No Frills, No Lace : The Truth of Everyone Can Code

Today, we are pretty lucky; at least if we are in tech. Lots of jobs are flooding the market: data science, web development, software engineering, Full Stack development; you name it. According to some sources, 300,000 developer positions will be set to open on the job market. And let’s be honest, a job as a developer seems pretty tempting right about now. The world of 2020 has been repeatedly assaulted by COVID19 and the rise of remote work has pretty much become an inevitability in most corners of the world. We are all in for some disturbing times when the world opens back up; economic hardships are going to be plenty. This unique combination of circumstances is precisely why a developer job, or something else related to coding, is such a hot topic right now.

Everyone can Code

Everyone can code. The title is pretty pithy and is one that is very attractive for people who read it. I like it too; in fact, that’s how I actually started my own coding journey. I bought into the title that everyone can code and for the most part, I genuinely believe in it, but it is also a title that is filled with marketing psychology. It is rife filled with ambiguities and half truths for those who choose to become self-taught developers.

Good Marketing and Marshmallows

I want to actually go and take a look at a nice marketing claim for the program that got me started on my coding journey. Search for “Javascript FullStack Techdegree Treehouse” and you will be taken here. From this page, it is possible to download a job report for jobs relating to this program. It will claim two major statistics:

  1. It is possible to get hired in as little as 5 months, taking into account the techdegree completion time.
  1. A “junior” or “entry” level role in FullStack development can take anywhere from 1–3 years of full professional experience to get.

The Red Pill of Tech Jobs

I admit that during my own job search, indeed.com became a bit of a source of personal stress. And if you are like I was, then it will also be a source of stress for you too. All a person needs to do is simply go and search for entry level or junior developer jobs and take a look at the job requirements. The “Everyone one can code” job seeker will find a few universally crappy bullet points under “Job Requirements”:

  1. A computer science degree or equivalent
  2. An absolute hoard of technologies needed, the so called “stack” of technologies.
  3. A ton of keywords: Agile development, CI/CD, version control, etc.

There is no Magic Bullet

When I write this article I am not trying to be a pessimist or a cynic; it is very possible to get a developer job as a self-taught or bootcamper. In that sense, “Everyone can Code” is true; the software / tech industry is one of the few skilled STEM industries that actually allow a person with no professional certification to find a good well paying career path. But the truth of the situation has been extremely misrepresented by out of context statistics, erroneous (but very effective) marketing, and hushed up truths. The bottom line is very simple, yet very stark: there is no magic bullet. Getting a job in software is extremely hard for a person from a non-traditional background. It requires a lot of work, a lot of strategizing, and a LOT of grit.

Somewhere between technology and spirituality