Choosing a career can be a daunting prospect. Not only are you faced with picking a role for years to come, but you also need to make this decision based on limited experience. You’ve probably never worked in some of the roles you’re considering, so you have no idea if they’re right for you.

You also have the added pressure of committing a significant amount of time  and money into learning your trade. Get it wrong and you risk losing  your investment.

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Most people don’t have their whole career planned out from the very beginning. Understand that you can always change direction down the line. And despite popular opinion, you can get started in many top careers without racking up huge tuition fees to pursue a degree.

Which Tech Career is Right for You?

Ready to change your career and join the world’s next workforce? At Thinkful, we’ve got your back with various tech programs to get you equipped with in-demand skills.

What to Consider When Choosing a Career

Let’s start by looking at some key questions you need to ask yourself when choosing your career direction.

1. What Interests You?

It’s always a good idea to follow your heart rather than end up at a job that feels like drudgery for the rest of your professional life. Think about what excites you. Consider the times in your life where you’ve been most motivated and passionate about something. If computers are what thrills you or if you love coding, think of becoming a software engineer. If it’s design and aesthetics that intrigue you, look for courses in web design or product design. If you possess a love for tools and building and repairing things, consider a career in mechanical or aerospace engineering.

The bottom line is that choosing your profession according to your interests and passion is crucial.

2. What Type of Personality Do You Have?

We all have different characteristics, traits, natural strengths and weaknesses. Choosing a career that’s suited to your individual personality is a smart move.

From education to employment, choosing a field that suits your personality will make your whole career progression feel more natural. Extroverts, for example, are highly social and enjoy interacting with people. A job in sales  development, project management, or program management would be perfect if you’re an outgoing, strong communicator. Presentations and client meetings will feel effortless and can in fact boost your motivation and drive.

Introverts, on the other hand, are excellent at working independently and focusing on complex tasks.  Careers in web development, data science, or data engineering would be a great fit. You’ll have no problem working alone for long periods and taking great pride in delivering excellent results.

We  recommend doing some research on personality types. Take an online personality test to really discover what makes you tick.

3. What Skills Do You Have?

You’ve probably already made some choices in terms of high school and college education. You may even have some previous work experience. Over the years you'll have gained both technical hard skills and transferrable soft skills. These should be considered when choosing your next career step.

Most jobs require a certain level of education or knowledge of specific subjects. If you’re lacking the necessary experience, consider enrolling in a bootcamp to level-up your skillset. Bootcamps are more intensive, more affordable, and more up-to-date than expensive college degrees. Considering many entry-level positions don’t actually require a degree, bootcamps are becoming a popular choice.

We offer a range of online tech bootcamps that are laser-focused on teaching you career-ready skills. Our programs include software engineering, UX/UI design, data science, and project management. Each course has been put together by leading professionals in the field who are dedicated to helping you land your dream job.

7 Stable, High Income Career Paths

Let’s take a look at some promising job roles, what they're about, and what kind of candidates fit the profile.

1. Data Scientist

Data science is one of the top ten technology careers to choose from globally. You can expect an impressive salary of around $123,000 on average. Even entry-level positions can attract $100,000 per year.

The field deals with extracting, collecting, refining, and structuring data streaming in through millions of online applications. You’ll be responsible for running complex machine learning algorithms to gain insights into customer usage, browsing habits, and what ads should be shown for maximum performance.

The basic requirements are knowledge of probability and statistics, a background in mathematics, expertise in languages like Python and R, and a strong background in machine learning.

This is an emerging field and job opportunities are growing fast. Some of the top employers are Amazon, IBM, Netflix, Uber, Google, Cisco, and Walmart.

2. Web Developer

If  you have a passion for coding and problem-solving, a future in web  development awaits. There are two main fields to choose from: front-end and back-end development.

Front-end developers deal with anything the user can see or interact with. You’ll need to be skilled in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. You should also have a good understanding of UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) design.

Back-end developers focus on the functional aspects of the site. You'll need expertise in PHP, Python, Ruby, SQL, and database design.

But that's just the beginning. There are a host of other important differences between front-end and back-end developers. So do some digging before narrowing down your options.

Either way, you'll bring home a nice paycheck. Both front-end and back-end developers are in high demand, with average salaries of $78,000 a year. With a few years of experience, you can easily earn in excess of $100,000 per year.

3. DevOps Engineer

DevOps stands for software development and IT operations and acts as a link between coding and engineering. DevOps engineers help develop and improve various IT systems across an organization. You’ll need skills in system administration, networking, deployment and integration, and knowledge of coding languages like PHP, Ruby, or JavaScript. You can expect to earn around $115,000 annually. This can rise to $155,000 depending on your experience and location.

4. Network Engineer

With an increasing number of organizations shifting to cloud-based infrastructures like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud for storing and handling data, opportunities for cloud engineers, administrators, and architects are on the rise. They're tasked with the design, development, implementation, and maintenance of network and cloud services, as well as the design and upgrade of cloud architecture.  

The average salaries lie around $120,000 to $150,000 depending on the job role, skills, experience level, and organization. Certifications on cloud technology like Cisco CCNA, CCNP or CCIE, or through Azure and Google, can provide incredible value to your portfolio.

5. Cyber Security Analyst

The internet has made the world a more convenient, yet more vulnerable place. With increasing amounts of data being stored  online, threats of ransomware causing financial fraud, stealing  top-secret government files or military codes, or accessing personal  information via malicious hacks are rising alarmingly.  Both  government and private organizations have realized the importance of  having their systems secured against such attacks, and the demand for  cybersecurity professionals is on the rise.

Cybersecurity professionals could be involved in ethical hacking, training employees on how to respond to phishing emails or dangerous links, or be involved in setting up business continuity plans for a threat scenario.  A background in software engineering and IT is a must for most organizations hiring cybersecurity experts. Additionally, you should be adept in cyber-risks, network protocols, firewall administration, and encryption technologies.

Don't worry, you'll be paid for all that knowledge. The average income for cybersecurity professionals is $134,000.

6. Project Manager

This role is the perfect mix of technological understanding, leadership, and organizational abilities. Project managers are in high demand  across various industries and sectors, and the exact job profile varies accordingly.

On a broad level, project managers are tasked with developing a project from start to finish, which includes monitoring cost, time, quality, and scope. They collaborate with project teams, vendors, suppliers, and higher management, identifying probable risks and mitigating them. They track the projected trajectory with small milestones, and if successful, they ultimately close the project successfully with the expected quality and within the stipulated timelines.  

One of the best things about this role is that it’s not only centered around IT and software. While you see a lot of IT professionals gravitating towards the role after a few years of  experience as a developer or analyst, candidates from mechanical or  electrical backgrounds can easily become project managers for their field too.

It’s advantageous but not always required to have a bachelor’s degree. You’ll also need several years of experience working in your chosen field, or certifications like CompTIA+ or CAPM or PMP. There are some certifications for entry-level candidates as well.

The average national salary for a PM hovers around $85,000 a year, which varies depending upon experience, seniority, industry, certifications, and geographical location. According to a report by the PMI (Project Management Institute), a non-PMP certified PM earns about $100,247 per year, while a PMP certified PM earns around $123,314 per annum on average.

7. UX/UI Designer

Careers in web design and UX/UI (user experience/user interface) design are comparatively less technical and more flexible in terms of requirements.  Both web design and UX/UI design are popular career choices for candidates with a passion for building beautiful, functional solutions. The good news is, there’s considerable demand predicted for these roles.

The salary packages are also handsome, ranging from $65,000 to well over $100,000 depending upon your skills, experience, and geographical location.

Narrowing Down Your Options

There are plenty of opportunities and job roles available in different domains. We urge you to select one that’s suited to your area of interest, your educational background, financial expectations, and most importantly, an avenue that has considerable growth opportunities in the future. You may not have a clear path right off the bat, but after some  research and conversations with people already in the field, you’ll  narrow down your options until the right one develops.  

Regardless of the career you choose, we’d like to reiterate the importance of learning and keeping yourself adaptable to evolving technology and trends. Online bootcamps are an ideal way to upgrade your skills and boost your chances of landing your dream job.  

To learn more about our education programs or for help evaluating your career choices, feel free to reach out to our admissions team.

You might also be interested in our tech careers blog, where you'll find more insightful articles on choosing a career that’s right for you.

Which Tech Career is Right for You?

Ready to change your career and join the world’s next workforce? At Thinkful, we’ve got your back with various tech programs to get you equipped with in-demand skills.

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