Coding is an in-demand skill used in almost every industry. Whether you envision a career as a programmer, a game developer or a data scientist, it all starts with code.

To help you envision what your trajectory might look like after you conquer HTML, CSS and everything in between, we’ve outlined some common career paths for motivated coders. We’ll look at some popular coding specializations, the salaries you can expect to earn, and the must-have skills that will get you hired.

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Top 5 Coding Careers

As you probably know by now, the answer to "what does a coder do" varies widely by industry. If you learn how to code, you’ll open the door to a wide choice of careers.

So here are some of the most popular coding positions available:

Computer Programmer

Programmers create software that performs useful tasks. They have to ensure their code is bug-free and meets client expectations.

Programmers usually work in large teams and are required to not only write code, but read and update existing code.

According to The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a computer programmer is $82,280.

Computer programmers are masters of Java, C#, C++, and Python.

Web Developer

Both front-end and back-end web development roles require coding skills.

Front-end developers are responsible for anything the user can see or interact with. This includes images, layouts, buttons, menus, content, and the entire look and feel of the site.

Back-end developers write code to implement site functionality. They’re responsible for managing databases, writing server-side code, the architecture of the system, and the server configuration.

In 2019, the average salary of a web developer was $73,760.

As a web developer, you’re expected to know basic languages like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Knowledge of languages such as Python, C#, Java, and SQL are also useful.

Mobile App Developer

A mobile app developer is responsible for creating apps that run on smartphones and tablets.

This branch of development faces unique challenges. App developers need to provide the same user experience across multiple devices. Apps must work well on small screens without relying on a keyboard for user input.

A growing number of users prefer using mobile devices to desktop PCs. This has caused the demand for mobile developers to skyrocket in recent years.

The average salary of a mobile developer is reported to be $110,669.

Mobile app developers need to possess knowledge of objective C which is used traditionally to create iOS apps. Another commonly used programming language is Swift. For android devices, they must also have a working knowledge of Java.

Data Scientist

Data science is one of the most trending fields in tech.

Organizations collect huge volumes of consumer information and need data scientists to organize and analyze this data. The main responsibility of a data scientist is to look for patterns and find useful conclusions. These conclusions can be used to make informed business decisions to improve products and gain an advantage over the competition.

The average salary of an entry-level data scientist is an impressive $104,000, and it only goes up from there.

The two programming languages essential for data science are Python and R. The most in-demand skills include SQL, Spark, Cloud, Amazon Web Services, JavaTensorFlow, Hadoop, and SAS.

Game Developer

This is a competitive field, but a dream career for those who enjoy gaming. Game developers use coding to transform ideas, drawings, and mechanics into engaging video games.

It might already sound too good to be true, but you can top it off with a comfortable salary too. According to Glassdoor, the average salary for coders who specialize in game development is $101,932.

Game developers need to know programming languages such as C, C++, Java, and C#. They’re also experts in frameworks like DirectX, OpenGL, Unity3D, and WebGL.

For developing mobile games, knowledge of Swift is needed for iOS and Java for Android games.

A Typical Coding Career Path

So you've learned HTML, gone through the painstaking process of troubleshooting and fixing your first noble website attempts, and you actually loved it. Your mind is made up: you're ready to become a coder.

One of the best aspects of this field is that you have almost unlimited growth potential.

We've outlined the most common steps in a coder's career journey, from first job to leadership.

Junior Developer: The primary role of a junior developer is to build quality, bug-free software that meets client expectations. You’ll use your knowledge of programming languages, algorithms, and databases.

As this is an entry-level position, you’ll spend a significant amount of time developing your coding skills. You may find coding certain applications a challenge but this is your opportunity to learn the software development lifecycle.

  1. Senior Developer: After gaining three to four years of experience, you’ll now be proficient in writing complex software applications. You’ll have also gained more in-depth knowledge of databases and algorithms. Now you’re fully aware of the complexity of the entire software/application lifecycle.
  2. Lead Architect: A lead architect is responsible for designing the entire software system. You’ll oversee the day-to-day coding which is implemented by a team of junior developers. The technical skills gained with years of experience as a junior and senior developer help you take on the lead architect role.
  3. Mid-Level Manager: The traditional way to move ahead in your career is to become a manager. Typical managerial roles include a product manager, developer manager, or a project manager. If you’re someone with strong leadership skills and can drive a team forwards, then this is the job for you.
  4. Senior Leader: As you go further up the career ladder, your job will involve less coding. You’ll take on a role where you’ll be heading a team of mid-level managers. Your job is to motivate and inspire your team towards achieving company goals.

Responsibilities of a Coder

Here’s a list of job responsibilities that a coder typically takes on:

Coding is the Skill of the Future

If you had to pick one skill to boost your chances of landing a tech job, it has to be coding. In today’s digital world we’re surrounded by software. It’s become an essential part of our everyday lives. From smartphones to washing machines, computer applications are here to stay.

Learning how to code and understand programming languages can help you stand out from the crowd. Even in non-technical roles, coding can help you communicate with programmers and relate to their problems.

How to Learn Coding

Despite what many people think, coding isn’t difficult to learn. There are several free websites and online tutorials that can teach you. While some may find this approach useful, others can be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available. Most free resources are unstructured and out-of-date, which can make this form of learning a challenge.

Another way to learn is to earn a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or a related subject. Degrees are the traditional approach used by many students and will provide you with a solid foundation. They take up to 4 years to complete and can cost up to $140,000 in tuition fees.

If you don’t have time for a degree, you might want to consider a coding bootcamp. These specially designed online programs teach you everything you need to kickstart your programming career. Enroll in our web development bootcamp to benefit from one-on-one mentoring as you follow our laser-focused curriculum. It’s perfect for complete beginners with no previous technical experience. Our coaches will help you fast-track your way to a well-paid job at a top tech firm.

To continue your research and learn more about this new study approach, read our post on how to choose a coding bootcamp. You can also follow our tech blog for similar articles on coding careers.

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