February 7, 2022
Even with a Greater Need for its Products and Services in the United States, the Tech Industry Lacks Qualified Applicants.
The technology and computer science industries are booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, positions and hiring in the computer and IT fields are expected to grow faster than any other field in the next ten years. Despite the myriad of opportunities available in the field, many businesses are struggling to fill available positions with a qualified workforce. With a large growth of career opportunities, high-paying positions, and much upward mobility, the tech industry is a perfect place for students to enter the workforce as they finish school.
Even before the pandemic, the tech industry was already seeing increasing demand. Predictions made before 2020 had an optimistic outlook and expectations of steady growth. The pandemic made it clear that technology was needed, and accelerated the demand for it faster than was anticipated. With the pandemic came a rise in remote learning, virtual communication, and working from home. This rapidly increased the need for software developers, IT professionals, and people in the workforce that understand code and computers.
Since then, a trend has become clear: the need for tech jobs is stable and increasing. With increasing support for remote and hybrid work and school schedules, there is an increased need for app and website development, IT support, and technology training.
Even with these rampant opportunities, and an enticing average salary of over $100,000 a year, not enough students are pursuing careers to meet the needs of the tech industry. Even careers with livable entry-level wages are left vacant by the workforce.
During my investigation for this article, I noticed a common misconception about computer coding and software development. Namely, that you have to be a genius to succeed at it! When many people think of a “coder”, they picture a basement-dwelling computer whiz with a Power Glove, hunched over a keyboard, using 5 monitors at once, and solving complex problems like hacking and performing data analysis within seconds. Usually, these geniuses can solve complex mathematical equations in their heads too!
In reality, those images are not truly representative of what it’s actually like being a coder.
From my personal coding experience, and from working alongside a myriad of tech wizards and software engineers, I’ve learned that coding looks more similar to the work of a writer - picture an author drafting an outline, adding details, describing visual scenes, constructing narrative flowcharts, and rewording entire passages so it conveys exactly what’s intended. The primary difference between the two is the audience; instead of writing for people, you’re authoring works for computers! Since human brains work differently from machines, there’s just a bit of language modification required. Just like writing, coding is a skill that can be learned, improved, and adequately performed with practice and a pinch of motivation. The only skills a coder needs to begin are curiosity, persistence, and humility.
If you’re looking to improve your work situation, to enter into a field that has staying power, or even if you just like using computers, technology and computer programming are viable options that pay living wages. Beyond that, many of these career paths don’t necessarily require university attendance or graduation. In such a time as this, when so many career opportunities fall short of what is considered sustainable wages, transitioning to a career in technology has the potential to radically transform an individual’s or even a family’s quality of life. All you need is drive, patience, and a hunger for knowledge.
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Olivia is Mastery Coding's Content Marketing Director based in Portland, Oregon.