A job layoff can be a time of forced self-evaluation and reassessment, and many laid-off workers don’t have an abundance of time to wait before they get back on their horse.
We’re here to help you get your comeback underway.
By now, you’ve looked at the job boards, and if you live in a tech hub like Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, Seattle, Dallas, Chicago, or Washington, D.C., you might notice a common theme in the job listings: many, many programming jobs.
Coding bootcamps were born from the need to fill this demand, and give companies qualified developers who create the digital products of tomorrow. Bootcamps like Coding Dojo are also the answer to a critical shortage nationwide: more than half a million tech jobs went unfilled in the U.S. last year, according to the White House.
In short, it’s a perfect marriage: the tech industry needs you, and you need the tech industry.
We’ll spare you the commentary about how a layoff can become a time of opportunity. Instead, here’s how to get started on making the leap from ground zero to employable programmer.
Is coding right for me?
There’s no “typical” coding bootcamp student: They’re patent lawyers, construction workers, journalists, grade-school teachers, musicians.
There’s also no prior programming experience required to thrive at a coding bootcamp; you don’t need a computer science degree or extensive math skills to become a software developer.
Think of learning to code like learning a foreign language. You’ll start with something basic—setting the background color of your website is roughly the equivalent of learning to say “Hola.”
But as you gain more knowledge and add tools and tricks to your repertoire, your output becomes more complex: you’ll be writing algorithms before you know it, just like you would eventually be able to write a full essay in Spanish after investing time in learning the language.
If you’re considering a coding career, dip your toes in the water before you make the leap.
Take an introductory course, like Dojo’s Intro to Coding Workshop or try any number of free web development courses for beginners. Not only will this give you insight into whether a coding education and career is for you, but the thought process that goes into learning how to code can make you a more attractive employee regardless of your next role.
A big-picture and baseline understanding of how the Web is built and the toolbox needed for constructing Web applications will make you a more attractive and informed job candidate at the thousands of technology companies in the United States, even if you’re not pursuing a programming position.
How much of my coding bootcamp can I get for free?
When you’re unemployed, the state you live in wants to get you back to work, and most states provide a network of agencies so people can get free or discounted retraining benefits.
The Workforce Investment Act and the Trade Adjustment Act each provide federal funds through the Department of Labor to pay for unemployed workers’ training.
These funds are administered by individual states, so to capitalize on these resources, take a look into whether Coding Dojo or another coding boocamp are considered an eligible training provider by the state you live in.
You can then seek out training vouchers and retraining benefits if you’re eligible. Start off by looking into your state’s retraining website. The following links are good starting points: California, Washington, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Illinois.
In addition to state assistance, schools like Coding Dojo also makes scholarships available to students. If you need help navigating Coding Dojo’s financial aid options or discovering whether it meets your state’s minimum criteria, drop us a line.
One career, a variety of options
The adage “take one step back to take two steps forward” may apply for other career transitions, but the tech industry’s demand for programmers means you may be able to move the needle financially right from the get-go.
The median annual salaries in top markets for front-end developers can range from $94,000 to $125,000. For back-end developers, the median salaries in top markets increase: $105,000 to $139,000, while full-stack developers are one tick higher: $110,000 to $146,000.
Knowing how to develop software and create website applications doesn’t just mean you’ll be eligible for a job at hip startup. Large companies—like Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Microsoft, and Expedia—have hired our alumni, and so, too, have nonprofit organizations.
You’ll also open the door to a freelance career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics says about 25 percent of all developers are self-employed. The nature of programming work also often allows programmers to work at home whether they’re self-employed or not: about 29 percent of developers work remotely at least part-time and often from home, according to a recent survey on StackOverflow.
The rapid growth of the tech industry can’t be overstated: there’s huge demand for skilled programmers, and it’s a career that cultivates more freedom and higher salaries than most other career paths. Changing careers is no small feat, but regardless of your current programming knowledge, the path is clear for anyone who has the will to succeed!