How to Get a Job in Coding in 2023
The tech industry is still hiring, and if you’re looking to get a job in coding, now’s the time. The computer and information technology field will add a projected 682,800 new jobs from 2021 through 2031, with every year seeing 418,500 new vacancies resulting from the expansion of the industry and the need to replace workers.
Preparing to land a job in coding is an intensive process, but one filled with exciting skill development, supportive communities, and industry-leading projects and technologies that make a difference in billions of people’s lives around the world. Read on to learn how to get a programming job, and how you can take the first steps today.
What Are Jobs That Use Coding?
Coding skills are used widely among many roles in the technology industry, and for many jobs, it’s not only a foundational skill but required knowledge. Even some managerial roles necessitate coding experience or knowledge. Below are some of the key tech jobs that use coding today, and the industries hiring skilled programming professionals today.
|Computer and Information Research Scientists
|Government, research sciences, computer systems design
|Computer systems design, business management, insurance
|Computer Network Architect
|Computer systems design, finance, insurance
|Insurance, finance, software
|Computer Systems Analyst
|Computer systems design, finance, business management
|Computer systems design, software, retail
|Information Security Analyst
|Computer systems design, finance, insurance
|Finance, education, information
|Computer systems design, insurance, manufacturing
*Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
How to Get a Job in Coding: Step by Step
To get a coding job, the road can be long but exciting. Learning a new skill is rewarding but challenging, and getting a coding job requires passion, perseverance, and preparation.
The following steps will outline exactly how to navigate landing a coding job. While it is organized for people who’ve never written a line of code, anyone with existing coding experience will also find these steps helpful if choosing to get into coding as a career.
1. Research Coding Jobs
If you’re ready to turn your interest in coding into a career, it’s essential to learn about what types of coding jobs are available to you. Programmers are needed across all industries in a wide variety of roles. Identify what industries appeal to you the most, and what technologies you’re drawn to. This could help you narrow down the distinct field or profession in which you’d like to work.
Explore job descriptions and requirements of various roles to understand what is required besides programming knowledge and skills. For example, a programmer could specialize in front end development, back end development, full stack development, data science, machine learning, or artificial intelligence, all of which require coding skills. To learn more about a coding job, consider reaching out to a professional already working in the field through LinkedIn or other professional tech career hubs.
2. Get an Education
After researching the coding jobs you’re most interested in, it’s time to gain the skills necessary to perform this role by learning the various programming languages, frameworks, and other technologies. The job research would also have helped you narrow down the coding skills that are in demand in that profession, so you can structure your education around these skills.
When choosing where to get your programming education, there are a range of options. Each varies in length of time, curriculum, cost, and other factors such as schedule flexibility and commitment. Below are some of the educational pathways available to you.
- University or College Degree. For a comprehensive education in coding, a degree in computer science or software engineering from a university or college is a traditional route. These programs cover a broad range of topics and concepts with a deeper focus on theory and methodology. Some careers or employers require a university degree for employment.
- Coding Bootcamp. A coding bootcamp is a short but intense program designed to get students job-ready quickly. They typically focus on preparing their students for entry-level tech careers and formulate their curriculum around the in-demand industry skills required for the role today. These programs can be demanding but cost less than a degree and can be completed in a matter of months. The best coding bootcamps even offer career services, resume help, and job guarantees to help you get a job in coding after graduation.
- Online Courses. For the ultimate in flexible education, online courses offer students a cost-effective education and the ability to study from anywhere, on their own time. Many of these courses are self-paced, which lets students commit as much time as they like to their coding program each week. Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and Codecademy offer online coding courses.
- Self-Study. For people not interested in structured learning, self-study is a feasible option. There are many free resources online for learning coding, such as freeCodeCamp and YouTube tutorials. Reading programming books and studying programming documentation can also be a great way to develop your programming skills at your own pace. This path, while the most budget-friendly, can also be the most challenging in keeping yourself motivated.
3. Build a Portfolio
Regardless of the education path you choose, building a portfolio of projects is crucial to getting a job in coding. While programming degrees, bootcamps, and online courses have portfolio projects built into their curriculum, building your own projects is also important, even more so if you’ve chosen to self-study. To expand your portfolio, you can also consider participating in open-source projects or taking on freelance projects.
Having a portfolio that includes program-led projects as well as personal projects will help you showcase your technical skills as well as soft skills such as problem-solving and creativity. Including a variety of projects will show employers or prospective clients the practical experience and unique abilities you offer. Ensure your portfolio is organized and describes the technologies used and outcomes achieved for each project.
4. Network and Join Communities
Connecting with professionals at various stages of their careers in the programming community is invaluable when looking to get a coding job. Connecting with other people looking to break into a coding job is a great way to seek support and share tips and resources regarding resume writing, job applications, technical interviews, and more.
Currently employed professionals can act as resources for advice, support, and insights into the field. In some cases, building a strong relationship can result in important mentorship which can have profound and lasting effects on a successful career. Employed professionals in your network can also offer tips on landing your first programming role, point you toward job opportunities, or act as a referral.
Joining tech and programming communities is also a helpful way to establish yourself in the tech industry and get noticed by other current or potential professionals. By actively participating in discussions, offering help to others, and sharing your knowledge and experiences, you nurture connections in these communities. In this way, you create a strong network that supports your career growth and opens doors to new opportunities.
5. Maximize Your Job Hunt
Arguably one of the most challenging parts of getting a job in coding isn’t gaining the skills and working away at finding experience-based projects to add to your portfolio. It’s the job hunt itself. Jobs in coding, while abundant, are also very competitive.
To make the most of your job hunt, and to stand out from the other candidates, it’s important to be prepared. For example, a strong resume and solid interview skills can go a long way in getting you noticed and making you a strong candidate. The following tips can help make landing your first job easier.
- Define your career goals. This is crucial for ensuring you’re applying for jobs that you’re passionate about and align with your skillset. Knowing exactly what career you want will help you focus your attention on those vacancies only and direct your time more intentionally. Being passionate about the role will also come across during the interviewing stage.
- Refine your resume and portfolio. This step is vital when applying for jobs. Make sure to tailor your resume for the job you’re applying for. Highlight specific skills and accomplishments that target the role. Organize and tweak your portfolio to make sure it showcases your qualifications and experience clearly and in an easy-to-follow way.
- Target companies you’re interested in. Apply for roles at companies whose products or services you use or believe in. Your passion and enthusiasm to join their team will make you a very enticing candidate. Learn about their values and work culture to see if they align with your values, and familiarize yourself with their technologies and current projects to be able to market your skills to their business needs.
- Prepare for interviews. The interview process can be intimidating and is typically two-fold: one part will focus on who you are as a person and the skills and experience you can bring to the company. The other is an assessment of your technical knowledge as it relates to the company’s work. There are many online resources with coding exercises specifically to help you prepare for coding interviews.
- Consider internships. While everyone wants to land a paying job as quickly as possible after studying, this can be a long process. During this waiting period, consider taking on an internship. An internship provides the opportunity to hone your skills, get on-the-job experience, and network with industry professionals. Oftentimes, interns are hired into positions with the company.
6. Continue Learning
Continuous learning is a cornerstone of working a coding job, as professionals need to always stay on top of the ever-evolving technologies in the field. While job hunting and developing your portfolio, make sure to learn about industry trends and news. Staying up-to-date on the latest in the field can be a great way to showcase your passion and adaptability to potential employers.
Even if you’ve landed a coding job, you must always be honing your skills and picking up new ones, especially if your goal is career progression. As mentioned earlier, online learning platforms like Udemy and Coursera offer courses for developing various technical skills at a low cost. You can also stay informed through coding blogs and websites, online communities, and podcasts, which share the latest news and insights.
Computer Programming Jobs: Job Outlook
Tech vacancies continue to be abundant, pointing to a bright future for the industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in computer and information technology occupations is expected to grow 15 percent over the next decade, from 2021 to 2031.
When considering computer programming roles specifically, BLS projects a decline in demand, down 10 percent, from 2021 to 2031. However, there will still be over 9,600 job openings each year over the next decade, meaning opportunities are still abundant.
Getting Into Coding
If working on cutting-edge projects and advancing technology sounds exciting to you, getting into coding could lead you to a rewarding career. Luckily, the route you take there is full of options that allow you to gain the required skills in a way that best suits your lifestyle.
There are also numerous resources available for learning and staying abreast of industry news as well as active and helpful online communities and tech professionals eager to help you get a coding job. Getting a job coding is just the start of an exciting career in tech.
How to Get a Job in Coding FAQ
Coding jobs, which cover a wide range of careers within computer and information technology, pay $97,430 per year, on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This number is close to the average salary of computer programmers specifically, which is $93,000 annually, per BLS. Seniority is also important to consider, as coders in entry-level roles will earn less than senior roles.
Coding bootcamps provide the skills to help you land jobs such as software engineer, data analyst, web developer, and cyber security specialist. Each program is typically tailored to a specific career and the current industry skills required for these roles. Studying at a coding bootcamp is worth it if you want to save time and money and enter the tech field quickly.
It can take four or more years to get a coding degree if you’re pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering. If you’re pursuing a master’s degree in these fields after earning a bachelor’s in a related STEM field, then it usually takes two years to complete.
You can get a coding job without a degree, as many employers today are focused on hiring programming professionals with adequate skills or experience over university credentials. You can get into a coding career without a degree by pursuing your education through coding bootcamps, online courses, free online coding resources, and even YouTube tutorials.