Have you considered a career in tech, but read or heard something that’s held you back? Maybe you don’t think you fit the stereotype for a developer. Or you don’t have the education or experience to land a tech job. Or maybe you think the right opportunities won’t be available to you in your city. Well here are a few myths about starting a new career in tech that we’d like to set straight.
Myth 1: A web developer is a 20 something, anti-social computer hacker
Decades of pop culture and preconceptions created stereotypes for the “typical developer.” Neo in the Matrix might come to mind.
This stereotype can in part be traced back to the tech industry’s polarizing marketing towards young males in the early 1980s. Studies showed that young white males were heavier users of the internet. These findings then affected marketing and ownership for personal computers, which in turn heavily impacted the students who enrolled in Computer Science degrees and embarked on tech careers.
However, things have changed in the past few decades. Today, technology is integrated into everyone’s lives in more ways than ever before. 96% of young Americans use the internet, over 70% have their own computers, and 78% have an online social media profile. Tech and internet users are diverse, and so are the individuals who work in tech. The stereotype is being erased by a combined mission across the industry to encourage the rapid growth of diversification. You only have to look at the Forbes 2015 list of the most powerful women in tech to see the shifts taking place in the most recognisable names in the industry:
- Susan Wojcicki – CEO YouTube
- Virginia “Ginni” Rometty – CEO IBM
- Sheryl Sandberg – COO Facebook
- Marissa Mayer – CEO Yahoo!
- Ursula Burns – CEO Xerox
- Amy Hood – CFO Microsoft
With the growth of online learning platforms, there has also been a shift in the way students can learn in-demand tech skills. Where in the past traditional 4-year Computer Science degrees were the only option, online learning has since proven itself as an accessible way for everyone to learn certain job-ready skills.
At Treehouse, we’re determined to break the stereotype for who should be a developer. Because we believe anyone can be a developer. You don’t need to be a certain gender, race, or age to build amazing things.
Myth 2: You need a 4-year degree and work experience on your resume to work in tech
You don’t need a Computer Science degree to be a developer. Provided you have the job-ready skills an employer is looking for, the enthusiasm to apply yourself and the determination to learn and grow in the role, you can land a position. Our students prove that every day with their stories of career change and success. Take Ashley from Michigan, one of our early Techdegree students for example. Ashley didn’t have a college degree or past coding experience, but with the portfolio of projects she build with the Front End Web Development Techdegree, Ashley was able to showcase her skills to her future employer. Today she’s a full time developer.
Myth 3: All developers work in the Silicon Valley
Another common assumption is that opportunities for developers today are only at Silicon Valley startups. In reality, there are over half a million unfulfilled tech jobs in the US alone – That’s a high number and demand for developers – and those positions are located across the country. This 2016 report from Robert Half recruiting breaks down the demand trends they’re seeing for tech across the country.
As a developer, when you’re job searching you can also think outside the box. With the tech-consumed world we live in, companies from every industry need developers. Do a quick country-wide job search and you’ll find dev positions at companies like AT&T, Amazon and Art.com. Or part of more traditional, large enterprises like pharmaceuticals, insurance, and finance. There’s also the alternative of independent small businesses in need of developers.
Of course, there’s always the appealing option of being your own boss. Freelancing as a developer is demanding, but rewarding. If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere and with clients across the world.
Myth 4: There’s only one type of web developer
The final misconception is that there’s only one type of developer, when in fact there’s a huge range of programming languages you can specialise in depending on your strengths and interests. Each career path varies in the types of projects you work on, the teams you work with and the types of employers you work for.
- Java is a popular language for large enterprise software. So if you’re drawn to the traditional industries mentioned earlier, consider becoming a Java Web Developer.
- Being a Python Web Developer means working with one of the most versatile programming language. Dropbox and Quora were all developed using Python. Even Nasa uses it! It’s also easiest to pick up than other languages, so it’s great for beginners.
- If you’re drawn to Google’s Android operating system, then learning Java and becoming an Android Developer is the best career path for you.
- Being an iOS Developer doesn’t just mean building mobile apps. It involves learning both Swift and Objective-C so you can build apps for iPhones, iPads, Apple Watch and Apple TV.
Hopefully we’ve set the record straight on these 4 myths, but are there others you’d add to the list? If so, share them below!
Enroll in the Treehouse Techdegree Program today to learn job-ready skills and start a career as a developer.
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I’m not a Treehouse member but have a question I’m sure it’s been asked before but I’m 28 and have no qualifications what so ever. I’m interested in learning web development but worry that employers won’t take me seriously when applying for jobs
Would it be possible to go on techdegree without completing necessary courses from the basic account?
Hi Juner! The Techdegree content builds upon our current curriculum offered with our regular subscription, but includes workshops and courses needed to complete the project based work. The essential difference between a regular subscription and the Techdegree is the additional service offerings including in the Techdegree program, which you can read about here. Please let us know if you have any additional questions!
The more and more I hear about the fact that you don’t need a computer science degree to succeed as a web developer, the more I start to wonder how much of a disconnect there is between companies like this and the real world. Employers are looking for people that have the know-how on building new systems and help them stay competitive in the e-commerce market. This goes far beyond front-end web development. Universities have now created programs that allow students to get a Bachelors degree and a masters degree in computer science in under 5 years. Employers are loving this because they know they will get more than just a developer when they hire an individual. So please stop saying that you don’t need a degree. Treehouse can get you a job at Momma’s Pancake house at 14 an hour designing and developing websites, but not with the big boys. You need a real educaiton for that. On a side note, it’s bad social media/blog/whatever you call this, strategy to delete or not post comments simply because they go against what you post and are not offensive or have bad words.
Hi there! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Although we fully appreciate your view, over the years we’ve seen our students achieve career-changing success working with companies across the world with the coding skills they’ve learned online with us (and without a Computer Science Degree).
We also recently launched our Techdegree program to guide our students to becoming certified developers. In addition to our comprehensive core curriculum, the Techdegree includes additional resources for our students to help them prepare for a career in tech: mentorship sessions, 12 real-world coding projects (code-reviewed and graded by certified Treehouse Mentors with personalized feedback on their code) and a final proctored exam. Already we’ve seen students (e.g Ashley) succeeded in landing developer roles based solely on the skills they’ve learned with Treehouse and their portfolio of projects.
If you have any questions about the program or our students, please let us know and we’re happy to answer!
I work at one of the largest tech companies in the world as a developer and have no degree so…
That’s awesome to hear! Keep up the great work, Joe.