Wednesday, September 27, 2023

300,000 new six-figure jobs, no ‘genius’ required

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You don’t need to be a genius to develop computer programs

Everywhere Frank Van Sant looks, he sees software. Many people rarely stop to notice that their day-to-day lives rely on computers, all of which need programs to function. Software is in phones and vehicles, homes and businesses.

The ubiquity of computers in the modern world was the main driver of Van Sant’s decision to enroll in a university software development program.

It’s also why software development is among the fastest-growing professions in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the software development field is expected to add nearly 300,000 jobs through 2026, representing an increase of almost a quarter of the current workforce.

The profession can also be lucrative. Median compensation is over $100,000, according to the BLS.

Many of the people who enter the field of software development do so as a second act. Van Sant, 33, was an automotive technician before deciding that he needed a change in his life and beginning classes for software development. He said that many of the people who enter the field are former service members who are transitioning to civilian life.

Van Sant, like many of his classmates, decided to pursue meaningful work that blended an inherent interest in computers with a desire to help others by making the digital world run more smoothly.

A variety of muses guided potential software developers into the profession. For Van Sant, a lifelong affinity for gaming cultivated a desire to express his creativity in programming. “My first console was an Atari 2600,” he said.

But programming has come quite a long way since those pixelated days of Atari. “Software development is a pretty big umbrella,” said Van Sant, involving everything from web development and websites for computers, to managing servers and databases.

To some this may sound like complex tasks, although Van Sant said that people sometimes have the wrong idea about what it takes to enter the field. “People assume you need to be a genius to be a computer programmer, but that is completely untrue,” he said. “You need to have some math skills, but for the most part it’s about learning a new language.”

And like a new language, software development is best mastered through immersion – regular, hands-on encounters with the skills necessary to ply the trade. Van Sant is among hundreds of students who have found this course of instruction at ECPI University.

“With ECPI’s software development program, there’s hardly a day where you’re not actively working on an exercise program based on what you’ve just learned,” said Van Sant.

Van Sant is pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer and Information Science, with a major in Software Development, a fast-track program that can be completed in 2 ½ years. He said that he is optimistic about what’s in store because he is learning skills that will only become more versatile and relevant as the world becomes increasingly connected.

“As long as the world is software-based, there’s always a future in this,” he said.

This article was sponsored by ECPI University Software Development Program, offering a bachelor of science degree in Computer and Information Science that can be completed in 2.5 years.

To speak directly with an Admissions Representative at ECPI University Virginia Beach, please contact Scott Golden, Director of Admissions, to discuss degree and continuing education programs.

Scott can be reached at 757-517-3903 or

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