Learning How to Learn

This article on “Learning How To Learn” is part of a series developed by Curriculum Design to guide students through the Flatiron School program experience.

We believe that when learners feel autonomous and in control of their learning, they achieve greater success both academically and motivationally. Learning to Learn is designed to offer a variety of resources and tools to help you take control of your online learning journey and life beyond Flatiron School.

Take Ownership Of Your Learning

Taking ownership of your learning journey, through personalized learning, means finding your motivation, being engaged, and personalizing your learning experience with complete autonomy, choice, and responsibility in how you approach your online learning journey. Every learner has a fundamental need to feel in control of what they do versus only being told what to do. When this autonomy is exercised, the motivation to learn and the desire to perform well academically are much stronger.

As you go through the Learning to Learn series, our goal is to encourage you to take ownership of your learning journey- make decisions that matter, pursue directions that feel meaningful, and hold a sense of responsibility and control for both your learning successes and setbacks.

Connect The Dots

Taking the leap to build technical skills takes courage and determination. It can be intimidating to dive into new skill sets and knowledge, but the rewards and sacrifice will be worth it. As you learn, your horizon will expand and the information you collect along the way will start to connect in unexpected ways.

The saying goes, knowledge is power, and when it comes to personal and professional growth, this couldn’t be more true. When we actively seek knowledge through experiences or formal education, we add another “dot” to our mental map. These dots, connected, generate new ideas and help to solve problems in unique ways. Some of the greatest innovators credit their success to continue expanding their knowledge base through both life experiences and deliberate learning sessions.

Continue adding dots to your map.

TL;DR

  • Personalized learning is a great way to improve your skills and knowledge base.
  • Learning on your own can be intimidating to start, but the rewards are worth it.
  • Seek out new experiences and resources to challenge yourself and broaden your perspectives.

Insider Guide: Flatiron School’s Admissions Assessment

When you choose to start a program at Flatiron School, we know that you are investing — both financially and an investment of your time. That’s why it’s important that you are a right fit for the program and vice versa — that our program is the right fit for you.

One way we make sure that the program is a good fit is with an admissions assessment test.

The admissions assessment is a cognitive aptitude test that analyzes your problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, your attention to detail, and your ability to learn new information. There are three different styles of questions — verbal, math and logic, and spatial reasoning. Think of the questions more like brain teasers, not about coding, computers, or cybersecurity.

After all, in addition to your experience and skills so far (if any!), we are more interested in understanding your ability to learn and pick up the skills that will be taught in our courses.

The test is 15 minutes long and can include up to 50 questions. But don’t stress. We don’t expect you to complete all the questions. Less than 1% of people complete all 50 questions.

How many questions should I complete?

Try to answer as many questions as possible in the allotted 15 minutes, with the minimum goal of answering at least 25. 

Don’t get caught up on any one question though. If you’re feeling stumped, take a guess and move on. It’s more important to maintain a decent pace and keep moving through the questions, rather than to stress over scoring perfectly on one question.

Remember, you have a 15-minute time cap so you’ll want to move through as many questions as you can efficiently.  Again, less than 1% of people complete all 50 questions so don’t stress yourself out about finishing all the questions.

Here are two examples of the types of questions you might see on the admissions assessment.

1. Sample Verbal Question: (Source)

Choose the word that is most nearly OPPOSITE to the word in capital letters: LENGTHEN

  • abdicate
  • truncate
  • elongate
  • stifle
  • resist

2. Sample Math Question: (Source)

A group of 3 numbers has an average of 17. The first two numbers are 12 and 19. What is the third number?

  • 17
  • 19
  • 20
  • 23
  • 30

How to prepare for the admissions assessment

  • Complete the assessment on a laptop or desktop as it is not mobile-friendly. 
  • Set aside 15 minutes of uninterrupted, dedicated time.
  • Remove any distractions so you can focus for 15 minutes.
  • Have a piece of paper and a pencil for notes.
  • Relax and don’t overthink it.

Remember, it’s not about being perfect; it’s about getting the best score you can. Don’t get caught up on one question. Keep moving at a decent pace. 

There is a time clock on the page so you will know how many questions you have completed and how much time remains.

 

How does the test affect my admissions decision?

Our admissions process includes three phases — a written application, the admissions test, and an admissions interview. The test is a factor in the admissions process, but ultimately, we will consider all three phases of your application to determine an admissions decision.

Wondering what score you should get? We do have a target score for each one of our study programs but don’t worry about that upfront. Only worry about making sure you have 15 minutes of dedicated time, and then do your best.

Your score will be measured against the target score to determine if you will be a good candidate for the program. Remember, we don’t want you to commit to one of our programs unless we know you have the potential to be successful in that career field.

How do we determine target scores?

We asked our current students and graduates of our program to take the admissions test. And created our target scores based on how well our successful students scored.

Then, the company that prepares the test provided scores from successful professional software engineers, data scientists, cybersecurity engineers and analysts, and product designers. And that’s how we came up with the target score for applicants.

What happens after I take the admissions test?

After you finish and submit the admissions test, your score is recorded in our system and you will receive a link to schedule your interview at the end of the assessment. In that interview, your admissions rep will share your score and discuss your next steps.

Remember, the test is a factor in your admission decision, but we will make our final decision based on the combination of your application, interview, and assessment test.

Ready to start your admissions process? Apply now.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 01 Dec 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/.

Amazon Career Choice X Flatiron School Partnership

Amazon’s Career Choice program empowers its employees by providing them access to the education and training needed to grow their careers at Amazon and beyond.

In the U.S., the company will invest $1.2 billion to upskill more than 300,000 employees by 2025 to help move them into higher-paying, in-demand jobs. For this investment, Amazon selected Flatiron School as one of its education partners to develop a customized technical training program for its hourly employees to help them access better-paying, skilled positions in software engineering, cybersecurity, and other tech fields.

The Challenge

Amazon has been rapidly growing its workforce over the past several years to meet increasing demand, hiring hundreds of thousands of front-line employees across the U.S.

As a company, Amazon believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn new skills and build their career. A job with Amazon may be a springboard into a long-term career in another field, so they want to provide the training employees need to grow their careers.

In addition to the coursework and classes, they are focused on outcomes for employees, providing them with support services throughout their education and career journey. They want partners who share this focus on outcomes.

Why Amazon Selected Flatiron School

Since the first cohort in 2021, Flatiron School has offered the technical and instructional expertise, program design experience, job-placement track record, and ability to deliver at the scale that Amazon needed for the Career Choice programs.

This is why Amazon has partnered with Flatiron School to develop curriculum programs across cybersecurity, software development, data analytics, and web development for nine cohorts and counting. 

Amazon’s Challenge

With demand for tech workers soaring, Amazon wanted to offer transformative technical programs, with strong job placement outcomes, as part of Career Choice. Amazon needed a partner with the ability to both teach in-demand technical skills and drive high job placement rates.

Flatiron School’s Solution

Scalable, Customized Courses Paired with A Proven Job-Placement Approach

  1. Flatiron School developed six part-time, customized tech programs for Amazon employees to drive deep technical learning. 
  2. All programs were 32 weeks and provided students with the flexibility to learn new skills…
  3. …while still working full-time, dedicating 12-15 hours per week to the program.

The Results

During the first year of the partnership, 270 Amazon employees from across 38 fulfillment centers used their Career Choice benefits to become Software Engineers and Cybersecurity Analysts.

The Amazon Career Choice program also increased warehouse worker tenure, retention, and employee satisfaction.

The inaugural cohort wrapped up in October 2021. Within less than a week of graduation, two Amazon employees had already landed jobs in tech, with significant increases to their salaries. Because of its success and the benefits they saw with the program, Amazon expanded the program in 2022 and internationally for 2023, enrolling over 800 Amazon Associates each year.

In 2023, 9 cohorts across Amazon Cybersecurity Analytics, Amazon Data Analytics, Amazon Software Development, and Amazon Web Development have been developed.

For more information on the Amazon Career Choice program, visit the program application page.

How Retailers Prepare For The Holiday Season

With the holidays right around the corner, retailers are preparing for a busy shopping season. Each year, more consumers are shopping online. As a result, retailers must invest in their digital storefronts, backend security, and supporting software to keep customers coming back.

So, with holiday shopping ramping up, what challenges should retailers be prepared to tackle this year?

Problem #1: How To Prevent Data Breaches?

A data breach can cost millions of dollars, tarnish a company’s reputation, and leave customers with little trust that their information will be kept safe. In fact, according to the Ponemon Institute and IBM’s Cost of a Data Breach Report, the average total cost of a data breach increased from $3.86 million to $4.24 million in 2021.

Cybersecurity can feel like an endless game of one-upping bad actors, with even large companies struggling to keep up with digital innovation that has resulted in an ever-increasing number and complexity of cyber attacks. 

In a digital world where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm manual monitoring attempts, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

Solution: Invest In Cybersecurity Preparation and Plan Ahead

To tackle the cybersecurity threats attempting to infiltrate your organization, it’s crucial to develop a two-pronged plan – a prevention strategy and a response procedure.

Prevention Strategy

You’ve likely heard that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment, which is particularly relevant to preventing cybercrime. 

Retailers should reinforce their cyber protocols and ensure that their team is skilled, supplied with appropriate software and platforms, and has the bandwidth necessary to handle the deluge of attacks. This can be accomplished either by outsourcing to third-party providers or investing in internal infrastructure and employees by hiring new employees with up-to-date skills or upskilling your existing workforce. 

Response Procedure

Should bad actors breach your organization’s data stores, it’s vital to have a plan of action in place. 

Shockingly few companies have a solid breach response plan in place, and time wasted scrambling to decide what to do, who has access to what, and which files may have been compromised lets whoever has infiltrated run amok in your system. 

To be fully prepared, retailers should develop, test, and implement an incident response plan to minimize the potential fallout of a breach. 

Related reading: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

Problem #2: How To Increase Customer Loyalty?

With the rise of the digital-first era, shoppers are no longer walking into physical stores for their goods. Instead, they are logging onto their computers or opening a mobile app, credit card in hand.

Customer touch points now feature everything from brand-owned mobile apps to traditional website storefronts and social media platforms. Each channel is a chance for retailers’ brand messaging to reinforce customer loyalty.

So, how do retailers elevate the customer experience across all these touchpoints?

Solution: Develop Supportive Software

With so many brand touchpoints across multiple platforms and channels, delivering a seamless, omnichannel experience is key. To achieve this, retailers can invest in software engineering to develop custom retail software. 

Company-specific software creates IT solutions that automate the retail business process, streamlining offerings and product delivery. Everything from sales notification, invoice delivery, shipping, and returns/refunds can be accomplished by one, overarching system. 

That way, no matter where a customer interacts with your brand, they’ll be met with a consistent, pleasant, and easy-to-navigate system they know well. 

Related reading: Top 3 Retail Tech Trends in 2022

Problem #3: How To Quantify Consumer Behavior?

With trends that change at the pace of social media algorithms, it can feel just about impossible to predict trends. What was trendy one moment can be “last season” the next, with product and marketing teams struggling to keep up. 

Many retailers are asking, “how can we quantify customers’ behavior and translate it into sales?”

Solution: Leverage The Power Of Data

To predict consumer behavior and deliver tailored experiences that convert, retailers need simply to harness the power of data. 

Without a doubt, somewhere in every retailer’s system is a mountain of data. This data is generated by customers each time they interact with a brand. Data Scientists use models and machine learning to connect data points from multiple sources and generate actionable insights that can be incorporated into a retailer’s strategy at scale. 

To improve conversion rates, retailers should invest in a team of skilled data scientists – or upskill their current team. Data Scientists can use data-driven insights to create recommendations catered to each customer. That way, they’ll keep them coming back to the company that, somehow, knows them so well.  

Related reading: The (Data) Science Behind Netflix Recommendations

Tech Talent Solutions Made For Retailers

The tech that powers digital shopping is only as effective as the talent behind the scenes. 

For 10 years, Flatiron School has been teaching the tech skills that retailers need most. Let us help accelerate your business with our talent and training solutions.

Contact us today to get started.

The Holiday Season: Brought To You By Tech Workers

The holiday shopping season is quickly approaching, and retailers are ramping up operations in preparation for the biggest retail events of the year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With sales consistently shifting to predominantly online year over year, retailers need to evolve their digital storefronts to keep up with modern shopping trends.

For retailers looking forward to these influxes of customers, preparation is key to success and keeping bottom lines black. The tech that powers online shopping, provides a seamless customer experience, and keeps data secure is only as effective as the engineers behind the scenes.

Retailers need a technically trained team with up-to-date skills to keep up and meet four critical needs: the need for websites that perform, the need to predict trends, the need for pages to convert, and the need to keep data secure. 

Here’s how the four disciplines Flatiron School teaches – Software Engineering, Data Science, Product Design, and Cybersecurity – support the holiday season. 

Need Websites That Perform (Software Engineering)

For websites to perform well, load quickly, and deliver an enjoyable online shopping experience, the engineers behind them must be well-versed in the languages used for Back-End and Front-End Software Engineering

In fact, in a recent study retailers reported software development as the #1 desired technical skill for new hires. Java, software engineering, SQL, Python, JavaScript, and data science also made the list.  

So, how do retailers build out a technical team to get their digital storefront live and profitable? Sourcing recent graduates from technical training institutions ensure that new hires are up to date on the newest software, platforms, and best practices in the online marketplace. 

Big box and clothing retailers in particular source our Software Engineering and Data Science graduates for their skills in Python, Java, JavaScript, and SQL. These languages are used in online interfaces such as cashier-less checkout, virtual storefronts, virtual dressing rooms, and marrying online and offline data to personalize shopping experiences and increase profitability.

Related reading: In-demand skills taught to our Software Engineering students

Need To Personalize and Predict Behavior (Data Science)

No matter how optimized a digital store-front functionality is or how easy to navigate a user interface is, a consumer won’t buy from you unless they see something they like enough to part with their hard-earned dollars. Item recommendations and promotions, whenever possible, should be personalized to individual customers to increase conversions and sale amounts.  

Data Scientists are tackling this task by taking advantage of big data – the mountain-sized amount of information points generated by customers interacting with your brand. 

Our Data Science graduates use models and machine learning to connect data points from multiple sources and generate actionable insights that can be implemented at scale. 

Unleashing the power of data-based decisions can have wide-reaching impacts on your business and increase conversion rates with recommendations catered to each customer and keep them coming back to the company that, somehow, knows them so well.  

Related reading: The (Data) Science Behind Netflix Recommendations

Need Websites That Convert (Product Design)

UX / UI design is a critical success factor for successful digital storefronts. User experience and user interface can make or break mobile viability, and nothing bottoms out the performance of a website or mobile app faster than a difficult-to-use interface.

Retailers utilize UX / UI Product Designers to revamp user interfaces and outfit brand-owned digital touch-points with easy-to-use features to ensure a seamless experience that will keep users coming back and clicking ‘buy’.

Related reading: What Is Design Thinking?

Need To Protect Data (Cybersecurity)

While not a new topic and certainly not unique to retailers, recent cybersecurity trends and high-profile breaches have resulted in several pain points for brands that hold personally identifiable information (PII). 

Many retailers are realizing new vulnerabilities including cloud hosting platforms, an increased number of access points, more frequent cyber attacks, and a lack of internal resources struggling to keep up. 

In the digital age where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm retailers, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

Essential cybersecurity skills for the digital age include SQL, which attackers could use to steal confidential data, compromise data stores, and execute web-based attacks, as well as Python, which helps to scan and analyze malware, and Java, which can be used in penetration (pen) testing.

For retailers to ensure their databases are secure for the rush of the holiday season, recruiting cybersecurity professionals with up-to-date and relevant skills or upskilling in-house teams is critical.

Related reading: Top 3 Cybersecurity Pain Points in 2022

Join Santa’s Workshop Of Tech Workers

No matter your area of interest or expertise, you can have a hand in bringing the holiday season to life. So, if you’d like to apply to Santa’s workshop, we have good news and bad news. 

The good news is that you can acquire the skills you need to join Santa’s team of tech workers by attending one of Flatiron School’s programs in Software Engineering, Data Science, Product Design, or Cybersecurity.  

In fact, many Flatiron School graduates have been hired at some pretty magical companies that can have a hand in making the winter season feel like magic

The bad news is that Santa cross-checks the naughty list. Good luck! (Kidding.)

Apply Today to start making some magic. 

Allison Anzalone: From Vet Tech To Computer Scientist

Allison Anzalone graduated from Missouri State University in 2012 with a degree in biology and a dream of becoming a Veterinarian. Fast forward 9 years, she’d been rejected from vet school, worked 6 years as a vet tech, and transitioned into the medical field.

“I was working at Mercy Hospital as an Orthopedic Patient Care Technician,” Anzalone explained when we sat down with her in mid-2022. “I got patients ready for surgery, and after surgery before they went home.” 

While not unhappy with her position, Anazlone recalled knowing that it wasn’t the right fit. “I worked in a lab, I worked with patients, and thought to myself, I don’t know if this is right for me. I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do computer science.”

Pursuing Her Computer Science Dream

The decision to pursue a new field was a long time coming for Anazolne and was delayed by her pre-existing student loans from a Bachelor’s degree and her hesitance to take on more debt. “I first started out getting interested in Software development about three years ago and I wanted to go back to school but didn’t have the finances to do … I didn’t want to take out more student loans.”

While researching alternative education options, a friend introduced her to the world of bootcamps for career changers. “I didn’t know about bootcamps until one of my friends that works as a software developer said to look into Flatiron [School]. She recommended Flatiron [School] to me because her company has hired a lot of software developers from there.”

After researching Flatiron School, she cites two specific points for why she decided to enroll. “What got me with Flatiron [School] is their job placements percentages [and] reading about other student’s journies. I just had to jump in and do it.”

Her Experience With Bootcamp

On her experience with starting the bootcamp, Anazolne particularly recalls the challenge of the program and her doubts about her path. “Throughout the program, it was challenging. Definitely, parts, where I wanted to give up like I, don’t know what I’m doing, why am I doing this? Is this the right decision?”

She also highlights the impact of being in the medical field at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to balance her studies. “My hospital got shut down with COVID, [I was] doing 4-day a week, 12-hour shifts in the ER and doing Flatiron at the same time.”

For Anzalone, the support she received throughout the program was vital to her success. “From day 1 I felt supported in my cohort … It was so cooperative and immersive. We would work together in groups and learn how to collaborate on projects together.”

Looking back at her experience, she remembers hard work and relief after coming out on the other side of the program. “Giving it my all and getting involved and working as hard as I’ve ever worked on something before helped me get the most out of the program. And then afterward, finishing it was like oh gosh I did it!”

Her Job Search & Career Coach Support

Allison Anazolne graduated on January 24, 2022, with a Certificate in Software Engineering. She jumped right into the job search, aided by her dedicated Career Coach.

“The support I felt after the program was amazing… I loved having my career advisor. My career advisor was my biggest supporter and the person I relied on the most through my career [search] process.”

Flatiron School graduates receive up to 180 days of career coaching to help them find their first job after graduation. But, as Anazolne found out, it can often take far less time to land an opportunity in the field. “When I finished [the program], I started applying for things and I got interviews in week one and I was like ‘oh, this is too fast!’ … But it was nice to see people wanted to interview me.”

After her first few interviews, any doubts about how her bootcamp education would be received were quickly relieved as well. “I was a little worried about not going through the traditional route with a computer science degree vs. a bootcamp, but in the interview process, they knew […] about Flatiron. They knew I had the training I needed to do the job.”

Anzalone fielded several offers, eventually accepting a role in Development Operations that she thought would be a great fit for her extroverted personality. “I am a big people person, I love talking to people. With DevOps, you get to do development, but you also get to work with other teams on their projects. I like that I get to work with so many different people.”

Her Biggest Takeaway From The Program

Allison is now working as an Associate DevOps Engineer at Northwestern Mutual, a financial services provider. 

Her experience at Flatiron School, she says, turned her into a confident, lifelong learner. “Being able to learn this new skill, and going from day one to where I am now, I’m not scared of learning something new anymore. I’m confident that if I want to learn something new, I can do it.” 

Ready to take charge of your future? Apply Now to join other career changersAllison in a program that sets you apart from the competition. 

Not ready to apply? Try out our Free Software Engineering Prep. Or, review the Software Engineering Course Syllabus that will set you up for success and launch you into a new and fulfilling career.

Read more stories about successful career changes on the Flatiron School blog.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 21 October 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/

Which Coding Language Should I Learn First?

If you’re thinking about learning to code, it can be difficult to decide where to start. A Google search of “which coding language should I learn first?” can kick back more than a dozen potential languages, but which is best for you and your personal or career goals? 

The answer is, it depends.

What will mainly determine which language to start with is what you’d like to achieve with this new skill. Is it a very specific job function? Making mobile apps? Designing websites? Do you just want to learn a new skill? Your answer will determine where to begin.

Finding the best programming language for your goals

There are two main ways to choose your first programming language – either to work back from a specific goal (i.e., I want to become a Front-End Developer or I want to make a Fruit Ninja spoof app) or to simply select one of the more in-demand languages in the industry that sound most interesting to pursue. 

Related reading: 12 Highest-Paying Software Engineering Jobs and How To Get Them

Popular programming languages

If you’re looking to start with one of the more popular and in-demand programming languages to set yourself up for success no matter which direction you take your pursuits, here’s our list of languages to consider: 

C++

C++ is one of the most popular and powerful programming languages. It can be used to develop operating systems, games, web browsers, video games, and more. This language is useful for creating applications that are resource-heavy and is used in a variety of industries.

If you’re interested in cutting-edge development in robotics, VR, game development, or software development, this could be the best place for you to start.

Javascript

Javascript is primarily used to create interactive, animated, and user-friendly web pages. This language is perfect for those interested in front-end development, as Javascript is the foundation of most web browsers.

Ruby

Ruby is a back-end language often used in the Ruby on Rails (Rails) framework, though Rails is not the only one available. It is incredibly dynamic and is used by many well-known tech companies including Twitter, GitHub, and Airbnb.

This language is primarily used to build the back-end of web applications, but can also be used for things such as building servers and data processing.

Python

Python is often referred to as a “general-purpose language” because it is incredibly versatile and can create a variety of programs. Most often, it is used to build websites, create software, automate processes, and perform data analyses.

Start Learning A Programming Language Today

Take a software engineering test drive with our Free Software Engineering Prep. You’ll get to try out our course material and see how you like coding – no strings attached! 

Ready to jump feet-first into coding? No matter where you’re starting from, our Software Engineering course can get you industry-ready in as few as 15 weeks. 

Apply Today and get started towards a new career in coding. 

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of 16 September 2022. For updated information visit https://flatironschool.com/

Day In The Life Of A Software Engineering Student

Whether you’re 12 or 32, the first day of school can be nerve-wracking. Finding your classroom, meeting new people, and what will you wear?!

Wait – don’t panic! If you’re thinking of enrolling in a software engineering course but are not sure what to expect then this guide is for you.

Here we’ll cover the typical day-to-day schedule of a full-time software engineering student. We want you to be ready for your first day – no surprises! 

Morning Standup

Most days begin with a standup meeting. You’ll check in with your cohort and receive any announcements or updates. This is also a good time to discuss your goals for the day and any blockers in the way so you can be set up for a successful day of learning!

Morning Working Session

Next, you’ll jump right to working on lessons and labs. This may feature independently working through the curriculum, teaming up with other members of the cohort on collaborative projects, preparing for coding challenges, or completing a 1-on-1 with an instructor or coach.

Lunch Break

After the morning workshop, it’s time for lunch. You have an hour each day to rest, relax, and recharge – whatever you need to do to be ready to take on the second half of the day.

Central Lecture

Typically at around 2:00 pm EST, students will join other cohorts across the US for a Zoom conference call. You will learn from a Flatiron School lecturer, covering topics within the designated phase.

Afternoon Working Session

Once the lecture concludes you’ll continue working on lessons and labs, pair programming/code reviews, projects, and coding challenges, or meet with the instructor or coach. The instructor will optimize this time slot based on the greatest value to students at that moment in time and the activity can vary from day to day.

Evening Stand Down

The day concludes with the evening stand down. You’ll reconvene with your cohort for any additional announcements and updates and take time to prepare for the next day.

Let’s Get Started

Ready to take the next step and become a software engineering student? Apply Now to our Software Engineering course or schedule a 10-minute chat with admissions to see how you can take charge of your future in as little as 15 weeks.

Not quite ready to commit yet? Try our Free Software Engineering Prep Lesson. It’s a great way to try out the course and judge if it’s the right course for you.

Cool Coding Careers

Finding a job that you enjoy and find rewarding is critical to happiness at work. In fact, surveys have found that purpose is a top factor when measuring professional satisfaction. (1) 

While the jobs that initially come to mind for software engineers are some variation of “software developer” and “computer programmer”, these are by no means where opportunity ends. In the modern digital world, there are dozens of career paths and industries where software engineers are needed. 

In this post, we’ve collected some exciting career paths for software engineers that combine interests with abilities (also known as a dream job!). 

Cool Coding Careers To Consider

If you want to combine your interests with a career, consider these 8 cool coding careers. 

Video Game Developer

Are you a gamer outside of office hours? If you love video games and working with computers then a career in video game development could be a dream job. 

Video game developers transform games from a concept into a playable reality. They code visual elements, program features, and test iterations until the game is released to the public. After release, they fix bugs and develop additional features (aka DLC). 

Average Salary: $95,658*

VR/AR Developer

Virtual reality and augmented reality developers create extended reality programs that interface with the real world. They design, develop, and test VR/AR software for use in fields ranging from gaming (see above) and immersive entertainment to medical training and military applications.  

Average Salary: $102,439*

Mobile App Developer

A mobile app developer creates applications for mobile devices. They typically work with popular operating systems such as iOS and Android and often incorporate UX / UI design principles.

Average Salary: $107,921*

Ethical Hacker

Sometimes called a “white hat”, ethical hackers detect vulnerabilities in an organization’s digital infrastructure by breaking into it. They work to improve security and prevent breaches. Ethical hackers can be employed full-time by an organization, as a freelancer, or go after “bounties” offered by an organization.

Average Salary: $116,701*

R&D Software Engineer

An R&D software engineer conducts research and development to improve the products or services offered by their employer. They inform stakeholders’ decision-making, determine which technologies to use, and how to implement them to achieve the company’s goal.

Average Salary: $125,832*

Technical Recruiter

A Technical Recruiter works on an HR or recruiting team to scout employees for technical roles. They often (but not always) have a background in the field they are recruiting for and are primarily responsible for building out teams of skilled hires for a dynamic technical team.

Average Salary: $83,178*

Technical Product Manager

A technical product manager is responsible for the success of a particular product line or offering in a company. They work with the teams building, marketing, selling, and supporting their product to satisfy customer needs and meet shareholder goals.

Unlike a traditional product manager, technical product managers typically possess advanced engineering and design skills and qualifications.

Average Salary: $122,380*

Technical Product Marketing Manager

Technical Product Marketing Managers work with marketing, engineering, business development, and sales to understand the competitive landscape and competitor details.

They create, maintain, and enable sales on competitive content (such as SWOT analysis, positioning, and company/product research) and inform product marketing and product management decisions.

Average Salary: $122,063*

How To Break Into The Field

No matter your level of experience in software engineering, an exciting career in the field can be yours. In the current red-hot market for technical graduates, there are more job openings than there are skilled professionals to fill them. If you’re looking to break into the field and get hired for one of these cool coding careers, the time is now! 

To be a competitive applicant for these coveted software engineering career paths, gaining an educational certificate from an established training organization like Flatiron School can super-charge your application and make you stand out among a sea of hopefuls. 

Related reading: Software Engineering Course Syllabus

Ready to take the next step? Apply Now to our Software Engineering course or book a 10-minute chat with admissions to see how you can take charge of your future in as little as 15 weeks. 

*Salaries cited current from Glassdoor as of July 2022

Sources:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/rodgerdeanduncan/2018/09/11/the-why-of-work-purpose-and-meaning-really-do-matter/?sh=2ab657a668e1
  2. Glassdoor.com

Top 3 Retail Tech Trends in 2022

Shopping and retail tech in the modern age move at the speed of the internet, and retailers – both big box and boutique – need to evolve to keep up.

The tech that powers personalized shopping experiences, marrying online and in-store data, and cashier-less checkout are only as effective as the engineers behind the scenes.

Trend #1: Digital-First Shopping

While the retail market had already seen a shift away from brick-and-mortar shopping in the early 2010s, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 cemented the turn towards online shopping. 

Shoppers by and large are no longer walking into physical stores for their goods, instead, they are logging onto their computers with credit cards in hand.

Companies whose digital presence does not present an attractive and easy-to-use platform to users will inevitably suffer in the digital-first modern age and be left in the dust by big-box retailers who offer ease of use. 

Faced with the urgent pressure to digitize, retail tech teams need to modernize their online platforms and will need a technically trained team to keep up.

TIP: Invest in Skilled Engineers

In a recent study, retailers reported software development as the #1 desired technical skill for new hires. Java, software engineering, SQL, Python, JavaScript, and data science also made the list.1  

So, how do retailers build out a technical team to get your digital storefront live and profitable? Sourcing recent graduates from technical training institutions can help ensure that new hires are up to date on the newest software, platforms, and best practices in the online marketplace. 

Over the past 10 years, top retailers such as Amazon, Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have hired our graduates across all disciplines including Software Engineering, Data Science, Cybersecurity, and UX / UI Product Design. 

Big box and clothing retailers in particular source our Software Engineering and Data Science graduates for their skills in Python, Java, JavaScript, and SQL. These languages are used in online interfaces such as cashier-less checkout, virtual storefronts, virtual dressing rooms, and marrying online and offline data to personalize shopping experiences and increase profitability.

See the full skills list taught to our graduates and learn more about hiring our top tech talent

Trend #2: Mobile Commerce

Going hand in hand with the shift to online-first shopping is mobile apps for on-the-go convenience. Customer touch points now feature everything from brand-owned mobile apps to social media platforms, each of which is a chance for retailers’ brand messaging to reinforce customer loyalty. 

But, in a crowded app market with dozens of competitors vying for screen time, how can a retailer increase downloads, user engagement, and – most important of all – mobile conversions? 

TIP: Revamp UX / UI For Seamless Shopping

UX / UI design is a critical success factor in mobile commerce, one that Data Scientists are tackling by connecting data points from multiple systems and gaining actionable one-to-one insights at scale. 

For brand-owned mobile apps, this is often where the most loyal (and profitable) customers aggregate. User experience and user interface can make or break mobile viability, and nothing bottoms out an app’s performance faster than a difficult-to-use interface.

Retailers should utilize UX / UI Product Designers to revamp user interfaces and imbue brand-owned mobile apps with easy-to-use features to ensure a seamless experience that will keep users coming back.

Trend #3: Cybersecurity For The Digital Age

While not a new topic and certainly not unique to retailers, recent cybersecurity trends and high-profile breaches have resulted in several pain points for brands that hold personally identifiable information (PII). 

With the shift towards remote/hybrid working, many retailers are realizing new or increased vulnerabilities including cloud hosting platforms, number of access points, more frequent cyber attacks, and a lack of internal resources struggling to keep up. 

In the digital age where automated attacks can quickly overwhelm retailers, having adept and skilled professionals in place is critical to a company’s continued prosperity and longevity.

TIP: Upskill Cybersecurity Teams

Essential cybersecurity skills for the digital age include SQL, which attackers could use to steal confidential data, compromise data stores, and execute web-based attacks, as well as Python, which helps to scan and analyze malware, and Java, which can be used in penetration (pen) testing.

For retailers to ensure their databases are secure, recruiting cybersecurity professionals with up-to-date and relevant skills or upskilling in-house teams is critical.

Partnering with established training organizations to hire top-level graduates can help retailers build out a team that is up to date with current technology and regulations.

Alternatively, retraining or cross-training existing employees can be a more financially effective option. Utilize technical training organizations to address technical skill gaps on your team and build on existing internal expertise. 

Custom-Tailored Solutions For Retailers

For retailers to keep up in the modern age, skilled technical teams, whether comprised of new hires or upskilled current employees, are critical to long-term viability and profitability.

If your organization is building out a technical team, there are some must-have skills sets to look for:

  • Software Developer / Software Engineer: JavaScript, HTML, Ruby, CSS
  • Full Stack Developer: JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Java, Ruby, Python, SQL
  • Front-End Developer: JavaScript, HTML, CSS
  • Back-End Developer: Java, Ruby, Python, SQL
  • Mobile Developer:  Java, JavaScript
  • Data Scientist: Python, SQL, Java
  • Data Analyst: Java, Python
  • Cybersecurity Risk Specialist / Analyst: SQL, Python, Java
  • Product Designer: UX, UI, ethical and inclusive design
  • UX Designer: UX (user experience), ethical and inclusive design
  • UI Designer: UI (user interface), ethical and inclusive design

But, retailers are busy, and sifting through a mountain of applications takes time. To ease organizations into the digital age with qualified employees, Flatiron School teaches the skills and disciplines retailers’ technical department teams need to keep up.

Software Engineering Data Science Product Design Cybersecurity
Website Development & Management X X
Cashierless Checkout X X
Virtual Storefronts X X
Virtual Dressing Rooms X X
Marrying Online & Offline Data X
Personalization X X X
Brand-Owned Mobile Apps X X
Mobile Social Commerce X
Protect PII X
Inventory Management X X
Sophisticated Pricing Algorithms X X
Increased Shipment / Delivery Speed With Drones, Other Tech X

To see how technical recruiting, upskilling and retaining, or hire-to-train programs offered by Flatiron School can help level up your retail tech team, visit our retail industry page.

Need something special? Talk to our team of retail tech experts about how we can build a curriculum to fit your organization’s needs. 

Sources:

  1. https://insights.dice.com/2021/06/14/technology-jobs-in-retail-demand-these-core-skills/
  2. https://hbr.org/2015/11/how-marketers-can-personalize-at-scale
  3. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2022/01/12/the-five-biggest-retail-tech-trends-in-2022/?sh=2df4a01e36d4