Surely these jobs are just for geeks? People who get more excited about how much memory their phone has got over actually using it to talk to anyone, and those people who loved Chess Club (I was actually in chess club, although I wasn’t very good) and really enjoyed visiting that shop with all the board games in with weird characters where I guess they play some kind of dungeons and dragons thing or whatever. And anyway, computer programming is really hard. REALLY hard, so I would not be able to do it anyway.
So let’s put some of these myths to bed right here, right now. People who work in technology today are not all geeks. In fact, most are definitely not geeks! Working in technology today is all about teamwork. Gone are the days where the tech people sit in a cupboard and hide from everyone else. Technologists have to work with business people, other technologists, customers, end users, and just about everyone else in the organisation! Building technology today is very much a team based pursuit – a collaborative pursuit.
Isn’t Programming REALLY HARD?
How about programming being REALLY hard. Who tells you that? Programmers? Some like to say that because they are basically saying “I can do something really hard”, so they look good. The reality however is far from that. Obviously some programming tasks are really hard, but very many of them (I would even say most of them) are actually not that hard. And certainly learning a programming language does not need to be that hard.
Not all roles in tech are programming anyway!
So Who can get into Tech?
Surely you need a degree or something? Absolutely not. I have been training people to be computer programmers since 1997. Some of then have degrees and some of them do not. It makes little or no difference as far as I can tell for most tech roles. What makes the difference is aptitude, attitude, and the ability to think logically. That is pretty much it. Let me give you some examples. In my training business back in 2000, I wanted someone to work alongside me. I had a friend who worked in a DIY store. I employed him, taught him Java, and then he taught Java, and a whole host of other technologies for my company. I have another friend, an English teacher by training, who now works very successfully in technology, and then an apprentice I trained who was previously working in Next as a shop assistant – now a computer programmer in the public sector in the UK. I don’t give these examples to denigrate their previous profession, but I give them to show how different people can end up in technology. I could give loads of examples like this. My own story is that I was a full time church pastor who was trained as a science teacher. I have a degree in Biochemistry, which doesn’t help that much (if at all), yet I was able to get trained in technology and have been in the industry ever since.
What are the benefits of working in technology?
There are many benefits, but from what I have observed, they include:
Good salaries Technologists get paid very well in my opinion. Check out Glassdoor salary estimates and you will see what I mean. Search for java programmer, or software tester, or business analyst and see what it says. Even junior roles are typically in the mid £20k mark.
Good Work Life Balance Obviously this depends who you work for! But, a survey in the Huffington Post showed 5 of the top 10 roles are in technology! The number 5 position being software developer.
There is plenty of work out there. One in ten of all new jobs in the UK are in technology.There is lots of work for good tech professionals. You will never need to be out of work for long in this industry, and with companies constantly struggling to fill their tech roles, this is good news for anyone coming into the industry.
Interesting work. There is really interesting stuff going on in technology. If you love the technology itself, which many do, then there is lots to get excited about. If you love seeing customers using applications you have worked with, then you can really get some satisfaction from the roles. It’s not all programming either. It can be testing, speaking with customers to find out what they want the technology to do, making sure it is easy to use and work with, and so on.
There is no formal way to get into the industry. This is the best bit for you! It doesn’t matter what your background is, you could get into this. You just need to be able to do it. You don’t need x or y qualification. You simply need to be able to do it. It’s not like being a pilot, where you have to qualify, or being a doctor where you have to qualify. In technology, you simply have to be able to do the job.
What do I do now?
Well, if you have read this, and it has wet your appetite, the next step is to work out how you are going to get your first job.
Here are some suggestions.
Find a friend who has a tech business and see if they will hire you as a trainee. I appreciate that this might be a tall order for most. But I put it in simply because that is what I did and I have also done it for others since.
Complete an apprenticeship. Although there is no official upper age limit, most are completed by those aged under 24. But it is definitely an option. I have taught on apprenticeship schemes in the public sector. All of the group members were in their early 2o’s and had left school at 18.
Do a relevant degree course. That is clearly a way into the industry, but in England anyway, you will have the student debt to go with it!
Complete a boot camp. Boot camps are immersive 8-16 week training programs that basically train you from the ground up in technology. I run one in Bristol as Conygre called Bristol Boot Camp as I have been running apprenticeships and graduate training programs literally all over the world, and wanted to spend more time at home in Bristol. These boot camps are designed to get you into a job in the sector and good ones will be working with employers to help shape the curriculum and also help you get a job at the end. You typically have to pay to attend them (between around 5k to 8k) but if you work hard and get stuck in, you should have no trouble getting a job at the end of it paying the mid 20k sort of mark, so a good investment in your future. These boot camps are open to anyone, but will typically interview you to assess your suitability and then they will run full time.
So in conclusion. What are you waiting for!? Good money, a good career, a good work life balance and interesting work. The career is open to you, if you want it……
To find out about our Bristol Boot Camp, click here.
Nick is the CEO of Conygre Consultants which was founded in 1999. He is a published author who wrote a book on JSP for Sams publishing, and currently is always in demand as an instructor, teaching AWS, Enterprise Java and .NET, TDD, BDD, and Agile methodologies such as Scrum. Nick is an AWS Instructor who teaches the official AWS courses, and Nick has been CTO for several startups including a food delivery business where they raised around $1 million dollars to build out a food delivery business, the software for which was all based around .NET and AWS. He was also cofounder for a Genetic Testing startup which built a Java based application for use in laboratories.