With an estimated 178,000 new tech jobs in the USA in 2022, not only are there plenty of job opportunities, but the median tech salary is 125% higher than the median national wage in the USA.
Further, the tech industry is fourth on the list of most projected employment gains across sectors, only below health care, technical services, and transportation. Those numbers aren’t exclusive to the USA, as you can see the same growth pattern in LatAm, the UK, and the EU.
Among all tech job postings, 28% specified a work from home (WFH) or hybrid work option. This represents a 77% increase over pre-pandemic rates.
Further, nearly 43% of roles within tech companies are non-technical positions. It is also worth mentioning that you are not required to have any kind of license or a degree to break into tech. I’ll go deeper on that later, bear with me.
A large portion of jobs in tech do NOT require a degree. Major tech companies like Google, Apple, and IBM no longer require employees to have a college degree. About 26% of IT workers in the USA also don’t hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
A lot of employers will prefer soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and detail orientation over hard skills. Tech is a fast-paced, growing, and changing industry, so being able to embrace change and self-learn is key.
Also, considering 95% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, a strong profile is a must. That is also where you will be doing most of your networking.
Of course, having some hard skills can help you land a job, so it’s up to you to decide how you want to pick up those tech skills. If you can self-study, there are a lot of resources online to help you get started or improve existing skills.
Even though it is not required in tech, for some people enrolling in a university and getting a degree can be the way to go.
And last, but not least, there are educational institutions with practical training programs, also known as bootcamps.
There is no better or worse solution, just what fits best for each person.
The vast majority of developers are still men. One of the most common barriers women in tech experience - besides unequal pay for the same skills - is the lack of a support system. That can either be a female role model in their workplace or a mentor.
Another challenge faced by women in tech is the confidence gap. In several studies, when men and women are given the same skill test and asked to self-assess, women give themselves an average score lower than their actual score - while men do the exact opposite.
Combine that with a gender bias in the workplace, and you get women being talked over or ignored/left out.
Fortunately, tech is an industry that is always moving forward. It is evident that more women are entering the space, and that more companies are putting in extra effort to close the gender gap.
Awareness of the many women who contributed to the creation of modern technology is important. It shows that women are not a new addition to this industry, but have been an integral part for a long time.
There are many real examples of modern women successfully changing their careers in tech. Recently, I had the pleasure to talk with two Microverse alums, Bruna and Ana who were so kind to share their stories with me. I hope you can find some inspiration when you read how they got into software development and what they are doing now.
Bruna is Full Stack developer from Brazil, who, before joining Microverse, worked as a Physical Therapy Veterinarian. When her husband received a job offer to be a mobile developer in Canada they decided to move.
But Bruna’s veterinary degree was not valid in Canada, so she decided to switch careers. Influenced by her husband, she started studying to become a programmer. She first learned about Microverse on social media. After spending roughly two months studying by herself, she decided to give Microverse a try.
Considering it was her first experience fully-immersed coding, she described it as, "An amazing experience, that also helped me understand whether I liked it or not". Spoiler alert: she did!
Ana, who is also Brazilian, was accepted into law school at a very young age. Even though she was - and still is - very passionate about law, people change. When she realized that her career no longer matched the things she liked, she decided to make a change.
Before getting into tech, Ana was already known as the “tech girl”. She shared that when working in a law office, she was always the first person her colleagues would ask when they had computer issues - even before the IT department.
Her first contact with a computer science course was when she was studying for a public tender. That’s the moment it all made sense to her. It was also when she decided it was time to change careers.
Ana then talked with Bruna (yes, the same Bruna), who had just started at Microverse. When she went through the Microverse Admissions process, it was actually her first contact with code. She described it as, “Love at first Hello World.”
Bruna enrolled in Microverse in August 2019. When she was in the last module a company reached her out to her on LinkedIn about an open position as a Junior Developer. She accepted and has been working there since October 2020.
Bruna believes that it was only possible for her to land her current job because of the strong portfolio she developed at Microverse. Besides that, considering there are no teachers, you learn, from day one, how to look for the answers by yourself. A good developer doesn’t necessarily know everything, but they know where, and what, to look for.
Ana shared that, besides hard skills being very important, she believes the soft skills she developed and polished at Microverse are now one of her strongest assets.
She was offered a job before completing Microverse or even starting to apply for jobs! The company told her that they had approached her due to her strong skill set and LinkedIn exposure.
There are still very few women in technology overall, and it is noticeable. For both Ana and Bruna, that is their reality. Ana, for instance, knows that there are more women in the company she works at, but she’s the only woman on her team.
“Prejudice against women in tech is something very cultural, but there are a lot of tech companies out there doing their best to change that.”
Ana also mentions how joyful it is to see that there are more and more women who are willing to fight for their space in tech and overcome those adversities.
From her personal experience, her colleagues are all very open and willing to help, and there is a feeling of, “I want you to know as much as I do.” For Ana, this is very different from her previous career where she felt like everyone was competing against each other.
As for Bruna, she has also had a positive experience as a woman in tech. She works in a smaller company - besides her, there are just two other developers. Her team has never done anything to make her feel uncomfortable, but she pointed out how different it could be if there was another woman in her team.
Bruna also shared that in her annual review, she shared that she was pregnant, and it was very well received. She recalled how nervous she was before sharing the news but was pleased that her company was very welcoming, ensuring her that, once she was ready to come back, her job would be there for her.
Both examples show how there is still a large gender gap in tech, but that there are a lot of companies, and people, willing to close that gap.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions!”
For a long period of time, Bruna was fearful of asking questions. She thought it would give the impression she was ‘not smart enough’. Soon she realized that not only her colleagues, but the whole development community, were very accepting. So, she pointed out how important it is to ask questions.
"Most times people would be more than happy to help, and will probably go even further than needed to help you,” shared Bruna.
Further, not having a diploma in Computer Science is something that hasn’t been as big of a deal as she thought it would be. Bruna believes that anything you miss from a traditional school can be overcome through studying. She also shared that people are often impressed by how much she learned in one year at Microverse.
Women, put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be very good at everything we do. “Don’t let impostor syndrome take over. Work on your confidence!”
“If I don’t start today, in a year from now I’m going to wish I did.”
Ana thought it was hard and intimidating to start from scratch. But she kept that quote in her mind when she decided to change careers.
“Development is such a vast area. There will always be something that is a better fit for your skills and preferences.”
Having options within her own career keeps her motivated to keep studying and learning new things.
“If you are unsure whether you should learn how to code, just do it”.
Ana believes there are endless opportunities for developers. Having companies reach out to her was something she had never experienced as a lawyer.
Further, Ana talked about how being a software developer gives you the opportunity to work anywhere in the world. Even though she is still very new in the coding world, Ana feels like every single day she gets closer to fulfilling her dream of living abroad.
By pursuing a software development career, and attending Microverse, Bruna and Ana have helped themselves build a foundation for a satisfying life and career. As the world of technology continues to grow, we need more individuals willing to change careers and learn new skills to fill the gaps.
If you are a woman seeking opportunities in software development, learn more about becoming a software engineer and advancing your career.