Which ACA track is right for you?
If you’re considering making the leap into a career in coding, there are so many factors to consider: should I get a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or enroll in a coding school? Should I take an online class, an in-person class, or a remote class? And what language or specialty should I invest my time in learning?
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at each track, including general salary ranges, career outlooks, online communities, and job titles.
Caution: Don’t only consider salary and hiring outlook
It’s tempting to lean heavily on salary data when choosing a coding language or specialty. But since your career takes up most of your waking hours, it’s important to consider which one will be most personally fulfilling and interesting to you.
When looking at salary data on websites like Glassdoor and Payscale, you may notice a huge range of possible salaries. This is because, even with the same job title, there can be a lot of variation in job responsibilities and seniority. The best way to increase your salary potential is to be a key player on whatever team you end up on.
That’s why it’s so important to choose a track you’re passionate about; your interest in your work will give you the motivation to go above and beyond what’s asked and expected of you.
Range: $51k - $120k
Average: $75k - $100k
Starting Average: $60k - $70k
Example job titles
- Full-stack website developer
- App developer
- Website admin
- Quality assurance automation specialist
C# is an open-source Microsoft programming language. It’s a high-level language, which means it can handle a lot of the nitty-gritty technical stuff for you. Since C# is “static,” much of the code is explicit and clearly defined.
This static nature of C# makes it easy to understand at a glance, and is why it’s the go-to choice for projects that need consistency, simplicity, and scale. C# is also a fast language to run, which makes it a great candidate for programming video games through the Unity engine.
If developing games or consistent code snippets sounds appealing to you, C# may be a good choice. It’s also certain to provide you with robust job opportunities and community.
Range: $45k - $120k
Average: $70k - $95k
Starting: $60k - $70k
Example job titles
- Full-stack web developer
- Windows app developer
- Information security specialist
- C#.net developer
- Database manager
- Unreal developer
UX (user experience) is a true fusion of art and science. UX professionals use data to make products and websites people will love. ACA students in this track also learn how to build a personal brand, get clients, and start a successful freelance business. This is a great choice if you’re interested in human-centric design and/or have the desire to start your own freelance business.
UX (at least by this title) is a new and growing field. Many companies are starting to realize the importance of creating customer-centric designs. With this skill set in such high demand, hiring will be competitive (read: higher salaries!).
Range: $69k - $120k
Average: $72k - $99k
Starting: $61 - $80k
As consumers continue to interact with more complicated technologies, the need for UX designers will increase. The hottest new trends for UX design will be with voice recognition software, smart technology, and virtual reality platforms. The UX design job market is projected to grow by up to 30% in the next few years.
The community for UX design is a lot different from the typical web developer communities, but is still very active. With so much excitement around this future of this field, there are new groups popping up all the time. Here is a list of top UX communities.
Example job titles
- UX Designer (or UX Architect)
- UX Engineer
- UI/UX Developer
- UX Researcher
- User Interface Designer
- Product Designer
Learn transferrable skills
These interdisciplinary skills will help you impress hiring managers and improve your value when you start working with your new team.
Use these resources to help you decide
Taking in all this information can feel like drinking water from a firehose. A great next step in your research process is to speak with real-life developers already in the field.
Here are some resources to connect you with working programmers:
- Hear from former students: Stephanie, Lillian, Jon.
- Go to local coding events to pick the brains of other developers and/or to get some hands-on experience.
- Subscribe to the ACA blog to learn about the industry and see student stories.
Experience all three tracks with ACA’s Web 101 class
Many other programs expect students to choose an area of specialization right away. At Austin Coding Academy, we understand that a little bit of exposure to all your options will help make your decision more clear. That’s why we cover the basics of all three tracks in our intro to web class.
This intro course is great for the brand new student, all the way up to the student who’s dabbled with a few online tutorials. The ACA curriculum will solidify your coding knowledge, and our staff will provide you with the resources to help you land your dream job.
If you know you want to start working towards an amazing coding career, don't put it off. Let us answer your questions or come tour the campus. See how ACA can help you on your path towards an exciting and rewarding career.
Already convinced? Apply today!