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Career switch to a Web Developer in 2021.

By: Caleb McQuaid

Is a web developer a good career move in 2021?

2020 and 2021 have been years of upheaval in our world. Many people have quit jobs or have been laid off and are in search of a fulfilling career that will provide security and growth. Some of these job seekers may be considering a job in the tech industry, specifically, a job in web development. Is a job in web development a good choice for workers in 2021? Let’s take a look.

Talent Gap

The tech industry as a whole is relatively young. Modern computers have only been around for the last 60-80 years, the personal computer only started to gain acceptance in the 1970s, and the internet was popularized in just the 1990s! The technology and advancements have seen explosive growth companies are struggling to keep up with the fast-paced nature of the industry. 

The need for experienced workers in web development can not be understated. McKinsey & Company conducted a survey that asked executives and managers what business areas they saw as the greatest need to address skill gaps. The top 2 responses were technology-based skills (data analytics and web development). 43% of respondents said that they are currently experiencing skill gaps and many more said they would experience gaps in the next 2-5 years. (https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/beyond-hiring-how-companies-are-reskilling-to-address-talent-gaps) These gaps are only going to grow. Forrester is projecting double digit growth for tech companies in 2021 and 2022 (https://www.forrester.com/blogs/forecasting-in-uncertainty-us-tech-market-outlook-improves-to-7-4-growth-in-2021/). To keep up with this growth, companies will need to hire more technical talent, but the current workforce is not robust enough to fill these needs. The tech industry has a lot of growing to do and needs skilled workers to fill positions and move the industry forward.

Personal Growth

There is quite a bit of work that goes into acquiring the skills necessary to become a developer. Some may learn faster than others, and for some it may take a while. The good news is that the resources to learn are bountiful. The internet is full of free resources and project ideas to give you a good foundation to build your career off of. If you are looking for a paid classroom experience there are months-long boot camps and even traditional 4-year degrees. The tech industry is unique in that it does not require formal education and a degree. If a person can show they know the language and can think critically, a college degree is sometimes not required.

Learning to code is hard. But it will teach you the invaluable skill of critical thinking. To solve a coding problem, you constantly have to evaluate what you have available to you, where you are in the code, and what you are trying to accomplish with the code. This is a skill that takes practice but over time will become second nature. Starting in the tech industry, you may not know much, but you should be able to show your ability to think critically.

Coding is a skill and a career that will require you to be constantly learning and improving. You will constantly be honing your craft. In my experience, this has been extremely rewarding and fulfilling. I can look back and see the progress I have made and the challenges I have overcome.

Benefits

The tech industry provides great levels of security. First, the tech industry is financially lucrative. According to an economic impact study, the average salary for a tech worker in 2020 in South Carolina was almost $80,000 a year. (https://sccompetes.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/TECH_EconImpactStudy_FinalInfographic_12.07.20.pdf). And this is by no means the top level of income. For experienced tech workers, it is not uncommon to see over 6 figure salaries. Second, the tech industry provides great levels of job security. While you may not be at the same job for 30 years, you will find that the skills you learn are transferable and you can take those skills to another company or start your own company. Lastly, tech work can often be done from anywhere there is an internet connection! This gives workers the freedom to travel while they work and work from home in order to spend more time with their loved ones.

Resources

What are some next steps? If you are interested in learning more about the tech industry, coding, or making a career switch, here are some of my favorite resources for checking things out. These resources are free and a low commitment

  • SC Codes – If you are a South Carolina resident, SC Codes is the place to learn the basics and chat with developers who are active in the tech industry. All for free! Sccodes.org
  • FreeCodeCamp – This is a great site to start your coding journey or skill up on a different language. FreeCodeCamp has a great community and excellent content. freecodecamp.org
  • Javascript30 – If you have some coding experience and need some hands-on learning, Javascript30 is for you. It will take you through 30 different projects in Javascript that you can add to your portfolio. javascript30.com

The best time to break into the tech industry may have been in the 1970s in a Cupertino garage or the early 2000s in a Harvard dorm room. The second best time is right now. Happy Coding!

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