The idea of becoming a software developer - a dream job for many - often makes emotions run high. Some people think to themselves that they simply “aren’t made for it” and don’t even give it a try. Others, tempted by an online ad, are full of hope and think that attending a quick coding course is enough for them to become a professional programmer. But where does the truth lie in this case? Can anyone be a coder?
Well, this well-paid, promising, and prospective job is not as difficult as some people think because coding skills can be trained. But, on the other hand, there are personal preferences, prerequisites, and traits that may undermine the big plan to become a software developer. Anyway, being impressed by the money, perks, and benefits offered, as well as the freedom IT positions often entail may not be the best motivation to start a coding career.
There is a huge gap in the supply of software developers, accounting for hundreds of thousands of engineers already and it is forecasted that it will exceed 1.2 million by 2026 in the U.S. alone. So, in theory, everything seems to support the idea that it’s good to tie up the future with the IT industry and that the IT world awaits us.
Now, let’s analyze some of the factors that may have something to do with the possibility or the ability to become a software developer.
# The gender issue
What strikes first about IT professions, is that they are very male-dominated. According to a study by the AnitaB.org Institute, women’s share of the tech workforce accounted for only 28.8% in 2020, with 3.9% at the CEO level. But does it mean that the career aptitude for working in IT professions differs between males and females?
Women in tech may officially be encouraged to enter the IT industry, but challenging the status quo may not, in fact, be that easy. Such problems as the sector’s gender pay gap and favoring men in leadership positions are still there, as well as the womens’ feeling that they aren’t taken seriously in their workplaces.
Deeply rooted beliefs and prejudices are a serious obstacle in this regard. The truth is that girls are discouraged from the tech or science area yet at a very young age, with teachers often suggesting to them that there is another, more proper, or “natural” career path for them. This way, they aren’t confident enough to even try working within tech sectors, contrary to boys who just go for it.
Gender stereotyping related to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects is a fact, and almost 60% of teachers have admitted developing it. That is despite the fact that men and women share an equal aptitude for math and science and no cognitive biological differences in this regard can be traced.
Interestingly, female and male pupils do similarly well at early stages of education when it comes to STEM subjects, but it’s boys who think they are better and girls tend to lose confidence in math over time as they are exposed to underestimation of their math abilities, and implicit and explicit bias and discouragement, that embraces passing gendered stereotypes by teachers onto their students.
In turn, male pupils develop a can-do attitude, and such a mindset matters a lot. And what starts at the school level ends up with a glass ceiling - the invisible barrier to success and career advancements. Of course, it is something common in many industries and on various organizational levels, but the IT sector is no exception here.
# The right attitude and other prerequisites
But the conviction of being “unsuited” for IT professions also happens among men. Such people may feel that the high-tech world is simply not for them, and don’t even give it a try. There is the common “I’m just not a math person” belief that is simply a myth. And this myth has grave consequences, sometimes even being called “the most self-destructive idea in America today“ by some researchers. The math ability is only genetic to some degree, they argue, and thinking that it cannot change over time isn’t right, and may even be called a self-fulfilling prophecy that only hamstrings people’s careers.
The right attitude is crucial, then, but if you’re determined enough, and there are no major obstacles in your way, can you become a software developer, just like that? Well, the truth is that virtually anyone can learn to code with proper training, especially if the willingness to do so is backed by patience, and work ethic.
But mastering coding is another thing. And here, the key to success, is whether we like programming or not, but we just want to get a good job and earn a lot of money fast. And for many people, coding is simply boring - but you won’t know whether it is for you or not unless you give it a try. On the other hand, trying to become an IT professional at all costs may result in fast burnout or even depression.
It’s crucial to be certain that a chosen career path is the right one because it takes a lot of time and effort to become a software developer. In general, it is a specific profession and not meant for everyone. Certainly, it’s better to be outstanding in a different career, than to be a mediocre coder.
Besides, you don’t need to be a software developer of any kind to become a part of the IT world. There are positions like Scrum Master or Technical Writer that are an easier way to get on the fast track to start working within the IT industry. These days, good IT recruiters are in growing demand as well, as the software developer shortages affect more and more companies.
# Being mentally prepared for a coding career
But liking to code is still not enough. Persistence, resistance to stress, and the ability to stay focused for long periods are other crucial qualities of a successful software developer, but they simply won’t do if there’s no fondness or dedication.
Besides, to succeed as a software developer now, you need to be curious and learn constantly. The most desired programming languages change frequently, as well as frameworks and other technologies required. Very often, it’s the developer’s responsibility to choose the best ones for a given project. Meeting tight deadlines, answering burning questions, and solving many problems are some of the other difficulties programmers have to face.
And this implies that software developers often work longer hours than other employees, but need even more time to master new skills. Also, that means that a lot of things are happening at once and your mind is very busy. This may result in frustration, physical and mental stress, exhaustion, and sometimes - in deterioration of coders’ mental health. The pressure may be hard to bear, especially if you don’t really like to code.
Perhaps it would be easier for new programmers if they were warned about some of the profession’s difficulties and challenges before choosing it. One of the limitations is that being a software developer you may reach “seniority” only after a few years of work, and sometimes there is no way to advance except for moving to a better, more renowned employer. There are other opportunities, however, including working within the areas of QA, business consulting, product management, or training, but they may not require coding per se (or not that much).
# Being educated enough
Some people argue that “in order to write a line of code that works well, and that is completely bug-free, coders need to strengthen their algorithmic thinking and computational thinking” as “coding is full of math”. For this reason, having well-trained abilities in these areas seems to be crucial to ever start to be a coder. To become one, we need to gain some coding knowledge first, but do we need a university degree for that? Are coding courses or boot camps enough or is a traditional degree necessary?
Well, although coding boot camps aren’t as comprehensive as traditional studies resulting in holding a degree in computer science, they still may be worth it in some cases. Interestingly, coding boot camp graduates see a median salary increase of $22,000 when compared to jobs they had before attending a boot camp.
Although it usually pays off, learning to code is not cheap. According to data collected by BestColleges, the average coding boot camp tuition cost was $13,579 in 2020. Moreover, this form of tech education is to play a pivotal role in meeting future workforce training needs according to 56% of business leaders from tech companies or organizations that hire for tech roles.
# CKSource - coding at your fingertips
At CKSource, coding is for everyone, indeed! We are an equal opportunity employer, and everyone is welcome in our team; it’s only professional skills that matter. We hire young programmers who have just graduated from top technical universities, but also people over 40 years of age who are pleased to share their experience and profound knowledge with the rest of the team.
All CKSource employees can make use of the specializations or niches they excel in or want to focus on, and their voices are heard. And the company encourages self-development by offering 5 additional days off and financial resources (up to 6.000 PLN per year) for personal development.
Not only can coders enjoy great compensation, but also a space for work-life balance and flexible working hours with the possibility to start their day at the time that suits them best, and go out somewhere when needed.
Even though we have a complex product that calls for experienced developers, tasks are tailored to employees’ strengths and predispositions. Delivering high-quality, extensible code with extensive tests is also part of the job.
If you, too, feel that you may be a perfect match for our company, don’t hesitate to contact us now!
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