Rodney Dangerfield made going “Back to School” popular in the mid-1980s, and now, 30 years later, it’s being made popular again, but this time by software developers who “get no respect” in their current position. Unlike Rodney’s big college experience at “Grand Lakes University,” though, these developers are turning to small software development trade schools—or “boot camps”—that have emerged in recent years, giving software developers a new path for advancing their careers.
(Related: Code education done right)
But what is driving the rapid growth of this industry? And what is motivating software developers to go back to school by enrolling in a boot camp? Here are a handful of reasons why software developers are deciding to (or should decide to) go back to school:
“I just want a new job.” It’s a very pragmatic view, but one of the key benefits of attending a coding school is the outcome: a new job. A number of students that attend coding schools will admit that they’ve put their career ladder against the wrong wall and will enroll in a program in order to jump-start their new career. Some schools will match students with their employer network, ushering them into job opportunities that may not have otherwise existed.
“I have a good job, but I want to do something more interesting at a top-tier company using cutting-edge technology.” If you’re a programmer who’s not challenging yourself to learn a new programming stack, you should be. Someone with 10 years of experience working with a single stack is risking career suicide as newer languages emerge and are used more pervasively at technology companies. There is a life cycle to every technology, and no developer wants to be caught up in their extinction.
“I want to retain so that I can earn more money.” In five to 10 years, “unicorn jobs” (those that require a specialist and are the hardest to fill) will revolve around natural-language processing, data science, artificial intelligence, and scalable languages. These types of programming jobs will earn a developer top dollar because they require stack experience that very few people have. Attending a code school will give programmers a huge advantage to secure these emerging jobs, and send their earnings potential into the stratosphere.
“The software developer community is becoming more competitive, and I need to keep up.” The saying that a rolling stone collects no moss couldn’t be truer in the programming industry. The pace of innovation moves at a breakneck speed and new languages are constantly being developed and deployed. Learning a new programming language can keep developers relevant to potential employers and maintain their upward career trajectory.
“I’ve hit the ceiling at my company and I want to break through.” There’s nothing more frustrating than being denied an opportunity to advance your career because your skills aren’t up to snuff. A number of developers that are happily employed will enroll in a code school to increase their value to their current organization. There have even been instances where companies will pay for their employee to take an accelerated learning program, helping them break through the ceiling while the company ultimately addresses their future programming needs.
It’s pretty easy to see that the common rationale for going back to code school revolves around career advancement—and the expectation for a better tomorrow. And tomorrow will certainly be ripe with opportunity for developers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development jobs are expected to grow much faster than other occupations through 2022, with 22.8% employment growth predicted.
With this much demand for software talent (and an average pay for specialized talent reaching into six figures) there may never be a better time than now to ask yourself, “Should I go back to code school?”