Making a career shift can be risky — especially when you have a family to help support. But training for roles in the tech industry can provide a pathway for career-switchers to join a growing and lucrative field.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that computer and information technology jobs overall will increase by 11% between 2019 and 2029. Software developer jobs in particular are projected to grow by 22% during that period, according to BLS data.
The BLS also reports that computer and information technology positions paid a median annual salary of $91,250 in 2020. Jobs such as computer and information research scientists, computer network architects, and computer programmers paid median annual wages of $89,190-$126,830 that year — much higher than the median annual wage for all occupations.
Coding bootcamps provide the chance for individuals to learn new tech skills within months, preparing them to pursue a career change or advancement. Students can opt for part-time or full-time bootcamps, and can find online bootcamps or programs that operate in person.
As Dane Hale — father of three and veteran software developer — discovered: learning to code can definitely be a full-time commitment, but it can also lead to more career flexibility and a better balance between work and family life.
Meet a Dad Who Codes
It took a major life change for Hale to leave a seven-year career at a medical company. When his first child was six months old, Hale quit his job.
"I had a very hard time enjoying even the first few months of his life, which showed me things needed to change," Hale says. "That push for a new career is what led me to software development."
Hale enrolled in a full-time bootcamp at Nashville Software School. After six months' training in software development Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Hale landed a junior software developer position.
The Nashville Software School Bootcamp Experience
Nashville Software School has helped train future software developers in Nashville since 2012. Students can learn software development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and data science with curricula influenced by feedback from Nashville employers.
The career development team also prepares students for the hiring process through mock interviews and resume development.
Over 1,450 alumni, including Hale, have graduated from Nashville Software School. Hale enrolled soon after the bootcamp launched. The project-based bootcamp challenges students to put their skills into practice. "They did a great job introducing me to concepts in software development and having projects to prove I knew those concepts," Hale says.
Part of the bootcamp includes career support services, where software developers teach and advise students, Hale explains. The career development team also prepares students for the hiring process through mock interviews and resume development.
"That prepared me to take on Nashville and put what I learned from those lectures to use across the city," he says. Graduates of Nashville Software School have launched careers at companies like AllianceBernstein, Aspire Health, Eventbrite, and FortyAU.
Life After Nashville Software School
A month after graduating from Nashville Software School, Hale started his first software development position. It has been eight and a half years since Hale made his career shift.
The father of three co-founded Twin Sun, a software development company. During his tech career, Hale has worked with database technologies, front-end languages, and mobile development languages such as Kotlin, Java, and Swift.
Hale cherishes the flexibility his career affords. "I now have three kids and I have been able to enjoy every moment with them. Being a software developer allows me to prioritize certain times of day to make sure I'm available for them and not distracted during those times." Although he works some unconventional hours, it's worth it, Hale says.
Insight From a Dad Who Codes
Bootcamps require a major time commitment, whether you enroll part time or full time. Nashville Software School's bootcamp takes 3-12 months to complete. Hale, who spent six months learning to code, says the journey was worthwhile — and more attainable than one might think.
Bootcamps require a major time commitment, whether you enroll part time or full time.
"It was a very hard and rewarding journey getting into software development and growing in this industry," he says. "If you have any passion around software development at all — even if it's just being curious about it — and you are miserable at your job, take a leap of faith and jump in."
Nashville Software School makes tech training more accessible by offering bootcamp loans through Ascent and Climb Credit. Students can also enroll in payment plans or use their GI Bill® benefits. The Nashville Opportunity Tuition plan also lets students defer their tuition until they find a job. Bootcamps at Nashville Software School typically cost $7,500-$12,500, which is less expensive than the average cost of a bootcamp (around $13,500).
Frequently Asked Questions About Life After a Coding Bootcamp
- What sort of jobs will I be qualified for after a coding bootcamp?
Completing a coding bootcamp can qualify graduates for jobs as full-stack web developers, front-end web developers, junior developers, data analysts, and other entry-level tech jobs.
- How long will it take to land a job after a coding bootcamp?
It depends. While many bootcamps offer job support and networking services, finding a job is usually not guaranteed. According to the Council on Integrity in Results Reporting, the average percentage of bootcamp graduates employed in the field 180 days after graduation was around 79%, based on data reported by 46 coding bootcamps between January and June 2019.
- How much money will I make after graduating from a coding bootcamp?
Bootcamp graduates may eventually enjoy six-figure salaries, though the salary potential for coding jobs depends on many factors, including a worker's experience level, education, specialization, and location. Most software developers made an annual salary of $65,210-$170,100 in 2020, according to the BLS.
GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at https://benefits.va.gov/gibill/index.asp.