Question about career change into software development

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Topic Author
MDfan
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Question about career change into software development

Post by MDfan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:41 pm

It seems like there are a lot of people working in the IT/computer field on here so I thought I'd ask for some advice. My son graduated a year and a half ago with a degree in finance and has been working for a bank since then. He is not happy, has a real interest in computers (has been taking some online coding classes) and has been talking about switching careers and pursuing an education in computer science (specifically, software development/engineering). He has no college background in computer science but is a really bright kid and I don't doubt he could successfully make such a transition.

My question is, if he decides this is something he wants to pursue (and I am encouraging him to pursue what he likes now while he's 23 and has no commitments), what is his best path forward? He has mentioned some intensive 3-6 month coding bootcamps (looks like the cost of these are around $15-20k), but he said he has read a lot of negatives about them and that they might not be the best path for someone like him with little computer science background. Or should he go the traditional route and go back to school to pursue a traditional computer science degree which would likely take him another 1.5 - 2 years?

For those of you in the field, what should his next steps be? What is the job market like in software development and what type of education should he be looking for? Is there another computer-related field he should be looking at instead? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Staying the Course
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by Staying the Course » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:53 pm

I would look into Lambda School. It differs from coding boot camps in some key ways, but primarily in that their incentives are actually aligned with student outcomes.

CascadiaSoonish
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by CascadiaSoonish » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:53 pm

I own a small tech business. In my area the conventional wisdom is that code school graduates are flooding the market, and maybe a third of them are really ready to join the industry. If I were advising my son, I'd suggest sticking with the current job for a bit and building up a professional history (paying his dues) while finding a way to build up some development skills. Plenty of part-time programs exist for this purpose, and his current employer might be happy to pay for them. I might suggest taking a couple intensive Python classes, for example, and then finding a couple relevant open-source projects on Github to get started. The industry doesn't care about credentials much, it cares about code skills, and an active high-level Github profile is much much more marketable than a code school cert.

I know a talented developer who started out in financial services and worked his way up the tech side in that industry, then moved out of finance IT. It's worked out well for him, the skills he developed in the financial industry were in demand for things like machine learning and devops.

stan1
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by stan1 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:58 pm

Does he work at a retail bank branch in a job such as a teller or a customer service rep or does he work in the bank back office? If he's in the back office there will be many more technical software related jobs and if he's proven to be a good worker his manager will usually help him transition into something else. Many software programmers get their start that way. If he enjoys it he might pursue an advanced degree or a second masters.

Topic Author
MDfan
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by MDfan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:07 pm

stan1 wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:58 pm
Does he work at a retail bank branch in a job such as a teller or a customer service rep or does he work in the bank back office? If he's in the back office there will be many more technical software related jobs and if he's proven to be a good worker his manager will usually help him transition into something else. Many software programmers get their start that way. If he enjoys it he might pursue an advanced degree or a second masters.
He's actually a Securities Analyst so not retail.

carofe
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by carofe » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:08 pm

CascadiaSoonish wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 2:53 pm
I own a small tech business. In my area the conventional wisdom is that code school graduates are flooding the market, and maybe a third of them are really ready to join the industry.
I agree with this as well. The boot camps are flooding the market. If he really wants to be marketable and have a decent salary in the coming decade I recommend he does bachelor degree + master degree in Computer Sciences.

I'm a Principal Software Engineer and I do SE interviews at my Company. The people with Bachelor and a general Master Degrees in Computer Sciences are by far the best performing in the interview and at work and the ones getting the jobs when they apply. This has also been the observation of my managers.

That being said, most boot camps target User Interface development, which tend to be more artistic and less demanding regarding math skills, and the people I interview are mainly for more backend/infrastructure development, where computational challenges are more frequent.
US Total Stock Market + Intermediate Term Bond. That's it.

Topic Author
MDfan
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by MDfan » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:12 pm

Thanks so much for the responses.

Conch55
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by Conch55 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:16 pm

Anything related to cyber security is big these days. I started as programmer but transitioned into systems administration and general network security responsibilities. While I went the traditional route with a BS in computer science many of my coworkers pursued certifications from Cisco, Oracle, Microsoft, etc. with good results. Some had college degrees but some did not. Since your son has a degree maybe something more focused on the systems side, with appropriate certifications, rather than software development might be of interest. Systems work often involves scripting which satisfied my interest in programming.

il0kin
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by il0kin » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:25 pm

He'll want a BS in Computer Science/Engineering. The bootcamps might get you in the door for low-level work but most F500 type companies are going the route of BS or equivalent experience, with preferred candidates having a BS and MS, especially if he wants to move into leadership in the future. 1.5-2 years will be time and money well spent. The salaries are good (but explain that Silicon Valley is the outlier) and a software dev at F500 or big regional business is still going to start at 70-80k and will progress to 90-110k within 5 years and from there, there is certainly growth potential on up to 150k depending on specializations, responsibilities, experience etc. Pretty similar to engineering, really.

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cruzbay
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Re: Question about career change into software development

Post by cruzbay » Fri Feb 22, 2019 5:12 pm

Technical Recruiter here. Over half the open positions on my desk are data-focused. Data Analyst, Data Scientist (advanced degree required for those and a healthy supply of new grads currently although many requiring visa sponsorship) all the way up to Chief Data Officer. As far as the industry specialty, I am seeing opportunities in finance and healthcare mostly. So, good that he has the finance experience. I am not certain of the duties of a Securities Analyst, but I would think that it would lend itself to a data concentration. If he doesn't want to jump back into school full time, maybe he could do as much data-related work as possible in his current position and take classes (towards a related degree) as part of his benefits program.

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