Are you thinking about becoming a web developer, but wondering if it’s the right career choice for you? Then check out this list of five signs you’ll love a career in code from CareerFoundry’s Rosie Allabarton, to see if it matches up to your personality and skill set.
Let us know what you think in the comments below!
As a programmer, whether freelance, at a large corporation, or in a startup you’ll quickly find you are solving problems on an hourly basis. If you’ve got a logical brain, and love unravelling puzzles then this could be the job for you. However, if you get frustrated easily, or lack a rather generous helping of patience, then you’ll soon want to throw your computer out the window. Because finding solutions to complex problems isn’t just an added extra of this job, it’s the main event.
How do coders solve a problem they don’t know the answer to? The same way as the rest of us. They Google it. As a web developer Google is your best friend, that is, once you know how to use it. Learning how to Google for solutions is the key to enjoying, learning and succeeding in this job. But don’t be fooled, it sounds easier than it is. Learning how to Google to get the right solution is a fine art. It’s not just for beginners either –you'll find that even the most experienced coders are still Googling for solutions 20 years into their coding careers.
The art of Googling for solutions is knowing exactly what you need to input in order to get the solution you need. Although Google is your friend, the vast nature of the search engine means you very often end up getting lost in its endless pages of useless (to you) information. As a coder you'll be learning how to give Google what it wants to get out of it exactly what YOU need from it.
It goes against the perceived stereotype but coders need to be great at talking to people. Why? Because they need to be able to explain complex problems to colleagues and clients of all knowledge-levels. It could be the CEO, the project manager, the UX designer or another programmer. Either way you need to be able to speak in both layman's terms and also in very technical language, depending on who you're speaking to, gauging each person’s specific knowledge-level.
Being shy and introverted won't really help you in this career, despite what you may previously have thought. You will be working in a team irrespective of the type of company you work for and as a freelancer it's even MORE important as you'll be dealing with clients who might have no more idea of what they want than simply 'a website'. It will be your job to explain timescales as well as what is and isn't possible or realistic, concepts that non-programmers are unlikely to have any idea about.
Aside from direct communication between yourself and your colleagues, you might need to give presentations of what you've done in a formal setting, or simply sit down with a client over a coffee and tell them that their budget doesn't stretch to meet those big ideas they've had. It can be hard to talk about the technicalities of coding and building websites with those unfamiliar to this world which you inhabit daily, but it will be a key requirement of your job.
And what if you aren’t an effective communicator? You will lose work, clients and you’ll become rather unpopular in your team. If you want to be a great coder, get good at talking!
Making an impact is perhaps the biggest advantage of learning how to code - you can bring about big changes in your company through what you can create, implement and maintain. Web development skills put you in control, and enable you to build beautiful things that your users can see, use and enjoy which directly impacts upon the success of the product. What you do on a daily basis is tangible and impactful on the lives of other people. Needless to say, that is a pretty rewarding feeling.
As part of the development team, colleagues will come to you when they want to make changes which affect everybody's experience within that company. You’ll be using your skills, creativity, ideas and knowledge to build the front and/or back end of the site. While other jobs within a company can be more monotonous or routine, your job will be different every day, and what you build will not only directly impact the success of the company, it will determine how easily your colleagues can do their jobs. Just don’t forget that with these great impact-making skills comes great responsibility, so use it wisely!
Ever dreamed of working in your pajamas? Getting up when you want and working hours that suit your lifestyle? Perhaps you work best in the morning, or you're a night owl, and working 9-5 like the rest of us just isn't your thing. Whatever your reason - and let’s face it, we've all dreamed of the day we can go freelance - with web development skills under your belt, you’ll soon have the option to be your own boss and enjoy the freedom of freelancing.
Why does programming work so well for freelancers? Because you can do your job from pretty much anywhere in the world: you just need a computer and a decent internet connection. And you won't be short on work, as demand for web developers has increased exponentially in the last few years, and is only looking to increase further as technology continues to invade every area of our daily lives.
Not sure you want to take the plunge to go freelance? Then consider remote working. You’ll get the same perks as a freelancer, with the security of a permanent contract and colleagues you know and communicate with regularly, rather than different clients each week. You’d be surprised how many employers are willing to consider having remote workers than they were, say, five or 10 years ago.
Whether freelancer or remote worker you'll still need those all-important communication skills. You'll no doubt be working with teams of people (who may also be scattered around the world) and there will be no excuse for not keeping clients in the loop with the vast array of communication tools available out there (least of all email). But you'll have the freedom and independence to be where ever you want to be, and work whenever you want to work (as long as you're meeting those deadlines).
We all want job security - either that regular paycheck at the end of the month, or the knowledge that you'll have clients lined up around the block for skills that only you possess. Well, as a web developer you're in luck. Not only are these skills in very, very high demand, but there simply aren't enough people with these skills to meet the demand.
This means that you have the pick of jobs, great starting salaries as a junior developer and the option to go freelance. Sounds great huh? Because of the rate the tech industry is growing, not to mention the number of startups popping up all over the place, web development skills are desperately needed. But it's not just the tech industry which is crying out for these skills. If you've always wanted to work in the arts, or education, retail, science, or any number of other industries, with web development skills you have an immediate 'in', because it's not just technology companies who need tech skills; these days everybody is looking for someone who has them.
You want to know what the even better news is? This demand isn't going anywhere. Studies predict that this need for skilled programmers is only going to increase over the next decade, which is why school curriculums are now including web development and many students are taking classes outside of university to learn these skills, and fast.
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Rosie Allabarton is a writer who lives in Berlin. Her writing specializes in technology, education, employment and women in technology. She works as editor of the CareerFoundry blog. CareerFoundry is an online educational platform that provides training in web development and UX design, providing career changers with the skills they need to launch themselves onto the tech scene.
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