Skip to Main Content

Lock down, skill up: how to career-hop into tech

Posted by Luke Proctor on 26th January 2021

Gosh, it’s another lockdown blog! Well, no apologies for being topical, even if we’re all sick to death of hearing about it. Let’s zoom in on one positive of our present strangeness: having the room to pause, plan and reflect.

What do I mean by that? Scattered among interminable Zoom quizzes, the vastness of Netflix, aborted home workouts and a lingering sense of existential dread there is hope. It’s found in the quiet moments afforded us by the dramatic reduction in, well, things to do.

In those moments, many people have been pondering whether they’re really satisfied in their current career. Are they fulfilled? Are they valued? Do they want more? Indeed, The Evening Standard reported in June that more than a quarter of people were considering changes to relationships, career or home after UK lockdown. Big decisions are being made and they’re being made right now.

Tech needs you! 

Having the mental space to pause, plan and reflect is a profound thing, but it can also be a daunting prospect. The daily headlines are dripping with grim economic forecasts, so career change might seem hopeless. Fear not; there is a vibrant technology sector just waiting for you, with a lower barrier to entry than you might think.

The demand for skills in areas such as software development, programming and data science has been rising for years and is showing no signs of slowing down. These are the kinds of skills that allow certain jobs in certain industries to defy gravity and beat the economic slump of lockdown.

A lack of qualifications or experience needn’t be the barriers that they once were either — now they are more like hurdles, to be gracefully leapt over as ‘Chariots of Fire’ plays in the foreground. There are many paths into the tech sector that don’t involve going back to university, moving in with your parents, or other such decisions that whiff of midlife crisis. You can in fact quickly retrain and reap the rewards by using your time wisely.

Enter the bootcamp

Educational bootcamps! Not as scary as they sound. The premise is simple: maximum learning in minimum time. You can gain the skills you need for an exciting new career in as little as nine weeks for a full-time intensive course.

Bootcamps have become increasingly fashionable for good reasons, as people opt in for their relentless focus on employability and hard skills. It’s all about value for money and, perhaps more importantly, value for time. Three or four years studying a degree in computer science versus three or four months in bootcamp; it’s arguably like choosing a night bus over a supercar, to arrive at the same destination.

The availability and variety of bootcamps has exploded in the last few years, with the government backing the concept in a bid to expand ‘lifelong learning’. The vast majority are focused on tech skills such as web development and data science, as with our client Le Wagon, whose 9-week courses are some of the most intensive around.

The fierce competition among bootcamps means that consumers are in a great position to be discerning to find a course that’s right for them. They’re too numerous to list here, but suffice to say that Google search is a good starting point.

As well as premium bootcamp offerings like Le Wagon, who are world leaders thanks to their unique focus on an innovative curriculum, there are providers taking cost concerns out of the equation. The 13-week course offered by software engineering school Futureproof won’t cost you a thing, but you will have to pass their demanding admissions process to be accepted.

For those who’ve spent lockdown wondering if there’s a career in tech for them, bootcamps may very well be the key to success.

Luke Proctor