Media portrays coding as a cold, technical pursuit. Yet to anyone who has entered the programming world and seen its infinite landscape of possibilities, coding paints a far more vibrant and colorful picture.
Coding is technical, but it’s equally creative and fun. It’s a strange mixture of complex and systematic languages that offer limitless potential to create programs, websites, games, and more. Nearly every industry is experiencing ways in which coding can streamline and even reinvent their way of operating.
So when questioning “why should I learn to code,” remember that learning how to code opens up the job market like no other skill.
What Job Can I Get if I Learn How to Code?
Once you understand the basics of coding languages, opportunities will start to emerge. The basics, however, are just a starting point—a launchpad into hundreds of languages and thousands of libraries to further your abilities as a coder.
To set you off on a coding career path, let’s discover together:
- Entry-level jobs for the new coder
- Attributes of an entry-level coder
- High-demand jobs for the skilled coder
Ready to put your skills to the test and solve real-world problems? Let’s dive in.
Entry-Level Jobs for the New Coder
Here are some of the most common jobs for coders at the beginning of their career:
- Web Developer
- Mobile App Developer
- Software Programmer
- Data Scientist
In this ever-digitizing world, almost everybody needs a basic, functioning website. Artists need to show off their portfolios; small local restaurants need to have their presence known; and businesses need to have a digital storefront.
While this space feels flooded by website builders like SquareSpace and Wix, the market isn’t entirely theirs. Many people find digital website builders to be a nuisance and more time-intensive than they’re worth. Hiring web developers is the easiest option to get a website up and running.
The web development sector offers entry-level coders a chance to be their own boss and work the freelance industry, or to join a larger team of web development and hyper-focus on the front end or back end.
- Front-End Web Development – Front-end web development is the client-facing side of coding websites. It deals with a website’s aesthetic, functionality, and how the content is configured.
- Back-End Web Development – Back-end web development deals with the server-facing code. This is where the web apps and programs communicate with the server to provide the website’s framework.
All web coding involves both front-end and back-end to operate, but if you join a larger team, you can specialize. If you’re interested in the creative side of coding, the front end is where you’ll want to focus. However, if you’re interested in the mechanics of coding, the back end will be more your speed.
Mobile App Development
Mobile app development and website building have many similarities. Not only is there an aesthetic front-end and a technical back-end, but many coding techniques transfer between the two systems.
As an entry level coder, you will be tasked with various objectives:
- Basic application building
- Bug identification and bug fixing
- Transferring programs between platforms (Android, iOS, web, etc.)
- Collaborating with design teams to create app features
- Working with third-party libraries (GitHub and APIs)
Basic mobile app development can be a single-person freelancing opportunity, but more often is handled by teams of engineers.
As a general software programmer, you may be tasked with anything from web and mobile coding to systems engineering.
Typically working underneath senior engineers and teams of other programmers, the entry-level software programmer can hone skills on rote coding operations while picking up new languages in the process. Software programmers have the general knowledge of coding fundamentals and constantly build their skill sets to continuously tackle new challenges and more complex problems.
Since they learn broad problem-solving techniques that are applicable everywhere, software coders can take their skills across various industries and fields.
Data science uses coding as a foundational tool to learn more about the world or given system. Entry-level coders often find a home in data science because the coding is often not the most difficult aspect.
Research teams, companies, and governments alike all employ data scientists. A data scientist’s responsibilities include:
- Efficiency measurements – Companies will often hire data scientists to gather and analyze data on efficiencies in the workplace. Data scientists are then tasked to work with business leaders and management to find solutions to systemic problems.
- Algorithm and model building – With big data comes the need to quantify and understand it all. One of the primary roles of data scientists is to build algorithms and models with code to further analyze data.
- Statistical analysis – Alongside coding skills, data scientists will use computer science, mathematics, and statistical analysis to unearth trends currently hidden in the data. This is used by research teams studying global climates all the way down to marketers trying to understand buyer trends.
If you see coding as a means to an end and enjoy new challenges in diverse fields—data science is a great field for you. And it all starts with entry-level coding.
What to Know About Being an Entry-Level Coder
As an entry-level coder, often your primary job responsibility is to learn—whether that’s to learn a language or library that’s used within the company, or educate yourself on certain techniques and coding skills that can be useful to new projects. While it would be great if you were able to solve a massive coding issue or sniff out the unfindable bug in the system, these tasks are typically handled by senior engineers.
What are some qualities that make an entry-level coder stand out?
- Unafraid to ask questions – As the “newbie” on the team, you’re expected to be in over your head. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you need further clarification. It’s better (and more valuable to the team) to ask questions in the beginning than to tough it out for three days of work and end up having to start over from scratch.
- Capacity to build end-to-end – As a juxtaposition to asking questions, you also need the capacity to build a product from start to finish. You have to be comfortable working outside your comfort zone and pushing forward despite facing obstacles. Every project you work on will be a combination of things you know and things you don’t. This doesn’t stop as you progress in your career, you just get better at learning.
- Positive, curious attitude – If your team needed an employee to tackle their most difficult and complex coding challenges, they probably wouldn’t hire an entry-level programmer. Thus, never underestimate the value of a positive, curious attitude. Remember, coding is as much fun and creative as it is technical. Bring this energy with you into your entry-level coding jobs and you’ll stand out quickly.
Additional Note: Most coding jobs will come with the typical application requirements of “3-5 years of experience” and “must know these languages” (followed by a list of ten or more languages). Don’t let the word requirements stop you from applying. The best way to learn coding is with on-the-job training, especially when it comes to entry-level coding positions.
High-Demand Jobs for Skilled Coders
As you master coding skills and become acquainted with the workflow of a programmer, new industries and opportunities will continue to unfold before you. Here are some of the highest-demand jobs for skilled coders according to a 2019 recruiting study by HackerRank:
- Full-Stack Developer – The term full-stack developer means that you can work on both the front and back ends of web or application design. Though, in practice, these developers are the management over the development process. Because they understand both sides of development inside and out, they’re pulled into every part of the project when needed.
- Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Engineer – As big data, machine learning, and AI become an increasing part of our lives, companies are hiring more coders with this niche knowledge. Machine learning and AI engineering involves a unique skill set of mathematics, computer science, computer engineering, mixed with a strong background in coding fundamentals.
- DevOps Engineer – A DevOps engineer is someone who bridges the gap between software development teams and IT admins. They are tasked with overseeing the launch and implementation of new features, software, and designs. While they aren’t the one coding programs, DevOps engineers need a highly nuanced understanding of the underlying code to ensure quality, security, and functionality.
Alternative Routes for Coders
The realm of programming is not limited to application engineering and developing. In fact, think of anything involving technology—manufacturing, publishing, even transportation tech. Most likely, somewhere along the process, coding is involved. Even video game design, art-tech projects, and learning tools all start with the ability to code.
However imaginative your dreams are, coding is your ticket to turn them into reality.
A New World of Coding Jobs Awaits
As the world becomes more reliant on technology, the demand for coders will likely increase. Should you want to step into this brave new digital world prepared, then learning how to code is essential. Yet, with this endeavor comes a challenge. Most coding bootcamps and classes are overly difficult and dry, making the process of learning code more complex and frustrating than it should be.
With more than 125 lessons in website design, media art creation, and game development, you’ll discover the entertainment of coding, in the wonder-filled worlds of Disney.
From there, a whole new world of coding jobs awaits—start your free trial today.
Northeastern University. What Does a Data Scientist Do? https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/what-does-a-data-scientist-do/
ZDNet. Developer jobs: These are the coders who are most in demand. https://www.zdnet.com/article/developer-jobs-these-are-the-coders-who-are-most-in-demand/