A Comprehensive Guide to IT Reskilling

A person learning technology with a huge setup.

A Comprehensive Guide to IT Reskilling

In the midst of economic ambiguity, individuals are enticed with the need for a career pivot. Many self-proclaimed “experts” advocate reskilling for a future in IT as the antidote to career uncertainties.

Adopting a reporter’s mindset, committed to providing information even to those who may not seek it, I will guide you onto an exploration of the Why, the How, and the Where of reskilling in the realm of Information and Communication Technology.

You, dear reader, are the Who in this narrative, poised at the forefront of this transformative journey. The When is undeniably now, as the present demands speed and adaptability. And the What? Well, if I am convincing enough, that will be OutSystems, the present and future of programming and the best decision you ever made.

Why this frenzy about programming?

When jobs are lacking, it is bad for the unemployed. Unemployment becomes the awkward third wheel in the relationship between people and their bills. They complain but reluctantly run into the arms of any job just to make ends meet. What one can do is help them find something. But when workers lack for the open positions, it is both terrible for the company owners (not enough workers means lower quality, slower production, greater risks, and an hefty check for the magicians that somehow make it work) and terrible for the workers, drowning in tasks like they’re trying to juggle flaming torches while riding a unicycle on a tightrope. This makes everyone more invested into bringing extra people to that circus.

Sometimes it happens naturally. A new field is discovered, new positions are created, some people adapt to them and start training others for it as the needs increase. Universities create new degrees aligned with market demands and society moves on. Even if after some years that curriculum seems like your favourite outfit: still great for you but outdated to the eyes of the world.

With ICT the story wasn’t different. In the early days, it was an evolution of math as computers were just glorified calculators and programmers were the unsung heroes who spoke the secret language of the machines. With time programmers started to create languages farther from machine and closer to natural languages and that niche became its own world for a new subculture. Slowly, society got used to computers but still saw the IT people as a class of their own – “the nerds”. In popular culture they were mixed with the geeks and it made the career not attractive for many. It is amazing how the media can influence career trends faster than the demand for specific skills.

Just like in 1943 the chairman of IBM said, “I think there’s a world market for maybe five computers”, in the early 2000 a naïve me predicted a stagnation in the needs for programmers. I was a CS student by then and didn’t care much about finding a plan B, but the future was bleak. Most software had already been done and it was getting easier to program by the day. Soon everything would be done, right? I couldn’t be further from the truth. The software market is a never-ending party, and programming is the VIP pass. Not only I found a blooming market for me, but my younger brothers (by different paths) followed in my footsteps. The curve was only starting and despite the many programs that came before me, I may still retire without seeing the end of it. Somehow, not only companies wanted more, but individuals created new businesses completely digital, speeding the transformation of society like nothing before. The .com bubble was just an hiccup in the growth that the 90’s started.

Companies still need more people. Universities can’t train enough people. Technology is evolving by the day (for the past year with a meaning everyone can see) and one way or the other, there will be jobs for those that can communicate with the machine. Either in Cobol, Java, Python or low code.

So put on the Sorting Hat and let’s see if this is the place for you.

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