From its inception, code has been an unparalleled force and powerful tool. Technology has changed the world, and code now fuels it. Today, it’s used in more ways than you could possibly imagine, it powers the web you surf and the apps you rely on day-to-day, but it’s also used in unexpected ways. Did you know that, for example, coding – in particular in Python – is considered an essential skill for astronomers? Or that there is an entire movement of artists collaborating with Google to make art with code? Technology is now even being used to clean up the ocean.
Coding is constantly evolving and adapting, pushing the frontier of where and how it can be used, and bringing with it limitless opportunities. Look forward into the future and – like the smartphone, the tablet, and the self-driving car – technology will find new purpose in our lives and we’ll use code in ways we haven’t even imagined yet.
But, what’s most exciting is that the opportunity to tap into the power of coding is open to everyone with a computer and the internet. If you’re willing to challenge yourself to embrace a new skill, there’s nothing standing in your way of learning to code and starting a career in tech.
So if you do learn to code, how can you use those new skills?
Create & build
Once you’re able to code, there’s nothing stopping you from bringing your web and app ideas to life. Whether that means building something to support your existing business or creating something entirely new. Like nonprofit organizer Lee, who is now able to build websites to support all of his projects and organizations. Or 14-year-old, Kyle, who built a valuable online study resource for his High School. Whatever your idea, coding gives you the tools to make those ideas a reality.
On the other hand, there are other opportunities that come with adding coding to your skillset. If you go down the path of coding for a career, as a developer you can take on the role of supporting others with their needs and ideas. You’d be hard pressed to find a company these days that doesn’t need developers. But beyond that, there are limitless career opportunities for you to explore.
As a freelance developer you can control which projects you take on and the clients you work for, diversifying your work and constantly finding new ways to use code to meet your client’s needs. Melanie went from owning a bakery to working for over 20 clients as a freelance web developer, and Alexander who changed careers from an audio engineer to building iphone apps for clients as a freelance iOS developer.
Even within your existing job, coding skills can help you grow within your role or even change positions within your company. Mark worked as a tech support rep. By learning to code, he was able to apply for a dev position at the company where he worked.
But maybe you’re drawn to working in a traditional industry. The good news is that there’s equal demand for developers in those sectors, too. Do a quick job search, and you’ll find developer positions in healthcare, accountancy, finance, marketing, publishing, PR and law (to name a few). Every company or organization, big or small, needs a web and mobile presence, and that makes developers a necessity.
Join a startup
Then of course there’s the startup phenomenon. With the tech revolution comes the constant need for developers to be part of teams banding together to bring big and new ideas to life. If you are interested in startups, it’s worth noting that startup eco-systems are not just in Silicon Valley anymore. They’re now thriving across the world, from Stockholm to Beijing, from New York to Berlin. Check out the top 10 startup ecosystems according to VentureBeat.
Combine your passions
As a developer, you can be part of something unexpected and great. Why not combine coding with an existing passion? Steve worked as a teaching assistant when he began learning to code. Less than 6 months later, he was a developer at a company focused on education and making 50% more. Matthew worked in pharmaceuticals and by learning how to code became a developer at a startup focused on making healthcare data accessible to Americans.
Hopefully, these examples illustrate that regardless of what you do now or where your interests lie, there are limitless opportunities out there for you. Whichever career path you choose to take, you can use coding as a positive vehicle for change in your life. Make 2017 the year you explore new opportunities, embrace new skills and tap into the power of coding.