A couple of months ago we read an incredibly interesting article in Wired about how the future of coding, and of the middle class, might be “blue collar coding.” While the middle class has in the past included everyone from bank managers to plumbers, a larger part of the middle class might soon be coders...and that’s pretty amazing! Who will be at the forefront? Those who retool their skillsets by attending programming schools and Python coding bootcamps like the one we have starting up next week.
You Can Learn to Code
Some programmers started on Fortran, some on BASIC, and others were lucky enough to start learning to code with Python. While some coders are better than others, it quickly becomes obvious that there’s a coding language out there that just about every person in the country could learn if they apply themselves. Sure, it might take them awhile, but every job requires training and tackling the learning curve. Just because a blue collar worker doesn’t work with the back-end code of a huge machine doesn’t mean that the “front end” doesn’t require focus and intelligence. That means they could learn to code. And speaking of which...
It’s Just a Switch In Tech
Few jobs are as simple as they seem. It’s to our country’s detriment that we look down on blue collar jobs that keep everything running, because many of those jobs involve a ton of science. It’s hard to laugh at a blue collar worker who’s in environmental cleanup when they’re working with equipment that might as well be called “the average person doesn’t have the first idea of what it does, and by the way it could explode in your face at any moment.” Many blue collar jobs require a perfect following of technical procedures that can easily transfer to the coding world.
It Might Be What They Always Wanted
Let’s say that someone was born in 1967, making them 50 this year. When they were 10, Star Wars came out and they got super-interested in technology, rebuilding their early at-home Pong system and messing around with the school’s first computer. But they lived in a town of 10,000, and the only jobs to be had were in manufacturing. So instead of continuing their interest in circuits, they learned how to operate heavy machinery. Sure, it’s still tech, but it’s not the software side like they wanted.
Alternately, the same person might have loved computers but felt forced into the family business, like owning a hardware store. Now that Home Depot moved to town and ran the store out of business, they finally realize that it’s time to get back to their true interest: learning to code.
Not Everyone Has To Be A Whiz
As the Wired article points out, we’re often drawn to the whiz-kids in the tech industry. We know of the Zuckerburgs and the Gates and the Jobs for the simple reason that they’ve had a huge impact on the industry. But what we often forget about is the tens of thousands of people behind them who supported them and made their visions come true.
Not everyone has to be the whiz kid. Not everyone needs to work for a large company like Google or Microsoft. Heck, not everyone needs to work for a company that you’ve ever heard of. Somebody has to write a bank’s login page, and it’s certainly not going to be the manager! There are companies that are doing amazing work across the country, and every one of them would be happy to hire someone who learned to code in Denver. Somebody like you.
You Can Be Anywhere
Denver, you say? But don’t I have to be in Silicon Valley to get a coding job? Absolutely not. That article in the link above mentions that only 8% of coding jobs are in the Valley. Sure, you can move out there if you want, but our coding bootcamps can get you a job in Denver, Omaha, Winnipeg, or London. Some who go through our 20-week coding school classes stay in Northern Colorado and get a job working remotely for a company in another country.
But doesn’t “you can be anywhere” mean that the industry could be taken over by workers in foreign lands? Well, the fact is that there is always a dearth of good coders, no matter where they’re from. Add to that government jobs in which you have to be an American citizen to get security clearance and there’s no way that there will be too many coders anytime soon.
Coders tend to like each other. Even if it’s fun to argue about HBO’s Silicon Valley, at least they have code in common, right? After all, that’s why they meet at conventions like PyCon, a convention specifically for those who have learned to code Python. When you work as a team, you have someone to help you out when you need it and check your code when it’s not working. (Oh, and pay for pizza half the time.)
There are a large amount of blue collar jobs that require a great deal of cooperation. Does an oil well get built by a single person? Do coal miners run down into separate veins and not tell anyone else before the charges go off? Certainly not. The fact is, many blue collar jobs require communication skills that are very useful in the coding world.
The Problem Become the Solution
Robots! Love them or hate them, they’re becoming more and more a part of our lives. So when someone says that robots are taking away jobs, think of all the coding jobs that are being created...coding jobs that make the robots go! Simply retraining from factory work to coding could have the guy programming the next generation of robots that took his job.
Are blue collar jobs all going away? Absolutely not, and there will always be jobs where American’s are getting dirty. But there’s code out there that needs to be written, and that means jobs for anyone willing to spend 20 weeks in a coding bootcamp. If you’re ready to move into “blue collar coding,” check out our classes right here.