THE BLOG
11/25/2014 12:19 pm ET Updated Jan 25, 2015

The World Is Being Rebuilt in Code and Opportunity Abounds

By 2020 it's estimated that there will be one million open jobs for software developers in the U.S. alone. This number factors in the rapid growth of the IT field outside of pure software companies as data plays an increasingly critical role in traditional industries, and also as baby boomers holding IT jobs are set to retire in droves.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the median annual salary for a software developer in 2012 was $93,350 so projecting forward, by 2020 that's approximately $100 billion in payroll nationally projected to go unfilled. We have a crisis in the making because these jobs traditionally generate greater disposable income, have a powerful multiplier effect in terms of new jobs that get created, and when filled, offer significant tax revenue opportunities to local, regional and federal government. It's a big problem, and while government and industry wring their hands about what to do about the shortage, and higher education moves at the pace of well, higher education in search of a solution, a new class of educator has emerged to solve the problem.

Founded by practitioners, frustrated by a lack of talent, the questionable value of a college degree and increasing levels of poaching between companies, and believing that a better way had to exist; the modern coding bootcamp has emerged as a promising solution to the problem.

It is estimated by CourseReport that this year close to 6000 students will emerge into the workplace from the bootcamps and the industry has been growing at a healthy clip since some of the early pioneers emerged.

Buyer most definitely beware (both prospective student and employer), not all bootcamps are created equal. As in many emerging industries, standards are widely distributed. It's a wild, Wild West, and as is to be expected, there are some cowboys at play. However, at the high end of the market, where experienced practitioners are passing valuable skills along to a new generation of hungry learners, the graduates of their programs are making meaningful changes to their careers and their earning potential.

As the employment rate continues to fall, what continues to cause people at all levels serious angst is persistent wage stagnation and underemployment. In a new kind of industrial era Software developers are building the machines and factories of the future. Instead of molding components out of plastic and forging machines of steel, developers are building the digital machines that process data into intelligence and drive efficiencies in business and life. With all the resources now available and with the requisite skills, never in time has an individual been more empowered to build things from nothing, and by extension create wealth.

At the Software Craftsmanship Guild we consistently see applications coming in from smart and ambitious individuals, often with college degrees in the liberal arts. These applicants are passionate about fulfilling their potential and making an impact in the work place, but are frustrated by the lack of opportunity their education has presented them with so far. They come to us with years of workplace experience but with a sense that with a different set of skills they can change their career trajectory. Our experience is proving this out: After 12 weeks of intensive learning, to date we're seeing an average overall placement rate into software developer jobs of 93 percent and with over 80 percent of the students from our last two cohorts boasting offers in hand (often multiple) before graduating. It's a simple reflection of the insatiable appetite the job market has for developers today.

If you are considering a career in Software development, the good news is that it's one of the top earning professions today. Robert Half predicted that 10 of the top salary percentage increases in 2014 would be in software related careers, and things only continue to look brighter. The bad news is that it's not for everyone. In fact, competent developers have a very specific set of natural aptitudes that many of us are born without.

Want to better understand what they are and whether you have them? I'll cover that in my next post.