Monday, September 26, 2022
Home Covid-19 Pandemic pivot: From bartender to coder with just three months of school

Pandemic pivot: From bartender to coder with just three months of school

The earlier phase of the pandemic was a rough ride for Maggie DeVito. The 26-year old Vancouver-based former bartender says she was out of work for months amid repeated restaurant shutdowns and COVID-19 restrictions.

So when her former employer had to temporarily lay her off again after the summer of 2020, she started thinking about a radical career change, she says.

Roughly a year later, DeVito is working as a full-stack developer for a record label, working on the company’s site and building and designing websites for its artists as well.

The job is “super interesting,” she says. “And I get a little sneak peek into the music industry.”

Read more:
After pandemic job upheaval some women are carving new careers — with power tools

Story continues below advertisement

Her hourly pay has jumped to $25 an hour before tax, a significant increase from the $15-$20 an hour with tips she used to make as a bartender. And unlike her previous job, there is no uncertainty about how much she’ll earn every week.

Even better, DeVito was able to pull off the dramatic professional pivot with just three months of schooling.








COVID-19: Women make pandemic pivot into skilled trades


COVID-19: Women make pandemic pivot into skilled trades


‘We’ve doubled our student base’

Robert Furtado, who heads CourseCompare, a website that compares courses and training programs in a variety of industries, says his staff often hear from prospective job-switchers who assume they’ll need a four-year degree in computer science to land a job in tech.

Story continues below advertisement

“The reality is, if you’re interested in becoming a web developer, for example, you should pursue all avenues,” Furtado says.

These days, that includes free online learning options on YouTube; GitHub, the open-source software development community; and coding boot camps, a new breed of post-secondary school that promises to churn out office-ready IT workers in just a few months.

The latter is what DeVito did, enrolling in a 12-week web-developer course at Lighthouse Labs that started in January. Within a few months of finishing school she landed the job at the record company, she says.

Read more:
There are plenty of jobs out there. Why aren’t Canadians filling them?

The shortage of IT workers in Canada, which was already acute before the pandemic, has become even more severe, says Jonathan Ward, president of tech-focused recruiting and staffing agency Ward Technology Talent.

“In the past 20 years, this is the craziest I’ve seen it in terms of the shortage of workers,” he says.

Some companies recruiting for mid- and senior-level positions have had to shorten their hiring cycle to five business days to be able to snatch up in-demand candidates, he says.

And salaries are so competitive that some IT candidates with coveted skills are commanding salaries that are higher than what their own hiring managers make, he adds.

Story continues below advertisement


Click to play video: 'Employers feeling the pinch as balance of power shifts to employees'







Employers feeling the pinch as balance of power shifts to employees


Employers feeling the pinch as balance of power shifts to employees – Jul 9, 2021

“The pandemic has clearly accelerated our use of digital technologies for everything from banking to shopping for groceries,” Furtado says. And that has sent companies in virtually every industry scrambling to beef up their IT staff.

Because of the shortage, firms are also more prepared to hire entry-level candidates, Shaki says.

“Beforehand there (were) a lot of companies that (would) still wait to find that one magic person that they (could) find at the price point they (wanted). And now companies are coming up with much better staffing solutions that include retaining and training younger entry-level talent and helping them move forwards,” he says.

Furtado says many large employers in both the private and public sectors have dropped degree requirements for a number of IT positions.

But the pandemic is also drawing more workers to the tech sector.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more:
‘Discouraged.’ Despite labour shortage, it’s tough to get a job if you’re 55 or older

At CourseCompare web traffic related to technology careers and courses was up 178 per cent in September 2021 compared to the same month in 2019, according to Furtado.

And enrolments have soared throughout the pandemic at Lighthouse Labs, according to Shaki.

“We’ve doubled our student base since the beginning of 2020,” he says.

Shaki attributes that at least in part to the fact that Lighthouse Labs was quick to establish a COVID-19 Relief Scholarship for workers affected by the job losses linked to the pandemic.


Click to play video: 'Canada’s job seekers may have upper hand amid labour squeeze'







Canada’s job seekers may have upper hand amid labour squeeze


Canada’s job seekers may have upper hand amid labour squeeze – Sep 10, 2021

Since March 2020, the company says it has made $1 million in scholarship funding available to students. Currently, it offers $750 toward its part-time course and $3,000 toward its full-time programs, according to its website. The courses cost up to $13,000 for a full-time, 12-week class.

Story continues below advertisement

DeVito was among those who took advantage of the scholarship, without which she would have had to push back her enrolment to save up, she says.

She was still able to put down $2,000 of her own savings and covered the rest with a government student loan, she says.

Even before going back to school, the pandemic, she says, had forced her to rack up credit card debt.

“I had just paid it off right before COVID,” she says.

Now, though, she makes enough money to get back on track financially.

“I’ve been able to save up,” she says. “I’ve been able to start working on getting out of debt that I acquired throughout COVID and pay off my student loan as well.”

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Most Popular

Organizations that help kids with special needs celebrate opening of new location in Alliston, Ont.

Local organizations supporting the development of children and youth in Simcoe County are celebrating the opening of the new South Simcoe One Roof building...

Impaired driving arrest made after truck crashes into hydro pole near Lakefield: OPP

A Wilberforce, Ont., man faces impaired driving charges following a crash into a hydro pole in Selwyn Township early Sunday. Peterborough County OPP officers say...

2022 Ontario municipal election: Meet the Waterloo Ward 1 council candidates

On Oct. 24, voters across Waterloo Region will head to the polls to elect city and regional councillors, mayors and a regional chair. Residents of...

Quebec votes: CAQ, PQ leaders head to Fiona-battered Îles-de-la-Madeleine

By The Staff The Canadian Press Posted September 26, 2022 8:22 am Smaller font Descrease article font size -A Larger font Increase article font size A+