Why Career Changers Make Great Junior Developers

Mary Bergeron
28 March 2017

In a guest post by Switchup, Mary talks about how seemingly unrelated skills can be a huge help for a junior developer in ways you might not expect.



If you ask the average bootcamp student how they got there, chances are you’ll hear some surprising responses. At SwitchUp, we’ve spoken to successful junior developers from every professional background including computer science, marketing, design, and even trade professions like construction.

The common assumption is that all programmers get their start in Computer Science, but this is hardly the case. In fact, not only are there many different paths to a career in coding, but seemingly unrelated skills can be a huge help for a junior developer in ways you might not expect.

It’s important to keep in mind that your previous skills are both relevant and important to your coding career path. We’ve found that a few unexpected traits can contribute to a career-changer’s success in software development:

 

Your experience is more transferable than you think

 

A common misconception is that a web developer only writes and tests code - and nothing else. In fact, there can be many aspects of a developer job, from product management to web design to user experience. Because of this, startups or smaller organizations are sometimes the perfect fit for career-changers. Your diverse skills will be incredibly useful in a growing organization, and your input will be valuable to younger developers with less professional experience.

Another benefit of your previous experience is that it may open doors that are out of reach to recent college grads. People with sales and marketing backgrounds sometimes takes on Sales Engineer and Product roles after they’ve learned programming, or someone from a design background will use their skills in a Front-end Developer role. Even if your previous experience seems unrelated, it’s a good idea to brainstorm how ALL your skills and interests might affect your career path.

 

You’ve developed soft skills

 

Another assumption about web development is that it’s purely a solo job. The reality is that in addition to mastering technology, great software developers are master communicators and team players. When building a product, you’ll need to work with a wide range of stakeholders including product managers, researchers, marketers, and the users themselves.

Programmers who have already developed soft skills and worked on professional teams are a huge asset to employers. Software projects move fast, and success relies on communication and management just as much as awesome code. Your ability to work effectively with a team will help you ship projects smoothly- and get promoted quickly.

 

You know what it takes to learn new skills on the job

 

Working professionals know that skillbuilding doesn’t end after you’ve landed a job. Oftentimes, you’ll need to dedicate time throughout the week to master a particular technology or tool.

The ability to learn fast and adapt isn’t just helpful for a junior developer- it’s necessary. When a company hires a junior developer (either right out of college or from a bootcamp) they expect to invest on-the-job training to get him or her up-to-speed. If you’re already experienced at learning on the job, you’ll have a leg up when it comes to learning quickly in a programming role.

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Regardless of your background, the biggest indicator of your success will be choosing the bootcamp that’s best for you. Check out reviews and explore bootcamps like Coder Academy on SwitchUp.


Want to become a junior developer? At Coder Academy we have Australia's first and only accredited fast-track coding bootcamp that will set you upfor a new career in tech. Our immersive course helps students acquire in-demand skills through hands on, project-based training by industry experts over six months.

Now enrolling domestic & international students in Sydney & Melbourne! Study now, pay later! 

Are you a woman interested in coding? Check out our Women in Tech Scholarship!

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