Riddle me this - there are five people on the same training course with a shared passion for technology and data. They're all following a similar path, but apply for different jobs.
What are they?
The beauty of having coding skills is that there are so many coding careers to choose from. Of course, the only problem with that is deciding which pathway is right for you. Don’t worry, we’re on it. Here’s a breakdown of 5 top coding careers to help you set foot on the right path to your dream coding career.
1. Web Development: weave your coding web
Coding salary range - depending on experience: £24-50k
Businesses are always going to want websites, so turning your hand to web development as a key discipline will definitely set you up for long-term career prospects. In fact, this is one of the most viable career paths if you plan to go freelance down the line or start your own business.
It's not an easy ride though. Clients and employers alike can be demanding and have unrealistic expectations on what is possible when it comes to website development. In addition to gaining the relevant website development skills and deciding whether you want to be front end, back end or full-stack, you will also need to be able to communicate and collaborate. To create websites you will be working closely with UX designers, marketers and writers. You may also need to help with pitches to clients.
2. Gaming: create new worlds and break new ground
Coding salary range - depending on experience: 19-50K
If you love your gaming and want a great excuse to do it more, then why not leverage those coding skills to make a career out of it? Just make sure you do some research into a typical day in the life of a game coder as it's not quite as creative as you might think. Brian Hook, an experienced gaming professional who contributed to "Quake 2" and "Quake 3" explains:
"It's like joining a band thinking you're going to help write songs, only to find that you're responsible for setting up the drums and getting out of the way."
Basically this means that while gaming is definitely an exciting industry to be part of, be prepared to knuckle down and focus on the detail. You'll need to be tolerant and a great problem solver as a games programmer, as you'll often spend many hours just trying to fix one small part of a game.
3. QA Testing: poking around to find any weak spots
Coding salary range - depending on experience: 21-50k
Are you that person that likes to point out mistakes in articles or breaks in continuity on your favourite TV show? An annoying yet necessary quality to be a kick ass software quality assurance tester - QA tester. There's been a rising demand for QA testers in recent years as businesses and tech heavies need experienced coders to give their programs, apps and software a good old hammering. In fact, according to the World Quality Report 2015-16, the budget for quality assurance is going to reach 40% of the IT budget in 2018, rising 5% from the figures in 2015.
As a QA Tester your job will be to quality check software, whether that's SaaS - software as a service, gaming or internal systems for the business. You'll be seeking out any weaknesses before the customer or client gets the end product. This is a great coding career path if you want to keep your options open and jump industries down the line, as most business now need an in-house QA tester.
4. Data Science: for data junkies who love algorithms
Coding salary range - depending on experience: 35-60k
If the word 'algorithm' makes you salivate like a donut to Homer, then why not consider becoming a data scientist? While there are of course complexities to this coding job, ultimately a data scientists translates a bunch of data into something that is meaningful. This requires both human intelligence and machine learning. A lot of your time will be spent cleaning and validating data, so that you can then apply models and algorithms to mine that data.
To discover whether this is the right coding job for you, ask yourself these questions. If you answer yes to most of them then you could be onto something:
- Do you enjoy what you've learned about statistics and programming so far?
- Do you enjoy constantly learning about the latest techniques and technologies?
- Would you be a data scientist, even if it just paid an average salary?
- Are you okay with entry level jobs for this path: Data Analyst, Business Analyst, etc…?
Whilst most of time you'll be head down and swimming in data, to get to the top you also need to be able to communicate your findings in a convincing and impressive way to stakeholders in the business - not sure what that means? You need to be able to explain what you did in simple terms to the big scary boss people.
5. Mobile: if you love to tap up mobile apps
Coding salary range - depending on experience: £20-60k
There is no denying that the future is mobile and apps consuming and facilitating our daily lives. Who needs to text when you can use Whatsapp? Why go to the bank when you can manage your money in an app? Everything can be appified and you can be one of the coding geniuses riding that wave.
A great coding career path for anyone who also has an entrepreneurial spirit or marketing whizz about them. In fact you may well already have an app idea and be keen to learn coding skills so you can turn that idea into a reality. Once you have the right training under your belt it's a good idea to at least attempt to build your own mobile app before interviewing for jobs. This will show proactivity and demonstrate that you're ambitious about a career as a mobile app developer.
Make your own path with your coding skills
We hope we've helped you transform your initial desire to become a coder into a more focused route to a career that suits you. If you haven't yet taken a dive into training you can take a look at our range of online coding courses. Already armed with the coding skills and training but struggling to get that first break? Check our blog on 6 rad ways to find your dream IT job.