How to Get Into Coding: Education and Skills
By The Fullstack Academy Team
Demand for technology careers is high, and coding is at the heart of today’s technology.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 13% increase in the employment of computer and information technology (IT) professionals between 2020 and 2030. That growth, which is roughly three times faster than the average for all occupations, translates to about 667,600 new jobs.
Coding provides instructions that direct the actions of a broad range of devices powered by technology like laptops to airplanes to coffee makers. Using the right messaging, in the right coding language, and in the right order is vital to technological operations.
In many technology-related jobs, coding is a basic requirement. Coding touches nearly every profession in the field, whether it’s a position in web design, software development, or data analysis. If you’re ready to explore what careers you can pursue with an education in coding and the path to preparing for those roles, read on to learn about:
How to start a career in coding
The different types of coding jobs available
Coding careers for beginners
Jobs you can get with coding skills and experience
How to Start a Career in Coding
Whether you’re just getting started professionally or you want to make a mid-career change, you can follow some key steps for how to get into coding.
Pick a Discipline
When considering how to start a career in coding, first choose what type of work you want to do. Then select your education pathway and programming languages to learn accordingly.
Here are some of the most popular languages according to the type of career you want to pursue:
Game development—Unity and TypeScript
Desktop applications—Scala, Go, and Python
Systems programming, which guides user interface with computer hardware—Go and Rust
Pursue an Education
Several educational options are available for learning to code, from bootcamps to self-learning.
Resources such as hard-copy books, e-books, YouTube videos, and online forums are an option for self-learning coding. Online coding-focused games can provide an additional resource, helping you practice what you learn.
While self-learning allows for maximum flexibility, it also requires you to research your own learning materials and rely on self-motivation. It also may not provide networking or career-search assistance.
Coding bootcamps are short-term programs that can provide a foundation for careers in a variety of technology fields. They may be full-time or part-time and in person or online. The immersive, supportive environment of a bootcamp can help you stay committed to your coding education.
Pursuing a guided approach like a bootcamp can also ensure you have current, expert instruction on in-demand languages, critical coding skills, and best practices to follow, and more.
Develop Soft Skills
In addition,your education should help you develop the soft skills that are important for success in coding, including:
Analytical skills—to understand complex instructions and navigate complicated processes
Attention to detail—to check that each coding element is in place to ensure correct operations of the systems the language is directing
Communication—to coordinate work with others on large projects
Patience—to manage large, detailed projects, often on tight deadlines
Problem-solving—to find ways to correct problems that can affect whether the program works
Math skills also are important in coding, which relies on the use of logic and numbers to develop code that delivers correct messaging.
Another step in how to start a career in coding is to earn certification in the languages or programming products you use. Some companies require these certifications of their employees who code.
Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect, Project Management Professional (PMP)®, and Sun Certified Java Programmer are among the many certifications that can help you reach your career goals. Most certification organizations require you to pass a proctored online exam that can last one to four hours.
Create a Portfolio
Make a portfolio of your work showing potential employers what you have learned about coding. Whether you redesign a popular website, create a simple game or app, or enhance an existing mobile app, it’s important to show that you have the skill set you need to pursue your chosen career.
Participating in a coding bootcamp will give you the opportunity to create apps you can use to demonstrate your coding skills during your job search.
Find a Job
Find a job that matches your skills and experience, and use your first role to determine the kind of work you enjoy and want to pursue in the future. Bootcamps can offer professional networking opportunities—and instructors and staff who can help connect you with jobs at top companies.
The Different Types of Coding Tools Available
Because coding is at the base of so much of modern technology, there are many coding tools available to those trained in the discipline. When considering how to get into coding, it is important to keep in mind some of the technology equipment and functions that coding professionals use. These tools and processes include:
Software, such as business applications or operating systems, instructs a computer on what to do. It guides processes that help organizations meet their customers’ needs. There are four basic types of software:
System software—directs core functions like operating systems and hardware and disk management
Programming software—provides tools that facilitate tasks like text editing and debugging
Application software—helps users perform tasks like data management and playing online media more easily
Embedded software—controls machines that aren’t computers, such as cars and appliances
A network is the connection between two or more computers to facilitate the transmission, exchange, or sharing of data and other resources. These networks use hardware—such as routers, switches, or cables—in addition to software. Networks allow for an organization’s employees to share and store information necessary to do their jobs.
Types of networks include:
Local area networks (LANs)—connect computers between short distances, such as within an office building
Wireless local area networks (WLANs)—offer wireless short-distance connectivity
Wide area networks (WANs)—connect computers across a greater distance, even across the globe
Metropolitan area networks (MANs)—typically connect city and government computers
Personal area networks (PANs)—share content between one person’s devices
Storage area networks (SANs)—attach to computers to store data
Campus area networks (CANs)—serve locations such as college or business campuses
Virtual private networks (VPNs)—encrypt data that multiple sites share
A database is an organized set of data stored in a computer system. Database administration is the management of an organization’s databases, a critical function for any organization with a heavy reliance on information storage. The types of database administration are:
Systems database administration—involves installing and maintaining equipment for data storage
Development database administration—focuses on writing the language that directs data storage
Application database administration—calls for installing new software applications or checking system integration
Some coding jobs involve business intelligence (BI), which is the collection and evaluation of data to help guide companies’ strategies and tactics. BI tools can access and analyze data on anything from supply chain processes to consumer preferences and present findings in reports and graphics.
Organizations must determine which data to collect and where to store it so they can retrieve and evaluate the information when making decisions.
Coding Careers for Beginners
As you explore how to get into coding, you may consider what job opportunities exist for coding beginners.
Entry-level coding jobs allow you to further develop your skills, adjust to working in the field, and establish relevant professional connections. The following are among the coding careers for beginners that you can consider as you start your job search:
Data analysts use data from digital sources, as well as other resources, to learn about specific topics, analyze and share that information, and inform organizational decisions. They design processes for collecting information to gain insight about a business and its customers and market. They use computer programs to:
Gather information about customer needs and technical issues
Establish processes for presenting data to address the questions and concerns of business leaders
Develop ways to enhance the data collection, analysis, and reporting process
The median annual salary for data analysts in the U.S. is about $73,240, according to Emsi Burning Glass.
Digital analysts typically focus on digital data from sources such as websites, search engine rankings, and electronic surveys. As with data analysts, their work helps companies to determine changes to make or products and services to offer. Tasks include:
Examining and analyzing collected data
Developing recommendations for an organization’s leaders
Ensuring the security and accuracy of data collected
Digital analysts had a median annual salary of about $62,200 in February 2022, PayScale reports.
Web designer is another coding career for beginners. These professionals create templates and mock-ups for the way a website will appear on computers, phones, tablets, touch screens, and televisions. They develop plans for the basic look and the functions of the site, often relying on knowledge of coding languages to shape their designs—and gauge whether their plans will work. They also perform tasks such as:
Determining client preferences for the elements and look of a website
Creating visual guides that outline the website’s look and features
Following organizational design guidelines in creating templates for the site’s appearance
In April 2022, the median annual salary for web designers was approximately $52,500, according to PayScale.
Web developers create the features that allow a website’s graphical, text, video, and audio elements to work as designed. Often working in collaboration with web designers, they write code that directs the site’s look and operation, and they assist with client reviews. Web developers are responsible for tasks such as:
Building websites and online applications
Testing front-end and back-end web mechanisms
Making adjustments to fix operational issues
Emsi Burning Glass indicates the median annual salary for web developers is about $92,349.
What Jobs Can You Get With Coding Skills and Experience?
Once you gain some experience working as a coding professional, you can seek out opportunities that require a higher level of expertise. What jobs can you get with coding skills and experience? The following are some higher-level roles:
Computer programmers write and test code, turning designs by software developers and engineers into instructions that make those prescribed functions work. They use code libraries, or collections of lines of code, to make their work easier and more efficient. Working with designers and content developers, computer programmers perform tasks including:
Writing programs in various programming languages
Testing the functions that language directs and correcting code as needed
Updating and adding to existing programming languages
Creating, changing, and testing code that simplifies the operational process
Computer programmers’ median annual salary in May 2020 was $89,190, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Software developers create computer applications that allow users to perform tasks with computers or other devices that rely on technology. They work closely with systems engineers and computer programmers, designing each piece of an application or system to ensure all parts work together. Among the tasks of software developers are:
Analyzing users’ needs and developing software to address them
Creating models that help computer programmers apply the code that guides software operations
Recommending software upgrades for improved performance
Overseeing the testing and maintenance of software to ensure proper function
In March 2022, software developers made a median annual salary of about $73,400, according to PayScale.
Computer Systems Engineer
Another job that you can get with coding skills and experience is a computer systems engineer role. These professionals design and plan solutions to complex problems with applications, systems, or networks. Computer systems engineers’ tasks include:
Collaborating with software developers to design systems to meet design requirements and compatibility needs
Developing the setup for system and software engineering
Reviewing system functions to ensure stability, compatibility, and security
Guiding regarding project costs and design plans
According to the BLS, computer systems engineers’ median annual salary in May 2020 was $92,870.
Network administrators manage an organization’s computer systems or database networks, helping to ensure proper function and security. They work to determine the network needs of an organization and oversee the installation of hardware or software to address those needs. The following are among network administrator tasks:
Maintaining computer networks and systems
Delivering and setting up hardware and software
Correcting hardware or software issues
Evaluating network efficiency
Training staff on the use of hardware
Network administrators earned a median salary of about $61,200 in March 2022, according to PayScale.
Start Your Journey Toward a Satisfying Career
The importance of technology—and the coding jobs that guide how that technology works—means that coding can be a smart career choice. If you’re ready to explore more about how to get into coding and what to learn to prepare for this satisfying career field, find out more about Fullstack Academy’s bootcamps.
Fullstack offers in-person and remote options and full-time and part-time programs. You can focus on coding, cybersecurity, or data analytics. You’ll learn from industry experts and get support from career coaches to help guide your job search.
Discover how Fullstack Academy can help you reach your professional ambitions.