The First Run of the Ladder is Too High and That's a Problem For Everyone.
Once you get into it, software engineering is an opportunity-filled industry with ample room for advancement and growth. The demand for software engineers is high and likely will be for some time.
But, we have a growing problem in the industry. There are too many juniors competing for a handful of opportunities, and at the same time, too few senior developers to meet the industry demand.
Becoming a software engineer is hard.
It’s tough to get your foot in the door in the industry. Once you do, you will have ample opportunity, but no one wants to give you your first job. Few people want to take a risk on an unproven developer. To get a job, you need to have job experience.
To be valuable as a software engineer, you have to learn a reasonably daunting set of skills. You will likely have to learn many different languages, frameworks, and tools to be moderately valuable to any company. Even if you have these skills, you’ll need experience, projects, and accomplishments to put on a resume if you want to be hired.
Getting to the first rung of the ladder is hard. Unfortunately, because of that, we’re losing out on potential developers who are overwhelmed and never get the chance to rise through the ranks.
Without prior experience, you’re likely to drain resources and cost the company more than you produce. So it’s far more cost-efficient to hire senior or intermediate developers who can start contributing value right away. In addition, if they spend the resources training you, then you’re likely to migrate to another company for a higher salary. But when enough companies think that way, the industry eats itself.
That’s not just a problem for people trying to get into programming. That’s a problem for our whole industry. If we don’t train beginners into juniors and juniors into intermediates, then there won’t be enough intermediate and senior developers to go around.
This problem hurts everyone.
Companies are left overbidding for the small pool of developers who make it to seniorhood. Seniors then get paid more but also take on more hours which ultimately contributes to a workaholic culture.
Companies and software developers have a problem to solve. How do we make it easier to break into programming so that more people can start climbing?