At Codecademy, we’re firm believers that there’s no single path to a fulfilling work life. In fact, the route that people take to a job in tech is often full of twists, turns, and detours along the way. If you’ve thought about having a career in tech, you might be looking for a proverbial map or guide that will help you understand your options.
The new Codecademy course Choosing a Career in Tech is designed to help demystify the various roles and career paths you can have in the tech industry. In the free course, we’ll break down the differences between types of programmers [link to other blog], help you narrow down the specialty that’s right for you, and lay out the technical tools that you need to launch your career in tech. It’s a great way to get introduced to the diverse roles that make up technical teams, and find your place in this growing field.
Curious how other Codecademy learners made the leap and chose to go after careers in tech? Here’s how Codecademy learners from different backgrounds decided that a career in tech was the right choice for them. Be sure to read all of the success stories on the Codecademy blog for career inspiration and practical advice from Codecademy learners who’ve been in your shoes.
There’s career mobility
The opportunity to grow at a company was an important factor that Software Support Technician Jacinta Hayward considered when evaluating job offers from a few different organizations. Jacinta, who was a disability support worker for years, learned how to code with Codecademy with the long-term goal of working in cybersecurity someday.
Jacinta accepted a job at a consumer healthcare company because it “had a lot more opportunities to move around within the company,” she says. “They’re really passionate about supporting and encouraging women in cybersecurity and programming as well, and they do a lot of internal hiring.” If you’re trying to move up the ladder at work, read this blog for tips from a recruiter about how to position yourself for a promotion.
You can prioritize your mental health
Software engineer Michael Wiltfong had a steady job in structural engineering, but felt like something was missing. Work stress started taking a toll on his mental health, so he learned to code with the intention of switching careers. “What really motivated me [to learn to code] was my happiness,” he says.
Michael eventually landed an entry-level tech job in customer support, where he was getting to solve problems and help customers troubleshoot code every day. The work felt fulfilling, and it reaffirmed his decision to change careers: “I found that these are the types of questions I like to answer,” he says. “That’s when I said, I really like this. I want a career in this.” He eventually went on to learn with Codecademy and become a Software Engineer.
Unfortunately, many people are pushed to explore new career opportunities because they’re burned out; be aware of these common signs and symptoms of job burnout so you can focus on healing.
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You can foster better work-life balance
The pandemic made remote work the norm for lots of industries, particularly tech. Juan Paredes, a Full-Stack Developer in Mexicali, Mexico, values having a job where he can work from home. Previously, he was spending 2 hours a day in traffic commuting to and from an office, which made work-life balance practically impossible. “The new job offers 100% home office,” he says. “I also get better pay and more benefits — like life insurance and all those kinds of benefits for the employee.”
You never stop learning
As a programmer, you’re constantly learning new things — it’s one of the most rewarding perks of working in tech. Serena Isone worked as a Senior Product Owner for nearly 10 years before pursuing a career as a Front-End Engineer. “I had a very comfortable salary, but felt limited because I wasn’t learning that much anymore,” she recalls. Initially Serena faced a steep learning curve, but said it was worth it to challenge herself. A senior engineer that she works with gave her advice that stuck: “You are never going to feel like you know everything.”
UI/UX Designer Elena Gorman shares the same enthusiasm: “Learning is like a luxury for me,” she says. As a mother of two young children, she was looking for a field where she could continue to grow professionally. “I feel like I’m building up my career again — and that’s something for me, and also for my children to see that it’s possible for women to have careers, progress, and follow their dreams,” she says.
You can earn a nice salary no matter where you live
When Shadow Smith got a call with a job offer as a Staff Engineer, he was pleasantly surprised that the new salary was double what he had been making, and included benefits. “I called my wife and we were freaking out about it,” he says. For lots of people like Shadow, remote tech jobs are a game-changer because they enable them to land well-paying positions that may not be available where they live.
For example, Bobby Hutter lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, and got a job as a Quality Assurance (QA) Manual Tester. He went from “barely getting by” making $12 per hour at a local PC repair shop to earning $29 an hour. “It was more money than I ever thought I could even ask for, and it’s a fully remote company,” he says. Read this blog to learn more about how much you can make as a QA Engineer, or explore other high-paying remote tech jobs.
You get to build things
If you consider yourself a maker at heart or you get a thrill out of creating things from scratch, you’d probably like being a developer. While studying cybersecurity in college, a professor spotted these traits in Andrew Polemeni and suggested that he learn to code. “I soon found cybersecurity not as interesting as coding, where you create the tools,” he says. “With the knowledge of both, I thought I could write secure tools, which is the future anyways.”
Andrew is now a Full-Stack Engineer and says he’s glad he learned practical coding skills on top of his cybersecurity background. “I liked that, instead of just doing the defending side of things, I could build products better,” he says. If you’re interested in learning more about cybersecurity, check out the free Codecademy cybersecurity course Introduction to Cybersecurity.
You can use transferable skills
No matter what type of job you’ve had in the past, you’re bound to have some transferable skills that will serve you well in a tech job. For example, soft skills like being an effective communicator or knowing how to solve problems under pressure are sought-after traits in most tech positions. Even your life experiences outside of work can carry over to programming.
Hopefully these stories from Codecademy learners who made a career out of their tech passions have inspired you to keep going on your coding journey. If you’re still not sure where to start, consider taking the free Codecademy course Choosing a Career in Tech to get a high-level understanding of the many opportunities out there. Once you figure out what career path interests you, Codecademy has everything you need to take the next step, including job search advice, portfolio-ready projects, and so much more.