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#PowerUp Your Tech Career: Tips, Tools and Advice – Whatever Your Career Path

SheCanCode's Power Up Event Series

ARTICLE SUMMARY

If you are trying to work out which path into tech is right for you, this blog shares top tips, tools and advice from our recent Power Up webinar with the team from Embolden Her.

At SheCanCode we regularly receive questions about the various career paths into tech, whether it be from someone who is considering entering the industry, transitioning from another industry, moving from another discipline, or returning after a career break.

The good news is: there are so many ways to enter and build a successful career in tech, so just do what feels right for you!

Laura Wiltshire

Earlier this month, we ran the first webinar of our #PowerUp event series, about just this subject. We were joined by the brilliant Embolden_Her team and our very own Laura Wiltshire, Head of Growth and Talent, hosted the session. You’ll find this blog jam packed with insights and advice that we took from the webinar!

EmboldenHer

Personal Stories

Out of the 5, Kam and Abbie both studied computer science degrees, and had, what would be considered a more ‘traditional’ route into tech.

Sarah, Déborah and Hen, all came to tech on a less traditional path. 

While their studies were still STEM subjects – Physics, Engineering and Maths respectively, they needed to acquire the necessary skills to transition into a coding role.

What’s better: the traditional or non-traditional route into tech? 

There is no right or wrong answer here. Computer science degrees can give you a grounding in the fundamentals and it’s something employers do like to see. But the industry definitely needs more people from non traditional backgrounds. They solve problems in different ways as they bring different life experience to the table.  

“What we need now in tech, is more people coming in from other backgrounds, bringing different skills and approaches to solving problems.” Kam

The cost of a computer science degree versus a bootcamp is something to consider. The duration of a Bootcamp can range from 6 to 28 weeks depending on the program you choose, while the average time for a Bachelor’s degree in a tech subject is four to five years. Therefore, from a time and cost perspective, bootcamps can be attractive.

Bootcamps do not normally teach the fundamentals of computer science but are brilliant for giving you web development skills and experience. Many bootcamp grads will finish with live projects under their belts, which can in-turn offer a great talking subject when in interview.

Last year, we published an infographic answering the coding bootcamp vs computer science question. And again, it concludes – there are pros and cons for each.   

What advice do you have for people who want to learn how to code?

If you want to learn how to code, taking your first steps might seem very scary, if not intimidating. Here are some tips to help you get started…

Drawing of a woman holding the sun with Power written across
  • Think about your goal – what do you want to achieve?

Having an end goal will help give you a structure and choose the right learning path. Do you, want to work at a tech startup? Build mobile apps? Start your own business? Become a software engineer?

“My end goal? I would love to be a CTO of a social enterprise / a company doing good in the world. I want to apply my skills (and passion) in maths to make an impact on the world… and be influential so that I can make a difference to lots of people” Abbie

  • Research what coding languages are right for you

Different types of programming require different skills, so take time to choose the right language based on your strengths and career goals. Codecademy offers a handy tool that tells you what languages and courses may be suitable for you personally, based on questions you answer.  

There is now a huge variety of online courses – free or paid for. SheCanCode have put together the following ‘Top Ten’ lists to help you get started.

SheCanCode Training Resources

Check out our Tools & Resources Section for more training tools and courses

Download Bootcamp syllabuses for more information can be super useful – it gives you a feel for what is involved in the learning for the various tech career paths and coding languages.  

“If a type of learning just isn’t working for you – don’t worry.  Just try another method – there are so many out there. Find what works best for you.”Deborah

  • Practice

Reading lines of code on a screen or in a book without applying it to something tangible, can be a bit uninspiring! Check out some interactive tutorials or coding games, where you see examples in action. Watch videos about coding, there is so much content out there to help you with any coding-related topic/issue!  

Games recommendations from Hen –

“Don’t worry if you feel intimidated by the process of coding. It can be so logical that it can seem difficult. Think about how the computer needs to process the information. It’ll then seem more logical.”Sarah

Hackathons

Hackathons are a great way to see ideas come to life in very short spaces of time! The idea of going to a hackathon can be daunting for some, but like with anything, once you have done it once, you will want to do it again and again, as they can be great fun.

It is however, important, that you find the right one for you or your team!

Hackathons are great for experiencing innovation at work. They are often set up in response to a particular problem, change or crisis. They have the potential to create solutions to problems twice their size. They can bring together people from all skill sets, at all levels and can offer great benefits to those taking part. There are so many hackathons available that it would be impossible and unfair to provide a list of ones to look at, so check out our events calendar for further details and watch this space, as we will be putting together a more hackathon focused calendar very soon!

The Hack On Innovation, Hackathons, Design concept with group of people in tech gathered round computers sharing ideas

The benefits of attending a hackathon:

  1. You can get to learn new technical skills
  2. You have the chance to create something that can make a difference -from tech for social good to developing robotics. They are a great way to get exposed to areas of tech that you hadn’t necessarily thought about
  3. It’s you chance to enhance your soft skills. Hackathons are not just about programming, they are also about your idea and approach to solving the problem, the product planning, product marketing, the pitch/presentation, and so much more
  4. Meeting new people and networking – dependent on the size of hackathon you attend, whether in person or virtually you will always meet like-minded people. But as Kam says, ‘if you can go as a team, its even more fun!’
  5. Getting Inspired
  6. Having Fun

If you have any other suggestion pleases email hello@shecancode.io and we will include them in our Tools and Resources Section 

What can YOU do to HELP YOUR own CAREER development?

“Make sure you are continuously developing. If you find yourself no longer learning, it might be the right time to look for the next opportunity.”Hen

Join Groups and Communities

  • Use social media to follow, join and engage with women in tech groups around the world
  • Join SheCanCode Community, if you haven’t already!
  • Join Embolden_Her’s coffee morning network (London only and taking place virtually during Covid19)
  • Join local Slack groups – many have an events channel for you to find out what is going on near you
  • If you are a pre grad, check-out the Stemettes “Student to Stemette” mentoring scheme. They also run great events as well as hackathons.
  • Kam actually took part in this mentoring scheme and was paired with some great women in tech! Its an opportunity to learn from women who’s done all this before and can share their struggles and triumphs. She’s since stayed in touch with some of those mentors!

“When deciding what area of tech to go into, investigate what makes you hirable and valuable to employers and be open to all sorts of tech roles – you’ll soon learn what interests you and what doesn’t.” Sarah

Upskilling – What skills do you think will be in demand?

  • The world needs more people who are not only good at tech, but are great at communicating it to others!
  • If you’re commercially minded, as well as a tech focused developer – you will have a solid understanding of the business context and the bigger picture. This therefore will put you in great demand.
  • A true passion and interest for fixing real world problems. Think climate change, social good, global health. Skills, knowledge and enthusiasm in these areas will be greatly needed in the short and long term.
Dream Big, Work Hard, Make It Happen

Thank you to Embolden_her for joining us on our webinar. If you have any suggestions for any additional resources you think our community would find useful, please email hello@shecancode.io

 “Everyone in this country should learn to program a computer, because it teaches you to think.”Steve Jobs

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