Do you really need coding on your CV to get a job?

Anyone who has entered the job market in the past decade will have been told one bit of advice from well-meaning strangers: ‘learn to code’.

While Gen Z-ers have been blessed with basic coding classes in school, it’s been up to anyone older to learn this skill off their own back – only to then be told that this is something that needs to be on their CV.

It’s enough to prompt panic, despair, and a lot of questions. Do you really need to be a coding whizz to get a job these days? Are you doomed to rejections if it isn’t listed on your CV? Should you invest in a special course, and will this get the offers rolling in?

The answers all depend on what you want to do, career-wise.

Think about it. If you’re keen to get into the world of website creation or something tech-y, coding will be a pretty important skill. If you’re in training to be a pastry chef, however, who cares if you can’t code if your croquembouche is cracking?

This means that you don’t need to worry that being unable to code leaves you unable to land a job – unless coding is a vital part of the role you’re after, it’s more of a ‘nice to have’ rather than a ‘need to have’.

But that ‘nice to have’ element shouldn’t be sniffed at. Even if you’re not trying to become a software engineer, if you can be bothered to learn some coding, this could pay off career-wise.

For one thing, having coding listed as one of your skills could be one advantage that puts you ahead of other candidates.

‘Listing coding on your LinkedIn profile or CV can be very appealing to potential employers as the benefits of being able to code are extremely broad,’ says LinkedIn careers expert Charlotte Davies. ‘Coding requires problem solving and logic skills which are highly sought after for many roles, and transferable to many other career options beyond tech specialist roles.

‘Candidates with coding skills referenced on their profile will no doubt demonstrate their ability to look at complex information and reimagine it in a coherent and succinct way.’

Plus, many jobs are becoming more digitally focused – a role that might not immediately seem like it needs coding skills could see you benefit from having them.

Kim Connor Striech, marketing director at graduate app Debut, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘We all know that technology is everything, and careers are going to increasingly revolve around innovation.

‘With this, coding could open various doors with opportunities which you perhaps wouldn’t have had otherwise. You would be a valuable resource to any employer and even find yourself having a skill that no one else in house would have.’

What jobs genuinely need coding as a skill?

Kim tells us: ‘There are specific roles that coding is beneficial for, such as: a software application developer, a web developer, a computer systems engineer, a database administrator, a computer systems analyst, a software quality assurance engineer, a business intelligence analyst, a computer programmer and finally a network system administrator.

‘With that being said there are some other similar industries that may require you to dabble in a bit of coding, including: marketing, graphic design and many other digital industries – therefore having coding skills may improve your job prospects.’

Even when the skill isn’t directly relevant, coding can often be one of the things employers are looking out for as a way to narrow down a list of candidates.

Through analysing job adverts in 2021, research by Debut found that coding ranked at position 18 in the list of most in-demand skills of 2021. Relatedly, ‘data’ was number one. Clearly, some tech knowhow will always be a good thing when it comes to the job hunt.

It’s also worth keeping your mind open to coding not only as a tick-box exercise to appeal to recruiters, but as something you might find genuinely interesting.

Who knows – you might find that getting to grips with the basics makes you want to delve deeper into an entirely new field.

If that’s the case, you could end up making quite a bit of cash…

‘Software development is actually reported to be the fastest growing industry in the UK,’ says Kim. ‘Not only this, but there is an international shortage of coders in the job market.’

The overall message, though, is not to panic too much if you aren’t a coder – as long as you don’t dream of working directly in this sphere.

If it’s an area you’re genuinely interested in, go for it as an enjoyable opportunity to learn. Once you’ve got coding on your CV, you might see some more interest from potential employers.

But your career prospects are not wrecked just because you never learned to code. Remain calm.

Kim says: ‘Although coding is an excellent extra skill to have and although the digital world is booming, unless you see yourself looking to enter the computer and digital industry there should be no worries if you haven’t learned to code.

‘Even with that, if you are entering the digital industry, but not in a specific coding role, the chances are you won’t ever need to do it and it won’t be something your employers are looking for – so your career in the industry will not be destined for a dead-end.’

September 13-19 is National Coding Week, an initiative run by volunteers to help adults and children learn digital skills. To find out more, click here.

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