our careers,” Erica says. If you keep reading stories about how generative AI is going to change the world, why not take the Codecademy skill path Machine Learning/AI Engineering Foundations? Or, if you’re curious about Web3, you could take the free course Introduction to Blockchain and Crypto to gain a high-level understanding of the technology. Whatever your specific area of expertise is, figure out how you can mold your background and industry knowledge to meet the new demands. 

Follow industry news

The recent news stories about job layoffs at established tech companies are practically impossible to ignore. And while it can be disheartening (or just plain scary) to hear about the sweeping changes in the industry, it’s important to stay up to date with what’s going on in our world, Erica says. “Make sure that you know which companies are still actively hiring, versus maybe ones that are pausing and doing layoffs,” she says. 

With a Codecademy Pro account, you’ll get access to exclusive resources that will give you a leg up during your job search. For example, Codecademy Pro learners will be able to connect with recruiters one-on-one and browse personalized job postings from top tech employers that are interested in hiring Codecademy learners. 

Consider following organizations and thought leaders on social media platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter to get updates and news about the industry. (BTW, check out this blog for advice on how to network on social media while still keeping it professional.) You can also subscribe to newsletters written by people in tech to get regular news digests (we’re fans of TLDR Newsletter and Benedict’s Newsletter). Or perhaps you could offer to take someone in your professional network to coffee to hear how folks are coping with changes at other organizations. 

On that note, try not to get so wrapped up in tech industry news that you overlook job opportunities in other industries. There’s a huge demand for tech professionals who can help modernize industries like finance, health care, and aerospace. In other words: You don’t have to work “in tech” to have a technical career.

Market yourself

Get used to “tooting your own horn” and publicizing what you’re learning or working on. For instance, make sure your professional portfolio or website is updated with projects you’ve worked on or certifications you’re pursuing. 

Hot tip: Include courses you’re taking or professional certificates you’ve earned on your LinkedIn profile so recruiters can see that you’re dedicated to learning. Earn a certificate from completing a Codecademy course? Add it your LinkedIn! If you have a Codecademy Pro account, you can earn Codecademy’s new professional certifications. These Codecademy certificates are a way to showcase that you’ve passed all of the exams in a Codecademy Career Path, so you can add them to your LinkedIn profile and instantly show recruiters that you’re job-ready.

New professional Codecademy certificates will help you showcase your skills to recruiters and hiring managers.

Often when Erica is recruiting for a role, she’ll look at a candidate’s certifications to better understand their skill set and experience. “If there’s someone whose background doesn’t necessarily align with what I’m looking for from a recruiting standpoint, then I will look at certifications that show experience,” she says. “The certification tells me that this is somebody that I probably would be more open to speaking to, or at least gauging their interest level.” 

There are other ways you can make it known that you’re taking tangible steps to further your career. If you’re not actively job searching and are focused on upskilling in your current role, consider hosting an informal brown bag meeting where you can share key takeaways from what you’ve learned with your team. Or, incorporate any courses you’ve taken or certifications you earned into your annual performance review so your team leader is aware of what you’re working on. 

Take the next step to future-proof your career

It’s a great time to sign up or upgrade to Codecademy Pro, because we recently revamped the plan with new features that will help people like you future-proof their careers in technology. With a Codecademy Pro membership, you’ll get access to Codecademy’s professional certifications and career services.

Whether you want to add another programming language to your tech stack, start working towards a new career, or just build an app for fun, you can find a Codecademy plan that fits your goals. Be sure to explore our entire catalog to see the courses, skill paths, and career paths available to you.

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