There are over 84,000 people currently working in technology roles across Scotland. With an estimated 11,000 job opportunities every year, the digital technology sector offers varied and exciting careers from computer forensics and data analytics to games design and software development.
The continued reliance on technology has crossed industries too, and companies ranging from entertainment to marketing, healthcare, finance and engineering need digital specialists to drive their businesses forward.
National Coding Week is a great excuse to try your hand at coding online or at a taster session. Who knows, you might discover a passion for programming, or unlock your creativity through coding.
Here are four ways to turn an interest in tech into a rewarding career:
Do your research
Decide if you are suited to this sector by doing your research. There are plenty of case studies available on websites like digitalworld.net that will give you insight into the different options around. There are also many networking opportunities where you can meet people already in the sector. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised by the wide range of people from varied backgrounds you will meet. You could also reach out to industry leaders via social media, or comment on their blogs. The tech sector is very community-based, and people are usually happy to help.
Get the skills
There are many ways to retrain, from intensive coding courses such as those available at CodeClan to studying at college or university. There are also a number of free and paid online courses and resources that can teach you to code. Indeed, a recent Stack Overflow survey found that 42 per cent of developers are self-taught. This offers a low-pressure opportunity to try coding in your own time, at your own pace, to see if it’s for you.
Earn and learn
At its core, a Modern Apprenticeship is a job like any other. But as well as getting paid and receiving structured training, apprentices work towards an industry-recognised qualification.
Today there are many apprenticeship opportunities in computing and ICT. If you already have a job but want to develop your skills it may be possible to start an apprenticeship with your current employer. More information can be found at apprenticeships.scot.
Foundation Apprenticeships allow you to complete parts of a Modern Apprenticeship while still at school and new Graduate Level Apprenticeships (GLA) offer an alternative approach to work based learning. As well as being employed, apprentices work towards achieving an undergraduate honours degree.
Bring together you interests and experience
There’s much more to digital technology roles than coding. Skills such as communication, storytelling and creativity are sought after so don’t devalue your interests and previous experience. If you have a background in marketing or music, for example, adding digital skills to your repertoire could help you go even further with the training you already have.
Claire Gillespie is key sector manager for ICT and digital skills at Skills Development Scotland.