Coding is the hot job of the near future, and the word is out. It’s becoming more competitive and employers are raising the bar for jobs.
While there are thousands of job listings for programmers and coders on various job sites, the increasing number of people capable of filling those jobs means that those in the industry will have to up their game if they want to thrive in their careers in 2016.
First up: technical skills alone won’t cut it any more.
Language skills — and we’re not talking PYTHON — are crucial. For example, one employer looking for a coder has told headhunter David Klein to screen out resumes that are not written well, or ones that contain grammatical errors.
Klein, director of recruitment for KDS Staffing in New York, says that the employer is looking for coders and programmers who can “communicate well.”
Michael Choi, founder of Coding Dojo, says that employers “are doing more filtering,” especially since there are more qualified applicants for jobs. “In general, the bar is going up,” Choi says.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer programmer jobs are expected to grow 8% by 2022. While boot camps such as Coding Dojo continue to turn out coders in addition to various schools worldwide, other qualified personnel will enter the pipeline through the TechHire initiative, a public-private partnership aimed at filling tech jobs.
At the same time, companies are placing more demand on coders to help them fill the strategic and business goals of the organization. No longer will coders specialize in certain areas – they will be asked to broaden their knowledge and be able to collaborate more, Choi says.
Klein adds that while coders can stick to things they’re passionate about, they also “need to understand why they’re writing that code. Why does it need to be there?”
If programmers and coders want to remain viable in 2016, here are some things they need to know.
Plays well with others
Collaboration is essential. Interactive websites are “getting more complicated,” and more coders will need to be able to work within various frameworks so they can team up with other developers, Choi says. “You’ve got to be able to work together with teams and collaborate.”
Accept and embrace change
Flexibility matters. “There’s a lot more pressure on developers,” Choi says. “It’s more important now than it was before that they understand the ‘why’ of what they’re doing. They need to understand how it fits into the big picture.” Klein says he sees a demand for coders and programmers who are “extremely engaged” in their daily activities and show they are “passionate and engaged about what they do.” It’s important that you be able to interact more with leaders so you grasp how it’s clear what you’re doing meets the business objective.
No one language will rule
Move to Utah
Utah wants you. It’s always a good idea to know where your skills will be most in demand, and a Dice analysis reveals that Salt Lake City saw an 85% jump in the number of tech postings in the area, with a strong presence of e-commerce retailers, video-game developers and some large software makers. (The city has the added attraction of low taxes, skilled workers from local schools and a strong infrastructure.) In addition, Cincinnati has a job posting increase of 44%, followed by a 41% hike in Miami.
For higher pay, keep improving your skills
Learning is constant. Whether you attend a boot camp or go to an industry conference, don’t become complacent in your career. Coders and programmers are in demand – but it’s clear that with more people entering the field, employers are becoming choosier. In addition, improving your skills can help you garner a bigger paycheck: Course Report says that workers graduating from a boot camp course nab a starting salary of $75,965, compared to $64,300 per year for those with only a computer science degree.
In flat structures, everyone is a manager
Management skills are important. Klein says that more employers are looking for those who can “take ownership” of a project, working its full life cycle. If you’ve got little experience in that area, start volunteering to work on different parts of a project to expose yourself to new ideas and new people. Look for those who are willing to walk you through a project from beginning to end, helping you gain more experience. In addition, work with your manager to write up a career development plan that helps you meet those goals.