In May 2013 I was lucky enough to go on a study tour to Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the world, located around one hour south of San Francisco, with Commonwealth Bank’s WomeninFocus.com.au network. Over a two- week period, I visited 11 top-tech companies, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Cisco, IBM and Eventbrite — to name a few — and also met with some highly successful internet entrepreneurs for coffees and drinks. Talk about inspiring!
Over there, I saw, first hand, the incredible demand for what the Americans call ‘software engineers’ or ‘computer scientists’, but which Australians generally refer to as ‘developers’, ‘programmers’ or ‘coders’ (or which countries globally refer to in a more colloquial sense as ‘code monkeys’ or ‘geeks’!)
Basically, computer programmers write computer software, or code, that tells computers what to do and in what order. There are a bunch of code languages that coders may work with. Some may know multiple languages, while others may stick to just the one, depending on their line of work. Languages in common use today (however, note that this is liable to change) include Java, C Language, C++, C#, ASP.NET, AJAX, Perl, XML, SQL, PHP, Python (which powers some of the most popular websites in the world, like Instagram. com, Pinterest.com, and Rdio.com through its associated web framework: Django), Ruby (which powers the Ruby on Rails framework, which is used on popular websites like Yammer, Scribd, Github, Groupon, and Shopify), and various versions of HTML and CSS (cascading style sheets).
In the States, it is estimated there will be a demand for 1.4 million programming jobs over the next decade, but current projections estimate that there will only be 400,000 graduates in the field.
In Silicon Valley, I saw many of the fast growing tech companies placing massive white boards of jobs they were seeking to fill in highly visible locations at their premises, not to mention their websites. Because of the skills shortage, fast growth, and competitive environments, the companies are operating in there; most were offering incentives such as $5000 cold hard cash for current employees to refer new successful candidates.
It’s not surprising though if you stop and think about it. Today technology touches every part of our lives. If you can create technology, you can change the world. If you’d like to see your child stop wasting time on their phones/computers and do something useful on it instead, get them into coding because there are enormous opportunities, not just in America but globally!
The average developer gets four to five job offers in their career, and these bids frequently lead to high salaries.
Code Fellows, a digital trade school in Seattle, offers students a money-back guarantee that they’ll receive a $60,000 salary offer on graduation. Starting in December 2013, the school upped that guarantee to a $100,000 salary or higher for experienced ‘top applicants’.
The morning will be spent learning the languages and the afternoon will be spent applying your newly learnt skills through practical applications on existing websites and in emarketing systems to embed your knowledge. Hopefully these will be rolled out in other locations soon!