Parenthood can change your priorities in a snap. But this doesn’t mean that your career aspirations should be left to dwindle or that you should miss out on new opportunities.
Recognized tech bootcamps, like General Assembly, have paved the way for parents to launch careers in the tech sector at a shorter pace. At General Assembly, you have a chance to specialize in Data Science, Software Engineering, UX Design, Product Management, and Digital Marketing—top growing tech careers.
The best part? You don’t need a tech degree or prior experience to enroll in the bootcamp.
To better prepare for your tech journey ahead, we have curated tried-and-tested tips on how you can get started.
General Assembly is a leading bootcamp specializing in growing tech careers such as data science, software engineering, UX design, product management, and digital marketing. The bootcamp welcomes students from all walks of life, including parents, veterans, and high school and college dropouts looking for a fresh start in tech.Find the right course for you here.
4 Tips to Consider If You’re Making a Career Switch Into Tech as a Parent
1. Don’t start on a whim. Take charge of your career plan.
The benefits of working in tech are very enticing. You have the option to work remotely and earn an above-average salary—two important aspects that can help you better support your family. However, you’ll need a little more than these to last in the tech industry.
Ask yourself, “Is this really what I want to do, and what does it take to get there?”
While a can-do attitude can get you far, it is best to strategize a career plan guided by your genuine interests, motivations, long-term goals, and expectations. Otherwise, you risk wasting your time and effort learning the ropes of a new career path only to realize it’s not for you.
Your career plan should address the following questions:
- Which career path would you like to pursue according to your interests?
- What skills do you have that are transferable to your career choice?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- How can you achieve your career milestones?
For starters, you can explore free learning resources and courses, which can give you a peek into what your career would look like in a chosen field. Free coding courses, like Dash, are also a great way to test your aptitude and commitment.
Better yet, take General Assembly’s Career Path Quiz or attend one of their free workshops or events. The bootcamp actively hosts workshops that introduce you to new tech industry trends, career paths, and other valuable nuggets of information shared by seasoned tech experts. These events are hosted online and are easily accessible wherever you are.
It is also worth scouring through popular job boards to gauge the demand in your target tech role. In doing so, you’ll have an idea of potential offers that you may get if you have the right skillset. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you can always reach out to General Assembly’s admissions team and they will help you find the best GA course that aligns with your wants and needs.
2. There is strength in numbers. Establish a strong support system.
Learning the ins and outs of complex fields, like software engineering or data science, can feel overwhelming especially if you’re a beginner. To help ease your burden, you need to have a strong support system to help keep you on track.
Single mom and General Assembly alumni Noemi Romero shares, “[My children were] overwhelmed at times, but they saw…how much I wanted [to start a career in tech], so they helped me by stepping up and becoming a little more independent. I also had a friend who helped me make lunches and pick them up from school.”
If you enroll in General Assembly, you’ll know that their team goes above and beyond in looking out for their students—whether that’s helping them internalize lessons, deal with imposter syndrome, or overcome stress.
The bootcamp also spearheads initiatives within their community to encourage engagement and bonding among fellow students and graduates. Here, you can find parents, like you, who can share helpful tips in navigating participating in a bootcamp.
3. Assess the bootcamp’s estimated return on investment.
One factor that makes tech bootcamps so popular among upskillers and tech beginners is their affordability compared to traditional institutions. Case in point, US students spend an average of $25,487 per year when attending public schools, while bootcamps cost an average of about $11,272.
However, this may still be a significant amount of money with your family’s expenses in mind. While you may be tempted to go for less reputable bootcamps, you could potentially be sacrificing the quality of education you are getting.
As you narrow down your bootcamp choices, consider looking into bootcamps that offer a high return on investment (ROI). One way to assess this is by looking at your prospective bootcamp’s annual outcomes report.
In General Assembly’s outcomes report, over 70 percent of full-time career seekers landed jobs within 180 days after graduation. Graduates who have completed the immersive courses five years prior have also reported doubling their salary. Among the top hiring employers who trust General Assembly graduates are Adobe, Amazon, Google, and Visa.
4. Find a flexible program that fits your schedule.
Many bootcamps offer full-time tech programs that last between three and four months. With an accelerated format, you can get certified and start looking for a job as soon as possible.
But taking this route may mean allotting at least 10 hours of your time each day to your studies—a luxury that not many parents have. You will also have to factor in time spent on completing homework, projects, and reviewing lessons.
At General Assembly, you can enroll in flex immersive courses in Data Science, UX Design, and Software Engineering. These programs integrate similar curricula to the bootcamp’s full-time immersive courses but at a longer duration of 24 weeks.
Classes are also held in the evenings and weekends, which makes it easier for you to split your time between your daytime commitments and studies. The bootcamp’s flex immersive courses are accessible remotely.
Balancing Work and Family Life with General Assembly
Building a career and caring for your family does not have to be an either-or.
To date, hundreds of parents have graduated from General Assembly and have successfully transitioned into fulfilling roles, like Noemi Romero. After graduating from General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive in 2018, Noemi has since climbed up the ladder from her role as a software engineer to becoming a Co-Founder and the Director of Operations for a cannabis industry technology incubator.
If you’re still unsure, she advises, “[As parents,] there will never be a perfect time if that is what we wait for. We have to fight for our dreams, and we all deserve the chance at a better future…It is very hard to make a career change, but you are worth the hard work.”
It’s an exciting time to join the tech industry as thousands of fulfilling career opportunities have sprung up across the globe. With the help of General Assembly, it’s never too late to realize your dreams.
Get in touch with General Assembly and join the many parents who are successfully venturing into tech!
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.