The holiday season is coming up, which for recent college graduates means the dreaded line of questioning from family members: what are you doing now that you have graduated?

 

That answer often depends on what you studied while in school. If you are like most people you probably opted for a major in the liberal arts discipline, which, according to research by the National Center of Educational Statistics, is one of the top three areas of study for college graduates in the U.S. Unfortunately, that also means you are 20 percent more likely to be underemployed – not exactly what you want to tell your aunts and uncles at the dinner table.

 

In a study conducted by Burning Glass Technologies and AEI, researchers found that while liberal arts majors provide students with useful skills in critical thinking and communication, they often lack specific technical skills that employers want to see from applicants, resulting in thousands of students coming out of college without meaningful career prospects or a way to market themselves to employers.

 

One of the most valuable skills that students can learn to compete in the modern job market is computer coding. Computer coding impacts nearly everything in our economy: computers, phones, cars, manufacturing machines, medical devices, and more. As technology continues to grow and innovate, America will need more coders, giving students the opportunity to find meaningful work in a variety of fields.

 

However, you don’t have to go back to your alma mater for another four years of education to become a coder. Our economy is changing thanks to technological advances, and new opportunities are forming to prepare students to engage in the coding and technology industry.

 

As my fellow RedState contributor, Katlyn Batts notes, “Coding bootcamps, which are short-term courses that teach computer coding to students, are popping up around the country and are pioneering a new model in the education space.”

 

DevCodeCamp in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is an excellent example of a successful coding bootcamp. At devCodeCamp, students can sign up for programs that turn them into expert coders in just a few months, for a significantly cheaper price than traditional four-year educational institutions. And if housing or relocation is an issue, devCodeCamp lets students stay on campus for free for the duration of the program.

 

For many people, attending a coding bootcamp is preferable to a liberal arts degree because the market for liberal arts majors is largely oversaturated – meaning that if you want to secure a good-paying job, you need to find a way to separate yourself from the pack. The market for coders is only going to continue to grow, so having the necessary skills in coding from schools, like devCodeCamp, is an efficient way to find the perfect job.

 

By learning how to code, recent graduates from bootcamps, such as devCodeCamp, not only increase their chance of getting hired, but they can also strengthen their earning power in a substantial way.

 

Over 93% of all devCodeCamp graduates find work upon graduation from devCodeCamp, and are making an average starting salary of $50,000 a year – a lot more than many liberal arts majors can hope to make in their first gig. And the prospects going forward are bright for students graduating from schools like devCodeCamp. That same study by Burning Glass showed that in five years, many programmers will earn around $83,000 annually, with most software developers making six figures, according to US News.

 

Finding the right career can be tough for recent college graduates, but it doesn’t have to be. There is high demand out there for skilled workers, especially in the technology sector. Learning to code at a place like devCodeCamp will make you a job-ready expert, and maybe even save you from the dreaded judgment of your extended family during the holidays.

 

Zach Almond is the former Chair of the North Carolina Federation of College Republicans and the founder of Uwharrie Consulting.