Fact: A ‘Tech Returner’ is someone who has developed some years of experience in software engineering, taken a career break, and is now looking to return to a technical role long-term.
If you’re now reading this and realising that in fact, you are a Tech Returner, you may be feeling a bit disheartened after several attempts at trying to get back to what you love. You’re not alone. Many Returners experience hurdles and challenges trying to get back to their dream coding job after time out.
“By an overwhelming majority, I felt that no one really understood or appreciated what I had to offer. It was quite demoralising and demotivating at times because of the dichotomy in how I was perceived; either as a junior, that had to learn everything from scratch, or as a “dinosaur”, that lacked current skills and would be hard to train because of my career break.
The expectations that I had for myself in terms of remuneration and level at which to re-enter tech were seen as, to quote one person, ‘totally unrealistic’.”
– Charlie, Returner and Consultant Software Engineer @ Daemon
Let’s find out why 2023 is the perfect year for you to return to technology:
Life’s journey often leads us in different directions than we had planned. It’s so rare nowadays, particularly for women, to experience life and career in a straight, uninterrupted line. And that’s no bad thing, in fact, squiggly careers are jam-packed with new experiences, opportunities to build human skills, space to learn plus a lot of valuable self-discovery.
Whether you took time off to care for family, start a business, grieve, take care of your health or you just needed a break from the fast-paced tech world, we applaud your courage.
But now you’re ready to return to tech. Let’s find out why now is the time.
Shortage of experienced software engineers
One of the most compelling reasons to return to tech is the current scarcity of experienced software engineers. Employers are actively looking to bridge this gap, and you can be the perfect fit. Your previous experience will be invaluable, and your fresh insights can breathe new life into projects.
“The industry continues to face a struggle in filling skilled software development positions as we race to digitise the business world…”
– Casey McGuigan, Reveal and Slingshot product manager, stated in a 2023 tech article.
Diversity and Inclusion
The tech industry is making conscious efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion, and your return could play a crucial role in this transformation. Companies are eager to foster a diverse workforce, recognising the importance of varied perspectives and ideas in driving innovation that works for everyone.
Great examples of companies leading the way by putting words into action with initiatives that support diversity and inclusion are out there. A great example comes from Entain and McLaren’s 2023 6-month Returnship. The Returnship supports women back into technology and was partly delivered by our very own co-founder, Beckie Taylor whose focus was to reignite confidence and self-belief which is often half the journey! This Returnship compensated individuals for their time, offered flexibility, and hybrid options, allowing the women to fit the programme around their responsibilities.
Flexible work arrangements
In recent years – primarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic – the tech industry has witnessed a positive shift towards flexible work arrangements. Many companies now offer remote and hybrid work options, part-time roles, and job-sharing opportunities, making it easier for individuals returning from career breaks to find a balance between work and personal commitments.
Before making any final decisions, we strongly encourage you to ask questions about the flexibility and hybrid options available at the company you’re applying to. According to the CIPD’s ‘Flexible and hybrid working practices in 2023’ report, 83% of UK organisations have hybrid working in place and only 33% offer complete remote working – so investigate which company has the best working policies that work for you before investing too much time or energy. Remember, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you!
Worried that your skills might be outdated? We’ve got you! 2023 offers an abundance of upskilling and reskilling opportunities. You can enrol in workshops, bootcamps, Returner programmes and online courses tailored to meet the current standards of the industry. Refreshing your knowledge and acquiring new skills will boost your confidence and make you even more marketable.
Time out can cause imposter syndrome to creep in and that can impact your efforts, choices and decisions when looking to return to the industry. It’s not just about brushing up on your technical skills, it’s sometimes even more about building up your confidence again! So look into Confidence or Leadership or Personal Development programmes that help to bring out your self-belief and remind you of the value you bring.
“Tech Returners helped me to rebuild my confidence and embrace a growth attitude about my job and myself in everyday life as well: I have skills, I am passionate about software and I am willing to learn and improve everyday.”
– Laura, Returner and Software Engineer @ Booking.com
Returning to technology after a break might seem daunting, but you don’t have to do it alone. There are many supportive communities, both online and offline, that are ready to welcome you with open arms and provide the type of encouragement, advice and support you need when getting back to tech. Networking with like-minded individuals can be a great source of inspiration and encouragement, particularly for groups that are underrepresented in technology.
You’re not alone
The journey back to tech can be exciting, challenging, tiring but ultimately, when you get there, it’s rewarding. Whatever stage you’re at in your journey back to tech, you don’t have to go it alone. We exist to support people like you to return to the industry.
We’re here to help.
Ready to return to your software career?
We have a 13-week Java and Frontend programme in partnership with our hiring partner, BAE Systems Digital Intelligence. The best part? It’s completely free and you’re guaranteed a job interview with BAE Systems Digital Intelligence upon completion!
- 🚨 Application deadline: Sunday 30 July 2023 @ 23:59.
- 📆 Course start date: Monday 14 August 2023.
“The Tech Returners programme was an informative programme to learn the latest technology, and also refreshed my previous skills. It was an excellent chance to restart my career after a break. Apart from the technology, they boosted our confidence, and they also helped in all aspects of the interview process. The whole team was friendly and easy to approach for any help. It is a tremendous opportunity for returners like me.”
– Revathi, Returner and Software Engineer @ Booking.com