The year 2020 will not be forgotten soon. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced millions around the world to quarantine and stay at home. Many have suddenly found themselves working remotely, away from the once productive hives of offices that hummed with the sounds of typing, printers and phones.

Covid-19 Opportunities

Those able to work remotely were the lucky ones. Millions more ended up furloughed or laid off altogether. If you are one of the many who have lost their job, know that you are not alone. Also, realize that this may be a golden opportunity. This handbook can serve as a great place to start.

In today’s tech-heavy, Internet-centric world, learning a new skill set has never been easier. Now is the perfect time to learn coding, a skill that can open up endless opportunities in the booming tech industry. 

Earning a computer science or information technology degree at a university or community college is no longer a requirement to break into the tech industry. Instead, many are choosing to learn tech skills by attending short-term, intensive programs called coding bootcamps.

A coding bootcamp can teach you the programming skills you need to become a tech professional in less than a year. In fact, many bootcamp students finish their program in as little as ten weeks. These programs come in many formats, including online and self-paced courses.

Many of the schools that host bootcamps, such as Galvanize, also offer flexible tuition payment schemes like deferred tuition payments and income-sharing agreements that allow the student to complete the course and delay payment until they land a job in the industry.

Now that you know where and how to learn some new skills to help you transition into a career in the tech industry, let’s take a closer look at one the biggest tech sectors: software engineering.

Software Engineering

The tech professionals responsible for designing, building and maintaining the software that powers our lives are known as Software Engineers. These professional programmers build word processors, spreadsheet-based programs, accounting tools, social media pages and search engines, among many other applications.

Security Engineers build programs that protect our data. They build malware protection and encryption software that protects our documents from unauthorized third-party access. Quality Assurance Engineers test and maintain the software that we rely on every day by identifying any potential bugs and glitches and fixing them. Software Engineers primarily use the programming languages C++, Java and Python. 

Embedded Systems Engineering

The software that powers the machines we use almost every day but probably never think about—like ATMs and self-checkout kiosks—are built by Embedded Systems Engineers. This is highly technical, standalone software built specifically for the machines that it powers. If you have ever spent time working in the restaurant industry, you have most likely used a point-of-sale (POS) computer, which also runs on Embedded Systems Software.

Job Outlook

Software Engineering is one of the fastest-growing fields in the tech industry, with expected job growth of 21 percent by 2028. These professionals earn handsome salaries. The national average salary for entry-level engineers is $50,000 a year. Experienced engineers can earn around $98,000.