This is part 2 of a two-part blog post. Check out part 1 first!
You’re 17, scared and confused that you will soon need to make the biggest decisions in your life so far and got no clue how you’ll do that?
Or 18, with all the stress of uni application deadlines, a growing family pressure, approaching graduation exams and still no real idea about what you actually want to do with your life?
Believe us, we know how you feel. We’ve been there, too, and we meet new young people everyday with the same feelings and burning questions.
Also, last year we attended a career orientation open day for high school girls. Our colleague, Bora Illes talked about the difficulty of choosing the right path for yourself and shared some insights around tech careers.
She got so many questions in the Q&A, that she didn’t have time to answer all of them. But we took notes, and now we’re back with more answers.
Just to make some things clear in the beginning:
- Some of these are really not easy questions. Your confusion is completely normal, and you’re definitely not alone.
- Also, many of these questions are not relevant for girls only. Boys ask us about these things all the time.
- And finally: there are no magic answers to all your questions. But we’ll try to answer as many as we can, to our best knowledge, and give you some tips on where to start with the rest.
So, let’s jump in!
This is Part 2 of a two-part series. In the first part, we’ve answered more generic questions, not specifically limited to tech careers. In this second part we’re answering tech related questions.
Q6: "Would you recommend tech to girls?"
Another related question we got was: “Is there really a gender pay gap?”
First, we definitely recommend tech to girls. Girls can become really good in tech, just like boys, they just tend to lack the confidence to choose this field unfortunately. There are many companies who would love to hire more girls for digital jobs if there were enough candidates.
Second, we believe that there is still a gender gap, unfortunately, but luckily it’s much smaller in tech, and other fields requiring high cognitive or technical skills. This means that although in some professions women still get a lower pay for the same work than men, this is much less visible in IT and professions going through digitalisation.
What we also know is that tech jobs usually fall in a higher than average salary range for boys and girls alike.
Q7: "Are Math and Physics grades important?"
They are, if you choose to go to a school where grades are part of the admission criteria. If you don’t, then no one ever will check those grades again.
Grades don’t always reflect your skills, much less your affinity or potential in a given field. You must have heard about successful adults who used to struggle at school. We don’t want to suggest that you should let your grades fall. We are merely suggesting that you don’t take them as indicators of your talent or future.
Also, basic coding and programming don’t require high Math or Physics skills. There are special fields, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, where these are important, but there are much more tech specialisations where you will not need these.
At Codecool, we don’t care about your grades. Our admission criteria are the following: completed maturity exam, good English (you will need to study and communicate in English at our school), analytical – logical thinking (assessed by a cool online test in the beginning), a strong drive and willingness to work hard for your goal (measured at a chat with our colleague).
Q8: "How difficult is programming? Does the job come with a big responsibility?"
Programming is not easy, but some brain-teasers, quizzes and puzzles are not either. Somewhat like learning languages, and then speaking in a foreign language you learnt – except programming languages are generally much easier to pick up than human languages. If you like such challenges, you would probably like programming, too.
You can also give it a try and see it for yourself: the first module of our 1-year course is like a trial period – you can change your mind and only lose the entry fee in turn.
There is obviously a great responsibility in becoming a programmer or any tech professional. As we mentioned before: the future looks digital, and the people building it will be today’s coders, programmers, analysts, testers and other digital professionals. There is a great responsibility involved in projects like building accessible solutions making life easier for a lot of people, or contributing to an important bio-tech innovation.
But programming is rarely a one-man show, normally it’s a whole team sharing the responsibility and success, which helps with the mental pressure.
Q9: "What does a day in a programmer's life look like? What do they do besides coding?"
On average, they spend about half a day coding, programming, solving problems, and another half with their team in meetings, doing planning, brainstorming, demoing, researching and other staff.
If they work in an agile team, in a Scrum framework, then their day probably starts with a short meeting, called “stand-up”, where they “check-in”, discuss what they will work on during the day and raise any issue that they need help with. Then they get back to their work and spend the day with their tasks solving problems alone and discussing ideas in the team. Then there are days in every few weeks when they present their work, reflect on the previous weeks and plan the next weeks work (the next sprint). They normally collaborate with a lot of different departments and colleagues to make sure the project and their part in it will be successful.
But let’s not forget that after learning coding and programming, you don’t necessarily have to become a coder or programmer. There are more and more jobs today that require tech skills, but are not about building apps or systems directly, like business analysis, IT project management, testing and quality assurance, and many other.
Q10: "How do you start educating yourself?"
In fact, even at Codecool we expect our students to their own research and study. We recommend that you try some free coding courses online before you start at our school. And even after you started, our mentors won’t present stuff you can read or watch yourself. They guide you and your team through projects applying the things you studied to solve actual problems. This way you learn to educate and up-skill yourself, and put theory to practice. Invaluable skills in preparing for an unpredictable future and a digital career.
As you can see, choosing your future career is still not easy, but it’s also not impossible to make a well-informed decision. And now you probably have a better idea where to look for more support or information.
For one, we are always here.
We don’t want to talk you into becoming a programmer – not everyone has to be one. Our most popular course comes with a job guarantee. So we select only the strong applicants to make sure we can help them get a cool job at one of our clients in the end. You fail, we fail. So we make sure that you will succeed instead.
We can help you find out whether programming could be a good career choice for you or not, quite quickly and easily. You first need to briefly summarise what is your motivation, then talk to our colleague, and finally complete a quick little logic test. Afterwards you’ll have a pretty good idea whether or not you should jump in programming.
What’s more, you can also try it out yourself. In the first 10 weeks of the course you can still change your mind anytime. So there is really not much risk in trying, you can only learn from the experience.
If not, we still hope this helped.
Take care and enjoy the ride!