From Teaching To Tech: Advice from Teachers who Pivoted Careers

Jess Feldman

Written By Jess Feldman

Liz Eggleston

Edited By Liz Eggleston

Last updated on September 1, 2023

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With their hard-working determination and unique ability to clarify difficult material, teachers have long been an asset to their teams. But with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 alongside low teacher salaries and long hours on the job, many educators began to reconsider their career choice. According to LinkedIn, the number of teachers on the site who left for a new career increased by 62% in 2021! The grit that most teachers show have made them an attractive applicant now for tech jobs. 

Here at Course Report, we’ve spoken with so many teachers about how they made a career change into tech after enrolling in a coding bootcamp. We’re rounding up our favorite advice from these former teachers as well as the top 5 transferable skills that make former teachers great technologists!  

Why Teachers Are Making Career Changes into Tech

If we’ve learned anything from our talks with former teachers-turned-technologists it’s that there’s really no perfect time in your teaching career to make a career change. We’ve spoken with seasoned educators who had spent years in the classroom as well as teachers who were just starting their teaching career and realized they were ready to pivot.

  • Joseph from LearningFuze recounted, “I got my credentials and entered the teaching field, but there were a lot of challenges right away. The hours were crazy, the pay was humble, and the job market wasn’t good.”
  • New to her teaching career, Marlisa used her summer vacation to learn how to code, which sparked an entire career change into software engineering! Marlisa says, "I more than doubled my salary after graduating from a coding bootcamp. I love working remotely and I have unlimited PTO, which is very different from a teaching position when I had to save my PTO."

A few key reasons we’ve heard educators cite for making a career change into tech:

  • Burnout – as Michael explains, “Teaching is a demanding and time-consuming career and I started considering a career change that would offer more flexibility and family time.”
  • Undercompensation – as MaiAda shared, “When I wasn’t being compensated for my work as a Lead Teacher, I began to burn out on teaching. I started considering a career in curriculum development and with so many curriculum companies online now, I thought developing my technical skill set would serve me well.”
  • Long Hours – as Nic explained, “I loved connecting with people and helping them find their passion in music, but about five years into teaching, I discovered the job was less about helping students find that spark and more about following regimented standards. This separated me from what I wanted most in my career, which was problem-solving and being inspired by working with others. In addition to the professional disconnect, the time commitment for teaching was intense. During busy times in the school year, it was not uncommon for me to work 70-90 hours a week.” 

The career changes of some teachers are kick-started by layoffs at their school. Rather than face the teacher job market again, you may take the opportunity to reskill into tech. For example, James took this as a sign to start at LearningFuze, “When the school underwent layoffs, I followed my heart and decided to make the career change into tech.” 

5 Teaching Skills That Transfer to Tech

  1. Communication skills

“As a teacher, you have to know how to communicate well to express ideas to your students. You are in charge of a room of students and that can easily overlap with leading a team of developers. I feel like on my present team, even though I do not have a leadership role yet, I am explaining things to other people and offering direction. They may have more coding experience, but I have that confidence in what I'm speaking about. Even if I do not have those specific skills, I know how to word it to help others understand.” – Penn LPS Coding Boot Camp grad Neha

Teachers are tried-and-true communicators! They have the ability to explain difficult concepts in layman’s terms, and present materials in an effective way. They are also adept listeners. Teachers know how to foster productive work environments that inspire others to try new things and cooperate with each other. 

  1. Problem-solving

“When I was a teacher, I often told my class about growth mindset: You will improve if you put in the time and effort. I put my own words to the test when I attended DigitalCrafts. It was intense, and sometimes frustrating when my code wasn't working and I couldn't find the solution. It was easy to become overwhelmed with emotion, but reminding myself of the growth mindset helped me to persevere.” – DigitalCrafts grad Priyanka

Teachers are excellent problem-solvers! On a daily basis in their teaching career, they encounter situations that require them to process and determine the best solution for the issue.  

  1. Organization

“Coming from a teaching background, I applied various ways of learning… to break down information. From visual aids to writing notes, it was my key strategy to get the most out of the bootcamp.” – DigitalCrafts grad Priyanka

Teachers excel at organization! They understand how to plan out projects and tasks with daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly trajectories in mind. Teachers are good at anticipating needs, preparing materials, and creating alternative plans.  

  1. Adaptability

“Teaching is all about rolling with the changes, whether those changes are from administration, national standards, different students each year, or the general environment of academia. Teaching requires adaptability and the ability to work with different people all day.” – Nucamp grad Nic

Teachers are adaptable! While they excel at organizing, teachers are also adept at updating or even totally pivoting their plans when a situation arises. This skillset translates to web development teams, where new priorities and projects are passed down from product managers and even the CEO.

  1. Lifelong learning

“What teachers know best is figuring out how people learn. They’re also good at recognizing how they themselves learn. If you can teach yourself, you can get up to speed much quicker.” – Eleven Fifty Academy grad Phil

Teachers love to learn! These perpetual students have an insatiable curiosity that helps them grow their knowledge base. And in tech, you’ll be constantly learning new languages and tools, and going after new certifications. 

11 Tech Jobs Former Teachers Have Landed

  1. Music teacher & Eleven Fifty Academy grad Phil became a .NET Developer.
  2. Music teacher & Nucamp grad Nic became a Front End Programmer.
  3. Music teacher & Springboard grad Michael became a Web Developer.
  4. Music teacher & General Assembly grad Sarah became an IT Engineer. (In fact, many General Assembly grads come from teaching backgrounds!)
  5. Middle school teacher & Penn LPS Coding Boot Camp grad MaiAda became a Software Developer.
  6. Math teacher & DigitalCrafts grad Priyanka became a Software Engineer.
  7. Math teacher & LearningFuze grad Joseph became a Software Engineer.
  8. Chemistry teacher & Penn LPS Coding Boot Camp grad Neha became an Application Engineer.
  9. English professor & Coding Temple grad Michael became a Developer Relations Engineer.
  10. Spanish teacher & Springboard grad Vianey became an Information Technology Security Specialist.
  11. History teacher & LearningFuze grad James became a Software Engineer.  
  12. Elementary school teacher & Coding Temple grad Marlisa became a remote Software Engineer.

Working in EdTech as a Former Teacher…

While former teachers have landed tech roles across industries, some teachers may gravitate to finding tech roles at education companies. Thanks to their experience in the classroom, they can offer that unique teacher perspective to their tech teams as they build out products and services for teachers. These former teachers will have a good grasp on what will (and won’t!) work for teachers today. 

These teachers-turned-technologists should consider tech jobs at universities and colleges, textbook companies (like McGraw-Hill, Scholastic, or Pearson), edtech companies and startups (like Udacity, Coursera, or Chegg), or even becoming instructors at coding bootcamps! 

“Education is a special niche, so it’s important for [tech professionals] to fit in the education world. A candidate can have all the technical skills, but if they aren’t someone who can work in education, they might not work out at Five Star. On any given day, our techs are dealing with kindergarteners all the way up to superintendents.” - Eleven Fifty Academy employer partner, Five Star Technology Solutions

Advice from Former Teachers Who Made a Career Change

  • “Teachers who are considering a career change should know that the skillset transfers well. Most teachers are hard-working, and when it comes to programming, it's about the work and dedication that you put into it. Critical thinking and empathy is also important as a developer. Especially during this crazy time, teaching roles may be shrinking, and if any teachers were ever considering a role in technology, now is a good time!” – LearningFuze grad James
  • “I want to tell teachers that we already use so much IT in classrooms, and this is a field for everyone to pursue. No matter what interests you (sports, cooking, photography), we all have to use technology at some point or another.” – Penn LPS Coding Boot Camp grad Neha
  • “Given my background in humanities, the hardest thing for me was whiteboarding algorithms. If my experience can offer any other humanities-oriented people any kind of lesson it's that early and often is the way to get better at algorithm training and whiteboarding. Once you've gotten some practice on CodeWars, you can start playing with other online tools and joining communities. LeetCode is a logical next step after CodeWars.” – Coding Temple grad Michael

Are you a teacher considering a career change into tech? We’ve made it easy to find coding bootcamps that match your specific needs with our quick GetMatched tool!

About The Author

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman

Jess Feldman is an accomplished writer and the Content Manager at Course Report, the leading platform for career changers who are exploring coding bootcamps. With a background in writing, teaching, and social media management, Jess plays a pivotal role in helping Course Report readers make informed decisions about their educational journey.

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