If you’re considering additional education to become a coder or enhance your current coding skill set, one of the factors you’re almost certainly weighing is the cost of education vs. the payoff. This is a normal and healthy process. After all, you want to be sure you’re making a good investment.
Expense vs. Investment
Here’s a quick economics lesson about false economies that might help. A false economy is an action that saves money at the beginning but over a longer time period, results in more money being spent or wasted than being saved. A great example of this principle is paying for car repairs over and over again on a vehicle that should be replaced. Another good example is foregoing education.
Spending a few thousand dollars is not a decision to be taken lightly because it is a lot of money. However, when it comes to spending money on education, it should be viewed as an investment rather than simply an expense. This is because education makes you more marketable and opens doors to new jobs. Learning new coding skills can provide you with new opportunities almost instantly, and will pay off for years to come.
Consider the Math
The minimum wage in the U.S. is currently $7.25 per hour, which equates to $15,080 (before taxes) per year for a full-time worker. The pre-tax, median salary for an entry-level software developer is $64,682 according to PayScale.com. This is nearly $50,000 higher than a minimum wage position!
It is extremely common in this type of career to see your salary climb quickly after just a few years of experience. This can mean big money over time. For example, a salary bump of $10,000 early in your career (not guaranteed, but highly possible) would mean an additional $100,000 over the next 10 years!
Upward Career Movement
If you think about it, the phrase “dead end job” sounds a tad dramatic… or does it? With increased financial responsibilities throughout your life (family, retirement, mortgages, living expenses) and inflation, your salary should grow in healthy increments on a regular basis to help compensate. Now, think about working in the same job without promotions, pay raises, or personal growth. The phrase “dead end job” starts to feel less dramatic and more accurate in this situation.
Coding is anything but a dead end job! It is one of the most in-demand skills in today’s digital job market, and it allows for a lot of career progression in a relatively short time-frame. In fact, Glassdoor.com reports the average salary of an entry-level software developer with 0-1 years of experience to be around $65,000. The same software developer with 1-3 years of experience has an average salary of just over $69,000, and at 4-6 years of experience the average salary climbs to $80,500. That’s a $15,000 pay raise in a few as 4 years!
A Little Insurance
Careers and skills can be vulnerable to change in technology as well as culture. You won’t find many milkmen, switchboard operators, or icemen these days. However, we’re seeing more marketing specialists, registered nurses, construction laborers, and especially coders. In fact, software development landed the number 5 spot on the Salary.com list of fastest growing jobs with an 18.8% expected increase by 2024! You insure your home, your car, and your valuables, so why not ensure your career outlook with a job that’s expected to grow in the future?
It’s clear the expense required to gain additional education and training that will provide you with the valuable skills to enter a coding career is a good investment. Salaries are rising, job outlook is good, and personal satisfaction is high for software developers. With all this in mind, can you afford to forego a move that will help you land your dream job for another year?