How to Start a Career in Tech

growth mindset vs fixed mindset

Job Opportunities for software developers will grow 27% by 2024The tech industry is growing rapidly. By 2024, careers in computer-programming will increase by 27%. That’s four times more growth than the job market as a whole, according to the U.S. Labor of Bureau Statistics. Careers in software development are also among the highest paying, with local coding bootcamp grads making an average salary of $50,000 in entry-level positions.

This translates to a lot of career opportunities. If you’re looking for a career change, want to get back into the workforce or are just starting your professional journey – the tech industry has a place for you!

There are a few ways to start a career in tech: earn a Computer Science degree, learn programming independently or enroll in a coding bootcamp.

For some, going to college isn’t an option – it’s expensive, it takes years and it can be difficult to get a career after graduation. Being self-taught is great, but can often result in a learning plateau and lacks meaningful networking and coding portfolios. And while a coding bootcamp may seem like a plausible solution, it’s understandable that the decision comes with a lot of questions.

Let’s talk about:

  • the steps you can to take to earn a career in tech
  • how a coding bootcamp can provide the support you need and
  • some of the most frequently asked questions

Steps to Take When Starting a Career in Tech

  1. Determine if programming is right for you

Give coding a try! There are a range of online resources –– both paid and free –– that can help you try coding. Spend some time with programming exercises and determine if it’s something you want to make a career with.

Some of our favorites resources: The Basics for Beginners, Learn Java Online and Beginning C#.

Grand Circus also has in-person resources:

“I took the intro course to break my fear of learning to code. I found that it was vital to convince myself that I could be successful in coding and overcoming something I thought I couldn’t understand.” – Mike Riley, Java Developer at ADMI, GC Grad    

  1. Recognize that you CAN do it.

Once you determine if programming is right for you, the next step is to overcome the feeling that you can’t achieve this career goal. It’s normal to feel a bit of imposter syndrome when starting a new career.

More than 1,600 students have graduated Grand Circus coding bootcamps. This includes hundreds of people who never thought a career in tech was possible. No matter what your background is, how old you are, what your lifestyle is –– it’s possible to earn a career in tech. If you are ready to work hard and you’re excited about the fast-paced industry, a coding bootcamp can support your transition into tech.

[Bonus Read: How to Be Successful in a Coding Bootcamp]

  1. Do your research.

Every local market is different. Evaluate what your opportunities are –– what employers are hiring, how much do they pay, which programming languages are in demand, what challenges you may face, if there’s networking opportunities nearby and who else has made this kind of change.

Spend some time doing Google searches, attending events and talking to your local networks.

  1. Dedicate yourself.  

David W
David W., a GC Grad now working at Accenture

Learning a new skill for a rapidly moving industry requires a lot of hustle, problem solving and dedication. If you enroll in a coding bootcamp, take it seriously and listen to the advice of those around you. Fully engage in the process. Ask questions. Determine goals and work toward them.

[Bonus Read: Is a Coding Bootcamp Right for You? 9 Signs It Is]

Most Commonly Asked Coding Bootcamp Questions

What is a coding bootcamp?

A coding bootcamp is an intensive learning experience that teaches the skills necessary to become an entry-level software developer. Not all bootcamps are created equal, and it’s important to research which is right for you.

At Grand Circus, we offer daytime coding bootcamps –– 12 weeks, including two weeks of at-home work before the program begins. These are Monday through Friday, 9am – 5pm. We also have an After-Hours option –– a 26-week model, hosted three evenings a week. Both models provide the technical and soft skills you’ll need to earn a career in tech.

“More than teaching me a programming language GC prepared me to be a problem solver. I learned how to break down the problem I am trying solve, how/what to research to create a solution and most importantly how to work with a team to solve that problem,” says Saresa Smith, Developer at  North American Bancard, GC Grad.

Who hires coding bootcamp grads?

Nationally, thousands of companies employ bootcamp grads. Locally, Grand Circus is proud to partner with a 250+-company employer network.

Employer Network

Nationally, 72% of employers reported bootcamp students are “just as prepared” as computer science grads. Because coding bootcamps are nimble enough to change as the market needs, adjustments to curriculum can happen effectively. This better prepares students for the evolving job market, and creates a streamlined hiring process for many employers.

What are the success rates of a coding bootcamp?

Michigan’s tech job market is booming! 86% of Grand Circus grads were employed in a paid technical role with the support of our programs.

[Learn more about this in our Outcomes Report.]

Woman pointing at codeWhat does the student body look like?

Coding bootcamps are being recognized as a source of diversifying the tech industry. 41.2% of our students are women and 30% are people of color. Students come from a range of backgrounds – from the service industry to teachers and just about everything in between.  Classrooms are filled with different personalities, learning types and backgrounds. That’s part of the fun!

[Bonus read: 7 Traits of a Successful Coding Bootcamp Student]

If you’ve been considering a career in tech, now is the time to start the process. An estimated 1 million computer-programming positions will be unfilled by 2020.