Jobs in Higher Ed, Government, or non-profit?

Hi all. I’m reaching out because I’m wondering if anybody has experience working in any of the aforementioned fields as a Web Developer or Software Engineer and can share their knowledge. I have been training at Codecademy for about 3 months and I’m going to do Thinkful’s bootcamp soon, so I’m planning on starting my job search in or around January of 2020, and I want to start researching different sectors where I can work. These fields in particular strike me for a few unrelated reasons, but I have found it difficult to find information about what they’re like for developers. Here are the reasons they strike me:

  1. Higher ED: good environment to work in; Lots of holidays; slower summers; emerging field with respect to innovative learning technologies.

  2. Gov’t: High impact projects that could potentially have high social relevance (thus, more meaningful); good benefits;

  3. non-profit: Meaningful organization missions; High social impact; Less tech staff may mean more ability to work on different kinds of projects and have a higher impact/higher value role than I would at a company as a junior developer.

My assumptions about these industries could be totally wrong, but that’s why I’m reaching out to anybody who is in the know! I appreciate any thoughts or insight those with experience can give, and I’m looking forward to discussing. Thanks very much!

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Can’t speak much to (2) and (3), but I can offer some info about Higher Ed. I was a student web developer in college and worked alongside some full-timers.

For web dev in higher ed, you might be working on the main website that prospective students and parents visit, student admin tools (e.g. for class sign up), or even a research team in need of a website. Those are some examples, but there’s a lot more.

The full-timers I worked with didn’t really get time off during summer or winter breaks, but I do think the pace is slower.

Higher Ed probably has more mentoring opportunities. There’s likely to be a group of student devs working alongside you. Some of them might have previous experience, but most are usually just learning. I was paired with a full-time dev when I started working. He was really helpful in getting my web career started.

Another big perk is that you can usually take classes at the university you work at. Some will cover the tuition cost as well. If you have family members thinking of attending that university, some of their costs might be covered as well. But double check on this for any higher ed org you apply to. It varies by the org and the role.

Hope this helps!


This is very helful, @renoj ! It sounds like you had a great experience, and your description confirms for me that Higher Ed could be a good fit. Thanks much!

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