Why people change to a career in tech
Everyone has their own reasons for switching to tech. Teachers may want impactful jobs that pay more. Medical workers want a career that won’t burn them out. Waiters want to free themselves from the daily grind. Even some lawyers switch to tech for more flexible professional growth.
But in general, career changers look for two things:
Despite the recent tech layoffs, an IT career path is still a reliable way to ensure you’re employable. According to US News
, professions in the industry are some of the most secure, and software developer jobs are expected to grow 26%. In fact, they ranked software developer as their best job for 2023
Entry-level programming jobs pay more than comparable positions, and this helps improve quality of life. But new programming skills don’t only lead to a bigger paycheck. They also make your daily tasks more rewarding. For example, you can go from an overworked graphic designer to a fulfilled full-stack engineer
. In tech, you don’t always have to choose between making an impact or earning a good salary. You can do both.
Top tech careers
This job is what people think of when they first imagine a career in tech. Software engineers write the code that drives everything from thermostats to Mars rovers. They are the minds behind the apps we love. Because their skills apply in such a wide range of fields, software engineers are in high demand. For example, one of our grads is currently creating custom sites for artists. Another is using the same knowledge on a project that is helping students develop reading skills.
Wondering if a career as a software engineer is the path for you? You might be right for the job if you’re:
Data is everywhere. For a company to be successful, they have to know what to do with it. That’s where data scientists come in. They take data and straighten it out to usable strands. They then work with programming languages and statistics to create predictive models and algorithms. This is often done with machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Data science is a field that focuses on collaborating with software engineers. Data science jobs often ask for more advanced skills in math.
Just like AI, data scientist jobs are flourishing. A data scientist career might be perfect for you if you’re:
First, let’s clarify something: data scientist vs. data analyst. Data scientist jobs focus on developing predictive systems. Data analyst jobs focus on working with existing data to find trends and make recommendations.
In short, data analysis is the process of understanding data, gaining information from it, and supporting decision making. It involves data visualization, but it uses Python to automate data analysis. This makes it heavier on coding when compared to business intelligence.
Even in entry-level data analyst jobs, you will be a key team member. For example, you can ensure social media platforms stay welcoming.
Want to know how to become a data analyst? Curious if it’s the right path for you? We’ve found that people who excel in data engineer jobs are:
Business analytics jobs are like the other two data jobs mentioned above. At a basic level, all three are about data.
But business intelligence is more specific. It applies data analysis to business information. It focuses on reporting, data visualization, storytelling, and dashboards. It is geared toward assisting business decisions and strategy.
During a typical day, people working in business intelligence talk to stakeholders to determine business needs. Then, they apply frameworks to choose the best metrics/KPIs to ensure the needs are met. This often takes the form of marketing funnels and cohort analysis. Finally, they share results so their company can make better decisions.
Curious about pursuing an entry-level business analyst job? You might be the right fit if you’re:
When you use software, you want it to just work. Quality assurance experts make sure it does. They try to break the code to expose its weak points. This allows other team members to come in and fix vulnerabilities. This makes sure the program stays functional in the real world no matter what people do.
But QA is a wide field. In fact, it comes in two different versions, manual and automated QA. In manual QA, you test the software yourself. For example, you might enter letters in a field that should only take numbers. Then, you document what happens. Manual QA requires no coding whatsoever, making it an excellent first job in tech.
In automated QA, you write simple scripts to test the things it would be tedious or impossible to check manually - sending thousands of requests a minute to ensure code robustness, for example.
If you want to pursue a QA career, it might be for you if you’re:
Where can you work in tech?
Best cities for tech jobs
That’s a lot of data, we know. Here’s an index to simplify things. It shows the factor by which tech salaries exceed the cost of living in each city.
And finally, here’s how many vacancies are posted each month. For the hard data, check out the information below.
- San Jose, CA
Median tech salary: $153,640
Average tech salary: $74,671
Average salary in general: $87,275
Yearly cost of living: $61,549
Monthly vacancies: 4,232
X factor: The heart of silicon valley: tech heavyweights such as Apple, Cisco, Google, and Nvidia can be found here.
- San Francisco, CA
Median tech salary: $139,650
Average tech salary: $87,416
Average salary in general: $94,324
Yearly cost of living: $64,666
Monthly vacancies: 2,788
X factor: This major city is right next to Silicon Valley, making it a perfect location for urban techies.
- Austin, TX
Median tech salary: $139,110
Average tech salary: $75,272
Average salary in general: $68,060
Yearly cost of living: $38,002
Monthly vacancies: 2,460
X factor: HP, Tesla, and Oracle have relocated here from Silicon Valley.
- Seattle, WA
Median tech salary: $129,890
Average tech salary: $89,103
Average salary in general: $75,281
Yearly cost of living: $43,573
Monthly vacancies: 2,532
X factor: This city is where Amazon and Microsoft have their headquarters.
- Washington, DC
Median tech salary: $117,730
Average tech salary: $59,187
Average salary in general: $78,193
Yearly cost of living: $42,612
Monthly vacancies: 12,100
X factor: As it’s the capital, DC is a cybersecurity hotspot.
- New York, NY
Median tech salary: $115,680
Average tech salary: $55,744
Average salary in general: $76,339
Yearly cost of living: $78,524
Monthly vacancies: 18,408
X factor: Over 300,000 New Yorkers work in tech, and they earn 49% more than the average NYC resident.
- Boulder, CO
Median tech salary: $109,780
Average tech salary: $79,337
Average salary in general: $66,287
Yearly cost of living: $45,517
Monthly vacancies: 1,602
X factor: This city has a vibrant and booming startup community.
- Los Angeles, CA
Median tech salary: $104,580
Average tech salary: $53,957
Average salary in general: $67,668
Yearly cost of living: $76,710
Monthly vacancies: 10,681
X factor: This city ranks #2 in net tech employment. In fact, about 10% of the local workforce is in tech.
- Huntsville, AL
Median tech salary: $104,150
Average tech salary: $82,046
Average salary in general: $62,721
Yearly cost of living: $34,650
Monthly vacancies: 1,074
X factor: This city is the home of the country’s second-largest research park as well as the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.
- Raleigh, NC
Median tech salary: $102,640
Average tech salary: $80,134
Average salary in general: $70,966
Yearly cost of living: $40,379
Monthly vacancies: 1,799
X factor: Raleigh has lower operating costs for business as well as a rich history of research and innovation.
- Colorado Springs, CO
Median tech salary: $99,090
Average tech salary: $67,959
Average salary in general: $58,213
Yearly cost of living: $34,531
Monthly vacancies: 915
X factor: Colorado Springs has a unique tech innovation ecosystem that is powered by local research universities, government labs, and military bases.
- Dallas, TX
Median tech salary: $97,000
Average tech salary: $47,264
Average salary in general: $65,719
Yearly cost of living: $64,742
Monthly vacancies: 12,479
X factor: The city is very business-friendly, and 8.2% of the workforce is employed in tech.
- Chicago, IL
Median tech salary: $95,610
Average tech salary: $47,720
Average salary in general: $73,800
Yearly cost of living: $65,500
Monthly vacancies: 10,561
X factor: The Chicago metro area is home to 6,150 tech companies. In fact, 375 startups launched here in the past five years.
- San Diego, CA
Median tech salary: $88,708
Average tech salary: $41,415
Average salary in general: $69,133
Yearly cost of living: $79,324
Monthly vacancies: 3,594
X factor: This city hosts 108 AI unicorns. It is the sixth-fastest growing job market for tech.
- Provo, UT
Median tech salary: $84,650
Average tech salary: $76,401
Average salary in general: $50,522
Yearly cost of living: $34,535
Monthly vacancies: 300
X factor: There is a lively startup scene thanks to the city’s closeness to the emerging Silicon Slopes.
- Jacksonville, FL
Median tech salary: $83,082
Average tech salary: $44,297
Average salary in general: $57,407
Yearly cost of living: $33,869
Monthly vacancies: 4,041
X factor: According to Bloomberg, Jacksonville is the fourth most popular destination for tech workers because of its quality of life.
- Philadelphia, PA
Median tech salary: $79,881
Average tech salary: $44,619
Average salary in general: $70,312
Yearly cost of living: $61,678
Monthly vacancies: 5,278
X factor: The factories that defined this city are being transformed into tech havens, lending the city a unique flare.
- Phoenix, AZ
Median tech salary: $77,308
Average tech salary: $45,309
Average salary in general: $63,798
Yearly cost of living: $65,670
Monthly vacancies: 4,614
X factor: This city is where Amazon, Intel, Infosys, and PayPal all have offices.
- San Antonio, TX
Median tech salary: $76,183
Average tech salary: $43,051
Average salary in general: $52,163
Yearly cost of living: $59,270
Monthly vacancies: 5,907
X factor: San Antonio is a hotbed for cybersecurity. It has seen almost 80% growth in tech jobs.
- Houston, TX
Median tech salary: $73,541
Average tech salary: $50,315
Average salary in general: $60,442
Yearly cost of living: $62,260
Monthly vacancies: 5,255
X factor: Houston ranked #2 in the list of places where tech talent most wanted to relocate.
Best states for tech jobs
It is no surprise that the biggest states have the most tech jobs. However, opportunities to increase your income by changing to a career in tech can be found in every state. Here are the top ones.
Like above, here’s an index to simplify the data:
Also as above, here is a comparison of vacancies posted.
Average tech salary for 2021: $116,820
Average salary in general: $61,290
Yearly cost of living: $92,093
Vacancies in March 2023: 38,877
X factor: Software engineer salaries in California aren’t the only thing making this state attractive. Silicon Valley is well-known for tech jobs, but California also has opportunities elsewhere throughout the state.
Average tech salary for 2021: $107,130
Average salary in general: $56,740
Yearly cost of living: $68,802
Vacancies in March 2023: 20,088
X factor: The closeness to the US capital means that there are numerous cybersecurity companies looking for coders.
Average tech salary for 2021: $105,400
Average salary in general: $65,680
Yearly cost of living: $100,191
Vacancies in March 2023: 10,854
X factor: As the state where you can find both Harvard and MIT, Massachusetts is bursting with tech talent.
Average tech salary for 2021: $105,150
Average salary in general: $60,230
Yearly cost of living: $82,991
Vacancies in March 2023: 11,879
X factor: The University of Maryland is famous as a center for discovery and innovation.
- New York
Average tech salary for 2021: $103,280
Average salary in general: $63,970
Yearly cost of living: $90,018
Vacancies in March 2023: 15,543
X factor: Software engineer salaries in New York are quite high. In fact, great tech jobs can be found throughout the state — not only in New York City.
Average tech salary for 2021: $93,960
Average salary in general: $50,490
Yearly cost of living: $61,908
Vacancies in March 2023: 29,263
X factor: Software engineer salaries in Texas make this a state worth considering. Just compare how much coders earn with the relatively low cost of living. In addition, the local energy industry is always looking for programmers.
Average tech salary for 2021: $93,320
Average salary in general: $55,130
Yearly cost of living: $61,975
Vacancies in March 2023: 13,734
X factor: The Chicago metropolitan area is the third largest in the country. That means there are numerous exciting opportunities for tech experts.
- North Carolina
Average tech salary for 2021: $91,920
Average salary in general: $48,550
Yearly cost of living: $64,050
Vacancies in March 2023: 12,169
X factor: A tech epicenter since the 50’s, North Carolina is still making an impact thanks to The Research Triangle, which connects several large universities.
Average tech salary for 2021: $91,510
Average salary in general: $49,620
Yearly cost of living: $59,298
Vacancies in March 2023: 12,575
X factor: Georgia is often called “The Tech Capital of the South” since it is where you can find offices for Visa, Google, and Microsoft.
Average tech salary for 2021: $82,810
Average salary in general: $44,750
Yearly cost of living: $68,802
Vacancies in March 2023: 15,300
X factor: In 2021, Florida led the country in new tech companies. Aerospace manufacturing can be found in Jacksonville, and in Gainesville, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is applying artificial intelligence to agriculture.
What about remote tech jobs?
For many jobs in tech, location isn’t important because remote work has become so common. You can find remote data analyst jobs, remote software engineering jobs, and remote technical recruiter jobs. If you have an internet connection, a computer, and the right skills, your career can flourish. In addition, working from home eliminates commutes. That means you can spend more time with your family. This freedom has also given many people in tech the opportunity to start a family, too. In fact, tech is the most remote-friendly industry. According to one study
, 35% of new jobs in tech were open to remote work as opposed to the across-the-board average of 27%.
How much do coders make?
Here are the salaries you can expect as a junior software engineer or an entry-level data analyst.
Data without context is meaningless, though. To make things clearer, we’ve chosen a few other industries to compare against. This will give you an idea of where you can find the highest-paying entry-level jobs as well as the senior-level salaries you can earn later.
We realize this might look a little dicey for tech. We’d just like to point out that TripleTen grads earn a median of $75,000.
Salaries by location
Average tech salary
Average salary overall
Median tech salary
San Jose, CA
San Francisco, CA
New York, NY
Los Angeles, CA
Colorado Springs, CO
San Diego, CA
San Antonio, TX
See all states
District of Columbia
*The discrepancy between this salary and the one mentioned in the previous list comes down to different sources
using their own methods of extracting data.
When is the right time to change careers?
If you’re asking yourself, “Should I quit my job?”, that might mean the right time is now. But we don’t know your specific situation, so here’s some general advice.
In a few words: you don’t have to. If you want to start pursuing a career in tech, you can gain new skills part-time. Bootcamps such as TripleTen offer flexible tech education so you can keep your job while studying to change your career.
But ultimately, this is a deeper question than “Do I have the time to study?” From our perspective, if you dread going to work, despise your tasks, and the only thing holding you back from changing is uncertainty about such a significant shift, you might benefit from honest reflection. If your answer to “Why am I still working at my job?” no longer satisfies you, and you want more, bootcamps can help you find the career you’re looking for.
Graduating high school: should I go to college or enroll in a bootcamp?
This is a time when everyone wonders, What should I do with my life?
It’s a good question. The average college education costs $35,551 per year. While the degree does help college grads earn more than people who have only a high school diploma, enrolling in a bootcamp is even more lucrative - 12% more lucrative
, specifically. But let’s pause for a moment. Yes, we’re proud of our bootcamp. Yes, we think you should join it, and 87% of our students do go on to find jobs within six months of graduation.
College is about more than better job prospects, though. It gives people the context and unexpected knowledge that make them better-informed members of their communities. If college is unrealistic for you or if you simply don’t want to take on the burden of time and debt associated with it, trade schools and bootcamps can teach you the skills you need to ensure you’re employable far into the future.
Changing careers at 25
You’ve found yourself in a quarter-life crisis. You’ve got student debt that your mind-numbing entry-level job is just barely covering. You feel like your professional prospects are almost nil. If you’re thinking about switching careers, you’re in good company. Thirty percent of 25-year-olds have considered pursuing new careers. In fact, the average age of TripleTen students is between 24 and 38. Once you do switch, your prospects improve. According to Zippia
, the average person in this age range increases their salary by 9.8%.
Changing careers at 40
At this stage of your career, you might have more hesitation about changing. However, people who switch their careers in their 40s still see an average pay increase of 7.5%. In addition, considering a career change at this stage is more common than you might think. In total, 21% of respondents in this age range said that they’re thinking about switching their career.
Changing careers after 50
Only 12% of people over 50 said they’re considering a career change. However, the data show that when they decide to go for it, they also earn a 7.5% salary increase. Second careers after 50 aren’t as frightening as you might think. At this point in your career, you have a wealth of experience, and it can be valuable to any new place you might join. Just choose the path you want to take, plan how you’re going to follow it, and put in the work. You don’t even have to quit your job.
For many industries, getting a well-paid job without experience is a non-starter. However, in tech, if you’ve got the skills, you can get that coveted position. You just have to take the first step: joining an IT bootcamp.
Bootcamps are focused training programs that teach you the skills you need to land a job in tech. Many of them don’t have any physical classrooms or admin buildings and occur entirely online. This education differs among different bootcamps, though. Some provide broad but surface-level instruction. Others focus on fully exploring single languages. A few split the difference to make sure their graduates start their first jobs in tech with diverse but robust skills.
Many also claim that they can teach you a full language or specialization in a few months. However, the time demands can be daunting. For these programs, studying is a full-time job. And even after spending your day studying, you might have to also complete assignments or take part in extracurricular career prep.
If you can dedicate all your time to a bootcamp and you want to stuff as much information into your brain as quickly as possible, full-time might be for you. If not, there are other options.
Some programs allow people to learn without asking for all of their attention and time. Instead of a full-time information blitz, you study more flexibly. Instruction is organized into two- to three-week sprints. During these sprints, students learn practical coding skills, interact with peers to share obstacles and solutions, and take on progressively more in-depth challenges. These sprints have goals, but how and when you achieve them is up to you. This mirrors how things are done in the tech industry.
Still, this is a significant commitment. You will have projects to complete and new knowledge to digest. We’re not going to promise that you can put your laptop under your pillow and wake up an AI engineer. But if you come into part-time bootcamps with a clear understanding of what’s expected, you don’t have to give in your two weeks’ notice or ship your kids to grandma’s. In fact, we have some tips on maintaining a healthy balance
Once you master your new coding skills, bootcamps can still help. A good bootcamp will prepare you for data analyst internships or front end developer jobs - whatever path you want to pursue. They will show you how to write a convincing cover letter and compelling resume. In addition, they’ll help you assemble an impressive portfolio. Then, they’ll help train your one-on-one skills in mock technical interviews.
Some bootcamps even offer personalized coaching. This makes them so confident in their career placement that they offer a complete money-back guarantee if grads don’t find a job within six months of finishing the program. If you want to know more, we go into further detail in this article
Learn now, pay when you get the job
Many bootcamps allow you to defer tuition until you land a better job. In most cases, the only outlay expected upfront is the enrollment fee. Then, after you start earning more in your new career in tech, you can begin covering the cost of the bootcamp that got you there. Often, bootcamps offer flexible plans that ensure you can enjoy the fruits of your labor while also paying back tuition. Naturally, there are other payment options available, too - installments during the program, tuition paid in full, etc. - whatever works best for you. In addition, if you don’t find a job within six months of completing the bootcamp, you can sometimes get a full refund for the cost of the bootcamp.
If you want to pursue data analyst jobs, we can help. If you want to pursue data scientist jobs, we can also help. TripleTen can give you the skills you need to power your career change. If you want to know how to become a software engineer, how to become a data analyst, or how to switch to a career in tech, we can show you.
So if you got all the way down here and you’re thinking about really giving a bootcamp a shot, check us out here
Want to see what path is right for you? Take our career quiz