Guide to Changing Careers

21 October 2021Written by Emma Woodward
Are you contemplating a career change but uncertain about which path to pursue? This article delves into the world of tech careers and the benefits of upskilling. Discover why the technology sector offers high demand, lucrative opportunities, and job satisfaction. Learn from the experiences of career changers and explore the advantages of bootcamps and short courses in acquiring the skills needed for a successful transition. Gain insights into the evolving job market and find out how to make a smooth career change into the thriving world of technology.

Are you happy in your current career or your current role? Have you been considering a career change for a while now, but you’re still not sure if you’re ready to make the leap, or even which direction to take?

There are many reasons for wanting to upskill, reskill, and alter your career course. Some people love the company that they work for but find there are no opportunities for career progression without moving to a different role within that company – and that role will require new skills. Others find themselves on a career track that doesn’t suit their lifestyle or fill them with passion anymore. They might be looking to make a more dramatic change.

Many of the students who enrol in Coder Academy’s bootcamps and short courses are career changers. One of the students enrolled in our Web Development Bootcamp, Ana Lastoviria, explained her reasons for changing careers.

“I had two jobs before COVID took off: guest service at a hotel and vocal coaching in a singing school,” Ana says. “With balancing these two jobs I had no free time: working six days per week – phones, scheduling, admin on the seventh. This was the main thing that prompted the change: I was getting burnt out from working so much, barely had any social life and the income I got from all of it didn’t reflect the amount of work I was doing.

“After completing the bootcamp I’m hoping to get a role as a software developer, get my work-life balance in order and be fairly compensated for the work I do.”

This is a common theme amongst career changers. They’re working hard, but they aren’t seeing the results, either in remuneration or career progression. That’s why sometimes it’s worth following the money. By looking at industries with high demand and higher wages, you can attain the future that you want for yourself.

The technology sector certainly has a high demand for workers with the right skills, and those workers receive good wages and report high levels of satisfaction in their work.

The Job Market is Changing

Many of the jobs of today didn’t exist when workers were choosing their career pathways at school. The process of lifelong learning, of upskilling and reskilling is already common, but it will have to become the new norm in our rapidly changing job market.

Today, some of the most in-demand skills fall within the technology sector. Anything on a screen, anything that exists in the virtual world, and even the simplest piece of household technology requires some degree of coding.  

There is also a huge and growing demand for data analysts and data scientists. Whether it’s paving the way in AI and machine learning, uncovering insights to better develop business strategies, or using data insights to dramatically improve healthcare, our world is full of data, and there are opportunities for people with the right skill sets to spin that data into gold.

Here in Australia, we haven’t been as quick to take up opportunities in tech as we could have been, and Australia is currently facing a skills shortage in the technology sector. There is huge demand for software engineers, and demand in the data science sector also continues to grow year by year. This is good news for anyone who wants to break into an exciting and growing sector of the Australian economy.

What it’s Like to Work in Tech

Working in tech doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be working at a tech company. It also doesn’t mean you’ll be the solitary, put-upon tech support person. Your role will be central to the business you work for, whether you’re supporting operations in the mining industry, analysing data for a financial company, or revolutionising agriculture, healthcare, marketing, or fashion.

Here at Coder Academy, we focus on training students for some of the industry’s most in-demand roles. We want to make sure that it’s possible for you to gain the skills you need to land a job at the end of your short course or bootcamp. We also want to train students in areas that will set them up for rewarding future careers.

Students have the opportunity to complete an industry placement, and over 50 per cent of our graduates gain employment as a direct result of their placement. Furthermore, 76 per cent of our graduates are employed in a full-time role within three months.

Many of our graduates find work straight away as junior developers. This is an exciting role, as junior developers can expect to earn a decent salary from day one and to be encouraged to learn and to grow in their role. As you advance in your career you might choose to specialise as a back-end developer (specialising further in cloud technology, cyber security, or another area of interest) work as a front-end developer (looking at UX and UI design for software, mobile applications, or websites) or become a coveted full-stack developer.

If you choose to specialise in data, then your career prospects will be incredibly diverse. This is a course of study that is particularly well-suited to career changers because many of our graduates have found ways to combine their former careers and passions with their newfound skills in data analysis, programming languages, data engineering, and data visualisation.

Transitioning to a Career in Tech

If all this sounds good to you, then it might be time to think about a career change. But how do you successfully transition into a career in tech? You will need to think about the role that appeals to you the most, the skills you will need to succeed in that role, and the best way to gain those skills. You may also need to consider the best way to fund your studies.

For most people, the above considerations are all interrelated, so it can help to start out with a general idea of where you want to be, and then to look at different options to see which one will provide the best fit. Think of it as one of your first projects – take a hypothesis (for example, that you want to take a short course in programming or data analysis in order to change careers) then see whether the data you gather can support that hypothesis.

The Benefits of Bootcamps for Career Changers

Bootcamps and short courses are usually well suited to career changers. Unlike university degrees that may focus on academic theory, bootcamps and short courses are usually focused on equipping students with the skills they need to walk straight into a job at the end of their course. This includes both hard and soft skills. Courses at Coder Academy are taught by industry professionals and have a heavy focus on skill development and portfolio building. This, combined with our networking opportunities and internships can help career changers to successfully make the change that they want.

Another concern for career changers is how to fit study in around other commitments. Here at Coder Academy, we offer different options to suit different needs. Our accelerated bootcamps give you the skills that you need and a nationally recognised Diploma of Information Technology within six months. This allows most students to devote six months to study before embarking on a new career. Our standard bootcamps deliver the same material, but over a ten-month period. This less intensive option can allow students more flexibility to keep up with work and other commitments, while still gaining their qualifications in under a year.

Independent reports from sources such as Course Report have found that short courses and coding bootcamps are a reliable way for graduates to find employment in relevant fields, with significant boosts in salary compared to their previous employment.

Investing in Your Career Change

Another consideration is how to fund your study. Many career changers consider free or low-cost courses the best way to upskill, however this self-directed study can take much longer, and might not give you the industry-recognised skills that you need. It might be better to use your savings or find a way to invest in a short course or bootcamp now, knowing that you’ll be in a career you love sooner, and able to make a return on that investment with your increased earnings.

You might want to look around for scholarships and other subsidies. With tech being such an in-demand sector, there are often government grants and other initiatives that are worth investigating.

As part of Coder Academy’s commitment to seeing greater diversity within the technology sector, we offer Diversity in Tech Scholarships for every bootcamp intake. We also encourage students to find other support options that they may qualify for. Commonwealth Supported Places and the Future of Work Program are just two ways that students might find support to gain an Undergraduate Certificate in Programming or Data Analysis.

How to Successfully Change Careers

It’s never too early to start preparing for your new job, even as you study. Looking at job advertisements for the kind of work you want to be doing in the future can help you to determine that you are gaining relevant skills. It will also help you to think about the ways you can prove those skills.

In addition to gaining the technical skills required, it’s important to think about the ways that your previous work experience might impress any future employers. Rather than being a drawback, it can actually be a strength. Whether it’s specialised knowledge of another industry or the soft skills that employers prize, it’s likely that your previous experience (however unrelated) will prove invaluable when you apply for jobs in the tech sector.

If you want to make a smooth transition to a new career, then it will also be important to network. If you’re studying, then get to know your classmates and teachers, find out about meetups or hackathons that are happening in your local area, or join online communities that focus on your areas of interest. Sometimes networking may lead to employment, but whether it does or not, it will always be a great way to improve your knowledge of the industry you hope to enter. Whether you are learning from others with more experience or helping to consolidate the knowledge you have gained by mentoring others, getting involved in the tech industry early on is one of the best things that you can do for your career transition.

If you’re thinking about a career change then the best place to start is by talking to industry experts! Here at Coder Academy we regularly run info sessions for all our courses. It’s ok if you haven’t decided yet whether a bootcamp or short course is the right option for you. These sessions are a great way to learn more about the industry and employment outcomes, and to ask questions of educators and industry experts. Register here for our info sessions or learn more about our coding bootcamps here.

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