Which Path to Tech is Right for You?

Careers in tech are among the fastest-growing in the nation. All industries are the tech industry  –– from health care to banking, virtually all companies need tech talent. This results in a ton of career opportunities in a wide range of fields, and software development skills continue to be one of the nations’ most in-demand talents. 

Let’s look at the industry by the numbers: 

  • Career opportunities for Software Developers will grow 24% by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • 4 of LinkedIn’s ‘Top 10 Most Promising Jobs’ require software development skills 
  • Software Developer is the #1 “Best Job,’ according to U.S. News 
  • Application Software Developers are among the highest paying positions in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 

It’s not difficult to see why so many people  have made the transition to a career in tech. Companies have an increased need for these skills, career options are plentiful, salaries consistently grow and there are many options for how you establish your career. 

Earning a Career in Tech? Graphic

What are the different paths to earning a career in tech? 

There are three paths to a tech career: a computer science degree, self-taught or joining a coding bootcamp. Which is right for you is dependent on your preference, budget, desired timeline. Let’s take a look at the options.

Infographic: Computer Science Degree vs. Coding Bootcamp

Computer Science Degree

Traditionally, software developers earned a Bachelor’s in Computer Science to jumpstart their tech career. While there are many great CS degree programs, most lack the practical lessons graduates need to solidify a career –– such as a coding portfolio. Colleges move slowly with long approval processes for new curriculum, and technology moves fast; this creates outdated lessons and a disjointed experience from what graduates will experience in the real world. With fast-moving technology, the job market also transitions quickly –– requiring guidance and clarity around opportunities.

Many university career advisors are managing career goals of hundreds of students, and often lack meaningful real-world industry insights.  According to one study, college advisors might support as many as 1,200 students, with the national average at a 375-to-one ratio. 

Coding bootcamps popped up in response to these issues.

Big companies, such as Google, have increasingly recognized that the traditional university path is no longer necessary to earn a position. There’s a new understanding that an individual’s skills and ability to contribute to the company’s objectives are more important than a grade point average. For companies that do require a degree, many simply don’t care if it’s in CS or something else entirely.

Self-Taught Coding Skills 

This is a path of self-led study using a variety of free and paid resources such as Udemy. People who are self-taught learn and explore your interests at their own pace.

While there are some advantages to being a self-taught developer, there are two thinsg this route misses out:

1. Soft skills are just as important in the job hunt as technical abilities and
2. Your career search is only as strong as your network. Making meaningful connections with companies and understanding exactly what they’re looking for is vital to helping ensure they eventually hire you.

Unfortunately, the self-taught path does not provide a built-in network of hiring companies and does not provide you the needed career coaching to landing your first programming job. 

Coding Bootcamp Education

Within the last ten years, coding bootcamps have become an established path into tech. Our bootcamp is provides a meaningful education that properly supports the hard work and dedication of all students. Everything learned is directly applicable to the career search and the technical abilities the job will require. This is a great option for students passionate about the industry who are also dedicated to getting there quickly. Bootcamps create a concentrated, fast-past learning environment, packed with information and valuable insights. Grand Circus bootcamps teaches both the soft and technical skills necessary to land a job. We also offer schedule options with Full Time and Par Time bootcamps.

Keep in mind, not all coding bootcamps are created equal. There’s currently no regulation on the coding bootcamp industry, which makes it easier for new programs popup. Make sure to review Outcomes Reports, talk to alumni and understand the bootcamp’s Employer Network

Our Coding Bootcamps Provide Skills, Opportunity, and Family.

Coding bootcamps are a unique learning experience that invites students from a wide range of backgrounds to learn collaboratively. A single classroom might include individuals who previously worked as baristas, bankers, teachers, psychologists and beyond –– some with college degrees, many without. In fact, nearly 47% of Grand Circus graduates join the program without a four-year degree. No matter where students are before the bootcamp, everyone gets a fair opportunity to achieve their dream tech job. Putting in the time and work throughout the program and after graduation matter far more than prior degrees or professions. 

Tyler Fraser quote

Frequently requested stats: 

  • Graduates make a median salary of $52,000 in their first entry-level tech career 
  • 89.1% of daytime bootcampers earn careers in tech 
  • Every year, the salaries of alumni increases, with 2015 graduates making an average of $83,514
  • More than 300 employers hire Grand Circus grads 

[Read more in our Outcomes Report

How to Prepare: Workshops

We understand that not everyone comes from a background with technical knowledge. In fact, only one in four high schools has a computer-programming curriculum. It can be intimidating to learn a new skill and career path.

Develop your coding skills at one of our workshops in Detroit or Grand Rapids. The free Intro to Code workshop is perfect to get you started, while Intro to Front-End and Intro to Java help you decide which coding language you love best!

Check out our guide for clarity on application, success rates, and more.

No matter where you’re starting, a career in tech is possible. All you have to do is begin.