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Finding your Career Path in Tech – Lifetime Learning

The tech industry has evolved over the last 12 years since starting this blog. Techniques have changed and so have the software and infrastructure behind them. Moving at this fast pace can be daunting to anyone new in the development field. Finding the right career path can be a challenge. One that can be equally rewarding!

Introduction

Getting started in the tech industry can be overwhelming. Finding your niche can be cumbersome at times. It all depends on your determination, commitment and the current skills you have. If you enjoy problem-solving then coding could be a viable option. You may have also started learning in lockdown and want to know more.

If writing is your thing then blogging might be another option. If you are a keen dabbler, like me, try a few things out and see what you enjoy. One thing it should never be is a chore. If you get fed up you should try again in a few years. Never say never is my motto!

Your Career Path, Your Choice

In 1999, the internet was still in its infancy and your choices were few and far between.  A typical tech career path could be a programmer, a web/print designer or scientific data analysis.  You could also be in the design and manufacturing of computers. These jobs still exist today but the web industry has changed significantly.

A web designer who developed web sites using HTML and CSS has now evolved into a role that can comprise of front-end development and/or UX/UI designer. Furthermore, back-end development and full-stack are also buzzwords in today’s era. Gone is the day of having a webmaster!

Paths To Learning

Internet speeds have become faster pathing a way to use more web-based services such as Microsoft 365 or Adobe Creative cloud. This opened up lots of jobs for software engineers. Adding to this the development of NodeJS server and JavaScript frameworks such as React, Vue and Angular.  JavaScript jobs are in high demand.

Nobody can guide you down your career path. You have decisions to make and only you can make them.

If you want a career path in coding then do you choose to learn Python, JavaScript, Java, PHP, Ruby, Swift, C# or the mighty C++. There are so many to choose from that I haven’t even mentioned!

In a nutshell, learning the principles of coding first can help you decide. Not all languages are the same but if you learn the principles to start with then you are halfway there. With determination, perseverance and an open mind, you will find the right path. JavaScript and Python are the most popular in-demand languages right now. It would make more sense to learn something that’s current.

Learning – Self-Teach or Courses

There are pros and cons to both of these. I studied Java in 2003. I paid for the course as there was very little video content on the web back then. If I had known that I could buy a course for £20, 17 years later and learn more I would have banked the money. I completed the course knowing that at the end I didn’t want to be a Java developer.

Since then I have learned far more at my own pace. Yet paying for a private course wasn’t in vain. I did learn the concepts of coding which further helped me to understand other languages. Would I without it? Who knows. The downside to courses is that a year-old course can become out-of-date.

In hindsight, the Java course I studied came on floppy disks and used an older version of Java. It also covered web design using Microsoft FrontPage. Enough said!

Modern technology and content authors update their content so it stays current. There is also plenty of free tutorials and videos that can help guide you. You don’t need a lot of money or a powerful machine to learn.

Further Resources

Important tips for a self-taught developer

Career Path

Meeting People on your Career Path

Outside of my job working in a school and my desire to learn I am quite social. I meet up with friends, have drinks, meals and engage in many a conversation. But, they don’t share the same interests as me so I choose not to talk about my online adventures. I don’t want to bore them nor am I one for “Blowing my own trumpet”.

This leads to being an anti-social butterfly online. Is it a case that I am antisocial or I don’t have the time to engage in conversation? Could it be that I’m old school and like face-to-face interaction better? I can answer questions through my blog or Github Profile when they arise.

I would like to meet more people through attending a conference or by joining a local group. With Twitter, YouTube and Facebook it is easier to connect with like-minded people. I joined the Indie Hackers community to look for inspiration on a side project and to meet more people.

Meeting people will open up more avenues which can forge your career path even quicker. You should take every opportunity to mingle with experienced people when young.  You might get where you want much quicker as a result.

Conclusion

The direction you choose to find your career path is your choice. With dedication and a willingness to learn you can have a good career in the world of tech. Always remember to develop your social skills with it!

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