Software is the place to be if you’re looking for a career that lets you combine creativity with problem solving, opens the doors to positions in a variety of industries, and provides great opportunities for professional growth. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average growth rate between 2014 and 2024 for all jobs is 7 percent except for software developers – that job sector is expected to grow at the astonishing rate of 17 percent.
From media to finance, medicine to fashion, software is integrated into nearly every facet of life on Earth. By 2024, technology will do things to enhance people’s lives in ways that we can’t even imagine today. Developing the future starts with taking strategic steps, from bootcamp to that first job to building a career.
Newly minted developers can bank on the fact that there’s plenty of opportunity lying ahead for the foreseeable future. But that first job is often a stepping stone, where new developers can have a chance to get used to working in a production environment and may learn they actually may prefer to work in a different kind of environment. Recognizing this and being willing to move on makes a difference in sustainability in any career. That’s particularly relevant when you’re working closely with team members to create and build solutions to problems in tech - especially start ups - where companies are often expected to evolve at the same pace as the technology.
Take, for example, Dev Bootcamp grads Darrell, Colin, and Danielle.
Darrell, a junior web developer at a publishing company, loved his team. “The team was accountable to each other and very supportive. Almost everyone on my team became great friends,” he says. After his boss left, Darrell’s job shifted, demanding more than his current skill set and career goals. Thanks to keeping his LinkedIn profile current, Darrell found opportunities coming his way, and made a change to a “growing company that values life/work balance, and also pays very well.”
Colin discovered that his first job as a developer at an EdTech company wasn’t a good fit, and realized he had to make a change. “Transitions can be hard, but one of the advantages that comes from starting a new job is a million more things to learn, especially if you’re working in different technologies,” he says. Change is inevitable, especially in software, and embracing it is a wise approach to ensuring longevity in the field. Colin took what he learned from his first job, “the essential of building a tech product for teachers, and at my second job I’m building on that experience.”
Just ten months into Danielle’s first job, the Ad Tech company she worked for restructured. “I decided it was time to start looking for other opportunities,” she says. Making her intentions known resulted in a referral from a friend to food startup Blue Apron, and Danielle followed up.
“After my long, on-site interview, I decided I HAD to work there,” she says. “I was able to use some skills I had learned at my first job – asking clear questions, recognizing patterns, deploying code – that only work experience gives you.” Danielle is now working in her dream job. “My new position is everything I thought it would be—an extremely smart team with most of the answers and better questions.”
All three developers took the path marked self-integrity, a tributary that feeds directly into the long career path.
A career is something that evolves day-by-day, month-by-month, and year-by-year. Learning, gaining experience, and sharing your knowledge for the greater good of your team, the company, and the products and services you build and support, turn a job well done into a rewarding career. Our career paths are unique expressions of our selves, yet the underlying similarities for successful careers remain consistent for most people—integrity, growth and contribution being some key features of success.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest percentage of developers, 33 percent, find their careers in systems design. Others, about eight percent each, take the route of software publisher, work in Finance and Insurance, or go into Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing, while only four percent find themselves in enterprise or company management.
From programmers to systems analysts, database administrators to network architects, web developers to IT systems managers, the road to a successful dev career is paved with rich rewards, including the chance to work with teams of like-minded, smart, curious and passionate people to join you on the journey.