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Image: Pexels / Lukas

The barriers to entering a tech career are lowering

Prof Rachid Hourizi
February 29, 2024

With the tech industry moving at such a rapid pace, young people would be forgiven for being unsure about how they can best embark on a career in the sector. New developments in artificial intelligence (AI) – and the creation of previously unheard-of job titles at innovative companies across the country – no doubt create a mix of excitement and uncertainty.

But for those who have an interest in creating engaging social media content, video games, or anyone interested in one of the 80 per cent of jobs which include digital skills, a career in tech may be a fantastic way to convert what was previously an interest into highly paid and highly skilled employment.

To fully equip the next generation to embrace these opportunities of the future, we need to rapidly ramp up the country’s digital skills capacity, creating a technologically minded workforce which is equipped to thrive in a digital led economy and able to compete on the global stage.

We need to rapidly ramp up the country’s digital skills capacity Quote

The Institute of Coding is a collaborative effort, with industry names, educators and outreach providers working together to respond to this digital skills gap.

Whether people want to gain new skills, or prepare for a career, we have a range of flexible, digital skills courses available – arming learners with the skills they need to thrive in a tech-based career.

Earlier this month, we released our research into young people’s perceptions of the tech industry, and crucially for those who might want to be a part of the industry, how they can get ahead. The findings from the 18 to 24-year-olds we polled were fascinating.

Careers in tech can certainly be very rewarding and young people are extremely cognisant of this. More than half (57 per cent) of young people told us they believe learning new digital skills sets them on the way to better paid work. And they’re right.

However, there are some perceptions that the industry needs to dispel. Close to half (47 per cent) of our 18 to 24-year-old respondents said they’re pessimistic about the UK job market and that the financial costs, and time commitments, involved in developing their digital skills are too high.

These assumptions couldn’t be further from the truth. With more than 870,000 vacancies across the UK tech sector, there are plenty of jobs available, and flexible, short-course digital skills programmes are one way to ensure people have the skills to fill them.

The Institute of Coding’s approach gives us a broad reach across the population – young and old; rural and urban; tech-familiar and technophobe – with access to skills through free programmes.

Our work around the country has seen more than one million learners benefiting from free, digital skills courses so far.

There are thousands of places available to young people who are looking to supercharge their digital skills in a way that suits them.

Contrary to the belief of some two-in-five (42 per cent) young people polled, you don’t need a university degree to enter the tech industry. The Institute of Coding’s learner success stories are no clearer demonstration of that.

Signposting young people to this highly effective programme of hybrid digital skills learning is a sure way to build up their tech confidence and knowledge, as well as their CV.

With such exciting opportunities across the industry on the horizon, there’s never been an easier way for the next generation of creative tech minds to develop their skills and achieve their career goals.

Prof Rachid Hourizi 2

Professor Rachid Hourizi is Director of the Institute of Coding, based at the University of Bath.

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