Whether you are interested in breaking into tech as your first career or transitioning from another industry, there are many reasons why it is a popular choice. The tech industry typically rewards its employees with an attractive salary as well as a generous benefits package.
That, combined with the fact that the job outlook for the industry is strong, makes it a great choice for building a career. The downside of this industry is that it can be tough to break in. Due to the attractiveness of the jobs, the competition for entry-level positions is fierce. Don’t let that discourage you. There are a variety of ways you can improve your odds of entering tech.
Get Your Degree
It is possible to get a job in tech without a degree, but you are making it much harder on yourself by doing so. A degree is important for a variety of reasons. Even if you have solid programming skills, a degree in computer science, statistics, or a related major will teach you some of the finer points of algorithms and memory use that will be valuable in both your interviews and on the job.
A degree is also important to get you an interview in the first place. While some companies will overlook a degree when arranging job interviews, others will not. You are limiting your pool of opportunities when you don’t have a degree.
If financial concerns have kept you out of college, look into private student loans. These loans are a good choice for someone who needs help paying for school and related living expenses. Having a cosigner for private student loans makes you more likely to qualify.
Practice Coding Challenges
Coding challenges are a part of many programming interviews. These challenges are stressful because you are expected to come up with a solution on the fly, with an audience. They are not the same as programming on the job, but it does give the interviewers a chance to see how you respond to certain programming questions and your way of maneuvering through the problem. Practicing online before your interview will help you become more comfortable with this style of coding.
Polish Your Soft Skills
Coding is only one part of successfully doing your job as a programmer. Plenty of people can code quickly and accurately, creating neat, easy to read, and use code. The difficulty comes in finding someone who can do that as well as communicate well with coworkers and supervisors, respond to the frustrations that routinely occur when the directions on your project change overnight, and generally get along well with others in the office. Having solid soft skills is an important part of scoring a job in the field.
If you struggle with this, there are ways to improve. Going to meetups and forcing yourself to socialize can make you more comfortable discussing your work. Regular exercise and spending time outside each day helps reduce stress. Finally, when trying to land your dream job, apply everywhere. Interviewing gives you the chance to practice these skills, and you will improve the more opportunities you have to practice.