Time to peel back the curtain and let the cat out of the bag…
I’m not a career counselor. I’m not in HR. I’m not even a coder (not a coder yet, he said optimistically).
But if you’re here reading this, I’m going to guess you aren’t any of those things either.
Even so, I’d argue that you’re actually one of the best people to answer whether or not coding is a good career. And, I’m pretty qualified myself, but for different reasons.
You see, a “good” career is subjective.
A career counselor might tell you one thing based on their specific specialty angle, while an actual coder might tell you something completely different based on their real-life experience.
And then I, as “blogger guy of this summer tech camp,” am pretty qualified to answer this question for you based on the fact that we have seen 450,000 students go through our programs (with many of those programs focusing on coding, specifically).
Why does this fact lend any sort of credibility?
Because through these enrollment numbers, I see a lot of parents who believe in coding; families going out of their way to get their kids involved.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m pretty sure the reason a good portion of those families are doing so is because they feel the experience will better prepare their kids for college, internships, and future careers in coding. Said differently, they feel coding is a good enough career aspiration to put their hard-earned money towards it. To dedicate weeks of busy schedules.
So, there you go—basically half an answer to the question.
Here is the other half.
Reasons coding could be a good career
Coding is a good career if your child will enjoy it
With every day that passes, the opportunity for someone to do something they love doing as a career becomes more and more real. Our parents weren’t afforded that luxury. There were only so many different types of jobs to do because the world was much simpler, for lack of a better term. I don’t have to detail how things have changed since then, but you get the point.
So, if your child is showing an interest in coding, and they start becoming passionate about coding as a hobby and an area where they want to spend their free time, then you might be on to something in terms of coding being a good career.
Coding is a good career because there is opportunity
I read this fact the other day—only about 1% of the US population can write code.
Now, there are a lot of people in the US, so that works out to about 3+ million people in total, which is no small sum.
But when you also consider how much time we all spend wrapped up in a digital world that is powered by coding, that figure seems low, right?
For confirmation, just take a google around. You’ll see there are 1M unfilled IT jobs in the US. And that tech-related jobs in the US have increased by 200K every year since 2010. And that tech job opportunities are emerging across a wide range of industries, from cloud computing to AI to the next big thing (which isn’t far off, whatever it may be).
This all points to the fact that there is opportunity...and it’s not because we are in tech infancy, either. We all went digital a long time ago, and there are plenty of advancements and innovations to come.
Coding is a good career because it pays well
Indeed recently identified the 25 best jobs of the year, stacking opportunities up across three metrics including “average pay, the share of the job title’s growth on the site in the past three years, and the number of postings for the job for every 1 million total listings on the site.”
The top job? Software architect—a role that commands an average salary of $119,715 per year, and tends to require a degree in CS, software engineering, or a related field.
The second-ranked job? Full stack developer—which commands an average base salary of $94,164 annually, and requires a diverse coding skillset.
I won’t go through the full list, you can do that here, but other tech entries include:
- Development operations engineer #5
- Electrical engineer #6
- Java developer #7
- Data scientist #8
- IT security specialist #9
- Data engineer #12
- Cloud engineer #20
- IT technician #23
In other words, the list is dominated by tech, with many positions requiring some form of a coding skillset.
Coding is a good career because it’s impactful
Closing the loop on some of the points made in the intro, coding is a good career for those who want to leave a visible mark on the world around them.
Meaning, some people are totally OK with the fact that the hours of work they put in each day go virtually unnoticed by the outside world. They prefer to be behind the scenes and don’t need any sort of visible or tangible validation that what they are doing is consumed or required by others.
But for those who do want to be able to say “See that thing right there? I helped build that,” coding is very much that career.
- Java is at the core of Android app development
- Python forms the backend of Instagram, Spotify, Netflix, and more
- C++ was used to develop the latest Microsoft Office suite and Unreal Engine
See what I’m talking about? And that’s just a tiny sliver of the entire pie.
So, coding is a good career
Again, the answer hinges on goals.
Does your child want a well-paying career? One that also has a number of different opportunities and avenues to explore, and is visible in its output and impact on general society? If yes, then coding sounds like a great fit.
But importantly, does your child want a career they’ll enjoy? If yes, do they enjoy coding?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, it sounds like it could be time to get started!
Through it all - or through one thing of the many - I hope you find your answer.