Think Twice Before Becoming a Techie

Think Twice Before Becoming a Techie

Technology jobs are often glamorized as offering great pay, flexibility, purpose, and opportunity. However, the dark underbelly of the tech world reveals a sobering reality that demands careful consideration before jumping in.

As industry veterans can attest, the past decade’s explosion of coding bootcamps, YouTube tutorials, and “learn to code” marketing has saturated the job market with under-qualified candidates, intensifying competition for a shrinking pool of junior roles.

Layoffs Abound for The Unprepared

Whereas beginners once had a Fighting chance of being hired and trained on the job, they now face rejection in favor of mid-level and senior developers. In fact, 50-70% of bootcamp grads remain unemployed or end up in non-tech jobs. Even credentialed juniors struggle to find work as companies downsize “non-essential” entry-level positions to cut costs.

I witnessed this firsthand at my last job, where over a dozen bright-eyed academy graduates were hired and then abruptly laid off within their 6-month probation period. The reason? They couldn’t hit the ground running and required too much hand-holding, slowing down teams instead of adding value from day one.

Surviving the Trial By Fire

The lucky few who do get junior developer jobs often endure a ruthless trial by fire, needing to quickly teach themselves skills not covered in courses to avoid replacement by more experienced candidates. I should know ― I was one of them.

After scraping by college on a computer science degree that left me woefully unprepared for real-world programming, I found my first job by sheer luck. But soon, imposter syndrome set in as I struggled to pull my weight.

I quietly panicked, filing bugs for things my teammates solved in minutes. I shuddered being assigned simple tasks much too advanced for my ability, too ashamed to ask for help and risk exposure or pestering busy colleagues.

Two years in, I suffered anxiety-inducing migraines from stress and overtime spent desperately trying to fill knowledge gaps in work hours. And I still never quite caught up with the software leaders constructing complex systems while I cobbled together duct tape solutions. When layoffs came, I didn’t make the cut.

My story is more common than you may think. In fact, a recent IBM study found that almost half of developers feel unprepared on the job. Likewise, the 2022 State of Software Engineers report revealed that 68% of tech professionals suffer burnout from the relentless skill treadmill required to stay employed in such a demanding field.

Rethink Or Die By A 1000 Swords.

Before investing precious time and money upskilling for an imagined future in software engineering fame and riches, soberly reflect on whether you are wired for the local realities of the work itself.

Beyond mastering an ever-expanding array of languages, frameworks, and toolsets before they become obsolete, expect to spend over 40 hours a week (often unpaid overtime) staring at screens under artificial light, sitting for prolonged periods, and enduring chronic neck, back, and wrist pain.

Pencil tackling complex puzzles, intricate systems thinking, arcane technical specifications, and logic flows far more structured than creative pursuits. Note the mental taxation of context switching between coding abstract problems, answering emails, sitting in meetings, documenting work, and helping customers.

And steel yourself for the social isolation of a lone wolf profession with predominantly introverted colleagues, limited human connection, and reliance on internet research when stuck.

This is not to deter those truly drawn to computery careers from entering the field prepared to roll with its realities. But it does beg the question ― what life do you envision for yourself?

Alternative Pathways to Purpose

If coding bootcamp marketing and billionaire tech entrepreneur success stories lured you in, yet the field’s typical lifestyles and barriers to entry do not intrinsically resonate, do not despair. Other industries welcome those called to contribute meaningfully.

For instance, the skyrocketing aging population requires compassionate healthcare professionals in elder care, assisted living administration, hospice, and related services. The global renewable energy transition beckons project managers, policy advisors, civil engineers, tradesworkers, and more.

Likewise, the surging mental health crisis cries out for psychiatrists, therapists, support line volunteers, and wellness coaches.

Or, if attracted less to traditional employment roles, invent your own way to solve pressing problems, serve vulnerable communities, or manifest purpose-aligned ventures as a social entrepreneur.

In the end, rather than chasing prestige or paychecks in fields misaligned with your innate talents, follow your deeper calling to uplift society however speaks to you. Appreciate tech for its convenience without bending to expectations that it defines you … unless computer science genuinely stirs your soul.

If it does, find more exciting posts on Learnhub Blog; we write everything tech from Cloud computing to Frontend DevCybersecurityAI, and Blockchain.


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