We’ve all heard about the tech skills gap: thousands of jobs available, but not enough people with the right skills to fill the positions. As an industry, technology is expanding at a faster rate than any other. However, it suffers from a huge gap in basic education. Children aren’t being trained in tech skills like Web development at school, and many adults are unaware of how the products they use every day are built or maintained. With technology entering almost every sphere of our lives, it’s crucial that we somehow pass on the skills of coding and computers to the younger generations if we are to continue to benefit from the huge advantages technology can offer us.
But it’s not all doom and gloom: the job opportunities are there for those who are willing to train in sought-after skills like Web development and UX design.
Sypros Fotiou is one of the new generation of DIY career-builders who recognized the tech skills gap and saw an opportunity for a career change. One of CareerFoundry’s recent success stories, Spyros had been unemployed for some time, despite having racked up the hours studying electrical and computer engineering at university. All of the jobs he wanted to apply to required skills he didn’t specifically have. He weighed his options and decided his best option was to sign up for tech boot camp. In just a few months, Spyros had completed CareerFoundry’s Web development course; before he knew it, he had become a busy freelance programmer.
Society as a whole depends more and more on technology in every aspect of life — from studying to working, leisure time to socializing — which means the variety of jobs available to those in the know is almost limitless. The jobs aren’t confined to the tech industry alone: every industry is crying out for talented techies, from the sciences to the arts, retail to business. Every industry now relies on technology more than ever before, and this reliance is only growing.
It has become the role of tech boot camps and online educators — who have stepped in where universities and schools have failed — to teach skills to a generation that is struggling to find work in this creative, challenging, and lucrative industry.
Where Can You Learn?
There are numerous online and offline options for those who are willing to grasp this opportunity with both hands. For those without the access or financial support to attend an offline coding school, the Internet offers many online options, both paid and free.
If tech is a total career change for you, a good way to start is to look out for upcoming tech events in your area. Hackathons are happening all over the world every week, and they are worth checking out to see what’s involved and what aspects of development and design might be of interest to you. Local and global tech conferences such as Campus Party also usually have free coding workshops to give people a taste of what’s involved. Volunteering at the event usually gets you a free access pass to all areas! This is a great way to see what’s going on in the industry and rub shoulders with some of tech’s brightest stars.
There’s a whole other article to be written about women in code, but in the meantime, check out nonprofit organization Rails Girl, which offers free Ruby on Rails workshops across the globe with the sole purpose of getting more women into tech.
General Assembly is an offline coding school that immerses students in technology from day one, with programming experts teaching and supporting each class.
Many online platforms will offer a short course as a free sample to give you a taste of their learning options. There are also numerous websites like Codecademy and Coursera, which offer free Web-based tutorials to get you started on the path to your new career. If that doesn’t suit you, there are dozens of free apps you can download that will help you practice new skills on your phone, on the train, and on your way to what will soon be your old job.
CareerFoundry is an immersive program that offers comprehensive online training in Web development and UX Design. Students can learn at their own pace and from whatever location they choose. Importantly, CareerFoundry aims to get people jobs, so students are mentored throughout the program to create a portfolio project that becomes their first work sample as they launch their new careers.
Lynda.com has been around for almost twenty years and offers thousands of courses to millions of users. Fees are paid monthly and give you access to a library of online courses that covers software design, programming languages, game design, and more.
As you are learning the skills — and once you have completed the training — you will inevitably discover that the tech community is a very active and engaged crowd of people. There are regular events in big cities and small towns across the globe every single day. There are always enthusiastic programmers, designers, and general tech heads that will be more than happy to chat with you about the learning process, career opportunities, or just cool tech stuff in general.
If you have even the slightest interest in tech — or if you have had any doubts about your current career — now is as good a time as ever to start changing your plans. In just a few months you could have a brand new career and belong to a new exciting community that will carry you effortlessly into the future. As long as the tech skills gap exists, learning opportunities will continue to flourish and a new career in tech will be yours for the taking.