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January 4, 2022

Best way to start learning UX UI Design

Ironhack - Changing The Future of Tech Education

Technology is undoubtedly the biggest enabler of our modern society, and the speed at which the digital landscape is evolving is quite dizzying - throwing up a huge array of fantastic business and career opportunities for those with the skills, will and motivation to succeed.

Why study user experience and interface design?

Although the terms are used interchangeably UI defines the appearance of a digital product, and UX defines how each of the elements interacts to deliver a seamless, integrated user experience.

Often, the two key deliverables are handled by the same digital developer. The designer will first carry out user testing to ascertain what customers want and then produce visual mockups and wireframes to propose solutions. These will be tested and user feedback will be gathered to inform next step changes and to finalise the look, feel and functionality before the system goes live.

How can I best become a UX and UI design expert?

There are two main routes to take, whether you prefer academic study or on-the-job development (or potentially, a blended approach.) For example:

Traditional college routes

You could attend a traditional college or university course and devote several years to studying the topic via a traditional, lecture-based programme, with modules delivered by semester. There are pros and cons to this approach. For example, the university approach may allow you to combine different subjects to prepare yourself for the world of work and to enjoy a typical student experience. However, it can be a slower approach to achieving your goals and will not necessarily position you for a job at the end - particularly in the digital industry which is constantly changing and where university programmes may not be completely up to date with what the market needs. If academic progress and attainment is your primary goal, this could be a good, traditional route, but if you are keen to move fast and to put your newfound skills into immediate, hands-on and practical use, a more targeted approach to a qualification could be better for you.


If you are already in a digital role or a role with the potential to grow your digital capabilities, then on-the-job study could be an option for you. You could do this via an apprenticeship for example, and combine training with hands-on work, or you could ask your employer to sponsor you to train on a targeted digital development course as part of your own personal development. There are various advantages to this approach. Firstly, you will already be in a role and have the ability to put your new-found skills into action immediately. Secondly, the training that you undertake will allow you to progress your career with your current employer.

A bootcamp

When you want to get to grips with UX UI fast, a targeted bootcamp may well be the ideal way to achieve your goals. This mode of study is ideal for rapidly gaining the skills, knowledge and expertise that you need. For example, if you choose to do a UX UI BootCamp with Ironhack you can study everything that you need to become an effective UX UI designer in as little as nine weeks on the full-time programme, or in 24 weeks on the part-time programme. You also do not need prior IT experience and you will study everything that you need to cover, such as user experience, Figma, research, user interface and design thinking, positioning you strongly for a new career once you graduate from your boot camp.

The Ironhack UX UI BootCamp is also extremely flexible and can be taken at a campus, either part-time or full-time or via remote study, depending on your needs. It is delivered by highly experienced and knowledgeable experts in the field, with ongoing careers support to help match you with the right employer and right role once you have successfully completed your course. This is the newest form of learning and it is ideally suited to match the needs of the technology world where change is rapid and constant. By learning in an intensive and immersive BootCamp environment you can be sure that you are learning the latest skills and abilities -driven by what employers actually want to hire for. The resulting match is perfect for accelerating your career or for leapfrogging you into a new career without delay or the expense of a traditional 3-4 year higher education course.

Do your research!

UX UI design courses vary greatly, so it makes sense to do your research to find out which one will be right for your needs. Ask yourself questions such as:

  1. What is my desired outcome? For example, a certain focus area of learning, a qualification, a rapid route to knowledge and so forth.

  2. Does the course that I'm interested in offer the right level of flexibility? For example, can I study at home or around my other commitments or do I need to attend a campus?

  3. What are the financial implications of the course that I am interested in?

  4. What are the career prospects associated with the study method I'm interested in? Does the course provider offer support to help me find work as a UX UI designer?

  5. What have other students said?

Consider these factors carefully to make the right decision about how to best learn UX UI design and accelerate your own career and prospects!

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  • 5 minutes

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    Ironhack - 2023-02-02


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  • 26 minutes

    The Gender Gap in Tech…Let’s Talk About It

    Juliette Erath - 2023-03-09

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    You’ll often see us talking about how great the tech industry is ( naturally ), and we truly believe it is. It’s a place where we see all kinds of people build the careers of their dreams, no matter their background, socio-economic status, demographic, or even personality type. However, we would be remiss to discuss the state of the tech industry and not include the prevalent problem of the workforce gender gap. Apart from the obvious social implications of an incredibly male-dominated field, it also affects overall political, economic, and cultural behaviors. The simple truth is that the workplace and skill gap in the tech industry can largely be attributed to the wide gender disparity ; to meet this both international and growing gap, a serious effort needs to be made to understand the origin of this problem and solve it. We see efforts made in this arena every day from all corners of our community across the US, Europe, and South America. But there’s no sense in combating a problem that we don’t truly understand. So we wanted to look into the current state of the gender gap in tech, trace the root of the problem, and look towards future solutions. Sexism and Gender Discrimination The tech industry is not unique in facing diversity challenges: far from it. Sexism and gender discrimination are, unfortunately, tales as old as time. Sexism is a complicated concept but one that includes the belief that one sex or gender is superior to another. Gender discrimination, on the other hand, is when someone is discriminated against because of their gender identity. Historically linked to favoring men, this kind of discrimination can have drastic effects. Societies are heavily influenced by gender expectations and can alter career choices, workplace options, how we dress, how we should act, what we should study, and much more. One of the clearest examples of the effects of gender-based societal expectations is the workplace. Both men and women are heavily influenced in their career choices by what they’re taught society expects . 97.78% of nurses and nursing assistants, 95.65% of legal secretaries, 89.09% of dancers and choreographers, and 88.45% of receptionists are women. On the other hand, 99.19% of vehicle technicians, 98.97% of carpenters and joiners, 96.4% of electrical and electronic technicians, and 95.38% of telecoms engineers are men. But these huge discrepancies in certain jobs aren’t the only thing to keep in mind. Globally, there’s a gender pay gap of 20% , meaning that women make, on average, 20% less than what men make. This is of course exacerbated by the actual roles that men and women hold: if high-level and higher-paying jobs are dominated by men, it’s natural that they’ll make more money. Unfortunately, however, that’s not the only reason: Like we mentioned above, women tend to work in sectors that pay less than male-dominated industries. Leadership roles tend to be held by men. Men get promoted more often. In every single country worldwide, women make less than men for the same work. Women face incredible pressure when getting pregnant or choosing to stay at home with their children. Women take on a lot of unpaid roles, such as childcare or caring for a sick relative. The differences between men and women are due to centuries of patriarchal beliefs that have put men in a position of power over women. In most parts of the world today, the gap between men and women has closed considerably; men used to have complete control over women opening bank accounts, driving, how they dressed, healthcare access, education access, or voting rights. Even though most of us can’t remember a case of the aforementioned examples of gender discrimination in our own lives, there are still major issues with gender equality in today’s society. And it affects everyone; only 50% of women in the world are in the workforce, compared to 80% of men. Gender Inequalities To measure the gender gap by country, the annual Global Gender Gap Index by the World Economic Forum uses four main categories to determine a country’s level of gender inequality: economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. Countries received a ranking from 0 - 100 in each section; 100% means gender parity has been fully achieved. Economic participation and opportunity In this section, five factors are evaluated: labor-force participation rate, wage equality for similar work, estimated earned income, legislators, senior officials, and managers, and professional and technical workers. The report showed that on average, higher-income economies scored 69%, upper-middle-income economies scored 68%, low-middle-economies scored 63%, and low-income economies scored 66%. Gender equality is linked to economic opportunities and those with higher-performing economies score slightly better. Educational attainment This section defined the literacy rate and enrollment in primary, secondary, and higher education. Here, 29 countries were able to boast full gender parity across three different economic levels. Worldwide rates range from 48% to 100% and as the report gets to the lower-ranking countries, the gaps get even bigger. Health and survival This index used the sex ratio at birth and healthy life expectancy to produce the section with the least variation and smallest gender gap . No one country has reached parity, but 141 have closed the gender gap by at least 95%; Qatar, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, China, and India are the only countries with gender gaps bigger than 5%. Political empowerment Women in parliament and ministerial positions and years with female heads of state (in the last 50 years) are evaluated to define the gender gap as it relates to political empowerment. This is the section that has the largest gap with an overall global percentage of 22% ; the range here is also massive with the lowest country, Vanuatu, scoring 0% and Iceland scoring at 87%. Only 11 countries worldwide have closed more than 50% of their gender gap: Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Rwanda, Germany, Bangladesh, Sweden, Ireland, and South Africa. Only 39% of countries are above the global average, meaning more than 60% are below it. The United Nation’s Path to Gender Equality The United Nations has established sustainable development goals to be achieved by 2030 and gender equality is the fifth. Made up of nine steps, these are the UN’s priorities when it comes to achieving gender equality: End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere. Eliminate all forms of violence against girls and women everywhere, including trafficking and exploitation. Eliminate all harmful gender-based practices, like early or forced marriages and female genital mutilation. Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through public services and public protection policies that promote shared parental responsibility. Ensure the full and effective participation and equal leadership opportunities for women in all levels in political, economic, and public life. Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health education and rights. Undertake reforms to provide women with equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership and control over land, financial services, and inheritances and natural resources. Use technology to promote female empowerment. Adopt and strengthen policies and legislations to enforce gender equality protection for all women and girls. The Gender Gap in Tech Gender-based digital exclusion has serious effects on society and the tech industry itself. “Hurdles to access, affordability, (lack of) education and skills and technological literacy, and inherent gender biases and socio- cultural norms, are at the root of gender-based digital exclusion. Enhanced, safer and more affordable access to digital tools is critical, as are policy interventions addressing long-term structural biases.” The first matter regarding gender equality is its ethical and just implications. A more equal world, however, could bring about benefits in lots of areas, especially global economics; research shows that a smaller gender gap improves global GDP, increases productivity, and promotes innovation . Need more convincing? Empowered women have been shown to: Increase consumer spending Improve decision-making processes Encourage more inclusive societies Increase sustainability efforts The IMF reports: “We know that in countries with greater gender inequality just closing the gap in women’s labor force participation could increase economic output by an average of 35 percent [...] In Norway, the expansion of universal child care increased the likelihood of mothers’ employment by 32 percentage points.” The World Bank’s Gender Employment Gap Index (GEGI) reports that if the gender gap were closed and men and women had equal access to paid employment, GDP per capita could increase by almost 20% . But in tech specifically, the gender gap is quite wide in four areas: internet use and access, digital skills and tools, STEM participation, and tech sector leadership and entrepreneurship. The gender gap and internet usage Internet usage is key to providing women with more opportunities, in tech and other areas. Europe and the American continents have the highest rates of internet usage and have reached gender parity or are very close to it; however, almost half the world’s population doesn’t have internet access. The majority of this group is made up of women in underdeveloped nations. Universal internet access is one of the UN’s SDGs and is absolutely essential to closing the gap. Worldwide access could provide women with educational options, widened healthcare, and more opportunities. The gender gap and digital skills Digital skills aren’t required for just tech jobs; everyone needs digital skills to fully participate in society and access financial services, educational opportunities, healthcare services, and more. But the gender gap could be shrunk even further if women had the same advanced digital skills to meet the gaps in the tech market. As the Digital SME Alliance reports: “Gender inequalities are most pronounced in disruptive tech skills, which are strongly requested in emerging sectors like AI, robotics and cloud computing. According to the World Economic Forum, women make up only 26% of AI jobs globally. The situation is even more dire in cloud and data, where the numbers are 15% and 12% respectively.” The digital economy is advancing rapidly and tech professionals are needed in practically every industry. Ensuring digital skill access will help achieve gender parity and improve the global economy. The gender gap and STEM participation Globally speaking, women have almost reached parity in their studies: undergraduate education (45%-55%), graduate education (53%), and PhD studies (43%). However, they only make up 35% of STEM students . This is problematic for two main reasons: one, STEM fields are rapidly gaining importance and if women aren’t studying them, they won’t be able to access jobs in those industries. Second, STEM jobs are some of the best-paid positions worldwide and if women don’t have access to those because they lack the necessary education or skills, the gender pay gap will only increase. We can equate the lack of women in STEM to these three causes: a lack of self-confidence, stereotypes of tech workers, and a male-dominated culture . These 2020 statistics help highlight the severity of this gap: Women made up just 16% of bachelor degree recipients in computer and information services, 21% in engineering, 27% in economics, and 38% in physical sciences. Women hold less than 20% of tech leadership roles. Only 19% of senior vice presidents and 15% of CEOs are women. 39% of women in tech see gender bias as a hindrance to getting a promotion. 34% of Apple’s employees are female but only 24% of their technical roles are held by women. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women were nearly twice as likely to either leave their jobs, be furloughed, or be fired. The gender gap and tech leadership and entrepreneurship As we already discussed obstacles that women entering the tech field face, this section will center on the problems that those already in the industry see, especially when up for promotion. Frequently, women face problems that men don’t even consider, such as taking on caregiving responsibilities, lacking role models and other women in similar roles, and greater pressure to prove their skills. Even though women make up 40% of global early-stage entrepreneurs , men still tend to start more businesses than women. Surveying entrepreneurs helped us learn that women are more likely to start a business due to making a difference or job scarcity while men do it to build wealth or continue a family tradition. In tech startups, only 2.7% women are involved, compared to 4.7% of men. The Gender Gap by Country Global statistics can help us get an idea of the overall gender gap in tech, but it’s essential to look at country-by-country data to get a more accurate picture of each market, its areas of improvement, and specific things to do to reach gender parity. The United Kingdom Five million people work in the tech industry in the UK but only 17% of those roles are held by women. When looking at the UK’s entire workforce, however, women make up 49% of all workers. This difference between the number of employed women and women employed in tech is precisely what we call the gender gap . This issue starts before women even enter the workforce - just 35% of higher education STEM students in the UK are women. Looking at this issue, we can separate three causes: Girls are less likely to choose to study STEM . This comes down to a few reasons: in such a man-heavy industry, girls don’t see role models or a place for themselves. Teachers are also ill-prepared to show girls the possibilities of tech roles and therefore aren’t even encouraged to promote girls in STEM. 33% of men had a technology career suggested to them and just 16% of women can say the same. Girls aren’t considering a tech career. Girls are more likely than boys to consider their future career when choosing their A-levels and when they don’t see a tech career as a possibility, they don’t take STEM courses. There’s a lack of female role models . Representation is absolutely essential; girls who don’t see female leaders in tech and instead see a vast majority of men won’t feel like a tech career is for them. And these numbers directly correlate to salaries. According to the UK Tech Workplace Equality Report , the average salary for male tech workers is £ 66,000 and £ 63,000 for women. To combat this gap and encourage more women to join the tech industry, some British companies have hired empowerment mentors to help women gain confidence when applying for jobs, ask for the right salary, speak up about harassment or other issues, and start new jobs. However, this isn’t a personal decision that women are making; it’s a systemic societal issue and for this to be fixed, a proactive approach by society as a whole is required. The United States The US tech market employs just 26% women , despite a nearly equal divide in the total workforce (49%). And despite the fact that 45% of STEM majors were women in 2020, only 22% and 20% graduated with a degree in engineering and computer science, respectively. Two years of collected data can help us determine where this problem originates: There are few female role models . Since the tech industry is largely run and made up of men, girls don’t see themselves as future tech workers. Stereotypes are prevalent in tech . Lots of girls are steered away from tech due to stereotypes and ideas that tech is a career for men and they should choose “feminine” paths. 44% of women surveyed between 18 and 28 years old were never given information or resources about getting into tech; just 33% of men said the same. The STEM industry is hostile for women . Women in STEM report feeling isolated, being the target of microaggressions, and having lower confidence in the workplace. In addition to not having their opinions heard at work, these are all reasons why women don’t choose tech or decide to leave the industry. Another problem occurs when women actually reach the workforce. 38% of women with computer science degrees are working in the industry, compared to 53% of men; engineering has similar data. Women also feel that the glass ceiling, a metaphorical barrier that prevents women and minorities from advancing like men, is stopping them from holding leadership roles. 48% of women account for entry-level hires but just 40% of first-level managers; this gap continues to grow as the leadership role gains more importance. However, the data is promising. The National Science Foundation reports that more women than ever before are earning STEM degrees . As Gen Z enters college and then the workforce, we can expect to see more and more women joining the tech industry, thanks to their status as the first digital native generation. Spain In Spain, only 20.6% of tech workers are women. And in the tech sector, the number of professionals needed doubles every year, leaving a wide gap for women to get into tech. But in Spain, women earn 9.4% less than men ; it may not seem like that much, but that means that they work for free 34 days annually. As we’ve mentioned, the lack of women in tech stems from problems that occur long before women enter the workforce . Only 35% of higher education STEM students are women and just 3% study Information and Communication Technology and related subjects. Women made up 55.3% of all students from 2020-2021 but just 29% of them were in engineering programs and 13.4% in computer science programs. Interestingly enough, however, science is a female-dominated field in Spain . 75% of biomedicine students, 68.7% of medicine, 65.8% of biochemistry, and 61.7% of biotechnology students are women. In tech careers specifically, however, 87% of men are in telecommunications, 74% in industrial, and 73% in physics. This large distinction is due to differences in socialization for boys and girls; strong gender stereotypes dominate young Spanish children’s lives and boys are expected to invent and calculate while girls take on a more caring role. Women make up just 20% of the Spanish startup ecosystem and that number hasn’t changed over the past eight years. 51% of women are serial entrepreneurs; 62% are men. 42% of women have failed in a previous entrepreneurial venture and only 24% record having successfully sold a startup, compared to 33% of men. Spain, however, has the most female FinTech startup executives in Europe (25%). Spain is taking real steps to close the gender gap; in 2012, there was an 18.7% wage gap, nearly 10% higher than what it is today. And the Spanish government is also working to guarantee equal pay through its Real Decreto 902/2020 , which educates workers about the pay gap and wage discrimination, opening every company up to transparency. Germany 17% of German tech jobs are held by women, even though women and men are nearly equal in the general workforce. And despite making up more than half of the university population (52%), women only make up 35% of STEM students. Negative stereotypes contribute to German women’s reluctance to enter the tech industry, in addition to lower levels of digitalization for women which has the following effects: Limited information access Complicated job opportunities Reduced industry efficiency Increased gap between different socioeconomic groups Increased risk for cybercrimes A survey by Microsoft tells us that girls are interested in STEM at age 11 but have a change of heart by age 15; the main reason for this switch is a lack of role models. In addition, the gender wage gap in Germany is one of the worst in Europe; male tech workers earn approximately €15,000 more per year than female coworkers in the same role. In the engineering sector, for example, experts believe that women are socially conditioned to choose lower-paying industries and are more willing to accept part-time jobs . Women are also leaving the tech industry earlier than men; by the age of 45, only 9% of women are still in their tech field. In the startup ecosystem, German women struggle with receiving funding and receiving support to help them manage their work-life balance. In fact, 63% of startups are entirely founded by men and just 6% of female founders are active business angels. What Germany now requires is an equality-centered approach that focuses on eliminating both structural and cultural barriers for women. Portugal A key detail in Portuguese workforce data is that the pay gap between men and women in tech and men and women in all industries is quite similar, meaning choosing a tech career is not as financially risky of a decision as in other countries. Although the wage gap isn’t as severe as it is in other countries, male tech employees average 16% higher salaries than women in the same roles. This deters women from joining the industry: just 18% of tech professionals are women; many cite limited growth opportunities and low salaries as reasons for either avoiding the industry or leaving it. Many of its neighboring countries severely lack female representation in STEM courses in higher education, but Portugal actually has a female-majority of STEM-enrolled students , at 57%. However, this percentage lowers as the courses become more advanced and students report not feeling included or integrated into the courses. Similarly, students reported working in departments with one to two women for every ten men and 10% work in a department with zero women. Groups like Portuguese Women in Tech and the PWIT Salary Transparency Project are working to both close these gaps and educate the general population about these issues; these problems stem from an overall lack of diversity in the workplace and as tech continues to propel Portugal’s economy forward, women will play a key role. The Netherlands Long viewed as a male-dominated field, the tech industry in the Netherlands is beginning to open up to women. In the digital industry, women represent 38% of the total workforce ; this number falls to just 18% in the IT sector. And just 36% of women hold leadership roles (25% of those are CEOs). For entrepreneurs, this number has risen from 2% to 8% since 2005. Secrecy clouding diversity, inclusion, and salaries doesn’t help the Dutch tech sector attract women, either. 88% of companies don’t report salaries and 99% don’t have a public strategy on how to close the gender wage gap in the Netherlands. Not being forthcoming about pay, equality practices, and company diversity can promote stereotypes, myths, and inaccurate information and further deter women from entering the tech industry. The Netherlands suffer from specific societal views and norms about gender, education, and career choices that severely limit womens’ options. Curiously enough, women-dominated industries like healthcare (70%) and education (48%) boast mainly women working part-time and more than half of those working part time do so because of childcare obligations, housework, and informal care ; only 27% men say the same. These societal views also impact the educational choices young Dutch students make; the Netherlands has one of the lowest numbers of women in STEM in Europe and the lack of female role models makes joining the tech sector largely unappealing to women, in addition to long-held stereotypes or sexist beliefs. Although it may seem like these problems are insurmountable, the key to success in the Dutch tech industry lies with women. If women joined the workforce at the same rate as men, the national GDP could grow by €100 billion . To achieve this, PwC suggests establishing networking options for women in the industry, reskilling female talent, sharing success stories for female role models, promoting inclusive environments, and focusing on hiring and training women for tech roles. Brazil Although Brazil can say that 39% of roles within the tech industry are held by women, there’s an important distinction to be made: only 20% hold tech-related positions and the majority work in support or administrative roles. Until 1964 , Brazilian women didn’t have access to their finances and couldn’t even have an ID until 1963, therefore limiting their access to bank accounts; financial independence is still something to which Brazilian women are getting accustomed. Due to strong social stereotypes, the Brazilian tech industry lacks both gender and racial diversity; Black women are extremely underrepresented. But studies show that more diverse and inclusive offices are overall more productive and positive, where employees feel valued and empowered. Just like lots of Latin American countries, Brazil’s stereotypes are strong and hard to change: women are expected to become nurses and men engineers. In 2019, just 26% of graduates in STEM fields were women. Here are some changes companies could undertake to promote diversity and inclusion: Ensuring job descriptions use inclusive language Conducting anonymous interviews to remove any conscious or unconscious bias Providing training to help employees identify and report incidences Promoting work/life balance, which helps women feel that they are not missing out on home responsibilities if they choose to work The truth is that these techniques won’t just help women; they’ll improve the overall workplace experience and job satisfaction for all. And when it comes to female leadership, there are 20 times more male-founded companies than those founded by women and women-founded ones grow much slower and are limited in what they achieve. An imbalance of women in leadership positions can make it harder for younger girls to see themselves in tech and choose to study STEM-related fields. But women need more than just a nudge to get into tech; Brazilian girls need to receive the proper training and empowerment to see that they belong in tech and see that both success and leadership options are a true possibility for them. France Despite the never before seen growth of the French tech scene and wide talent shortage, female workers make up just 20% of total industry workers . This is an improvement from 2020 where the percentage sat at just 17% , but there’s still a long way to go. Just 12% of French startup founders are women and just 11% hold a c-suite role; the money they receive to fund their startups is also less than male-founded startups, which doesn’t encourage women to jump into tech entrepreneurship. In addition, 46% of women in tech report experiencing sexist behavior , such as gender-based mockery and the lack of women in tech generally creates less innovation and a less inclusive culture. Others fear imposter syndrome, the feeling of not belonging, or facing unfair stereotypes. However, organizations such as La French Tech are working to combat this with their 2022 Parity Pact which aims to ensure the following in their member companies: Reaching a minimum threshold of 20% of women on the company’s board by 2025 and 40% by 2028. Training 100% of managers on diversity and inclusion and how to fight discrimination and harassment. Guaranteeing that 100% of published job descriptions are aimed for men and women. And starting in 2023, companies applying to join the French Tech Next 40/120, large companies with the potential to enter the CAC 40 stock index, must commit to working to improve gender inequality and receive gender equality monitoring. Mexico In Mexico, the gender gap in tech stems from a much more systemic problem: digital skill and internet access to the general population and, of course, women. When compared to other countries on gender gaps in tech, Mexico scored well below the global average. This is because state-by-state, digital access varies significantly with rural areas experiencing extremely low levels of access. Men generally have more digital skills than women and this goes from basic to advanced, sending an email to coding. And for women over 36, the gap expands even further ; however, girls and women between 16 and 25 are the most digitally literate, creating the perfect opportunity to welcome more women into tech . Only 12% of university tech graduates are women and only 10% of women who graduate with a degree in a STEM-related field actually work in it. In Mexico, 44% of women are in the workforce , compared to 77% of men; regarding management roles, only 9% of digital and tech companies have women in leadership roles and 23% have a female co-founder. And the outlook isn’t that much more positive on the salary front: male software developers can make 26% more than women with the same skills and experience. We can attribute this lack of women in the workforce to a few factors: Financial independence : few women boast financial independence in Mexico and taking an extra course or starting a new job would mean shirking on their childcare or family care responsibilities. COVID : Mexico lost 1.1 million employers due to COVID and women bore the brunt of lots of layoffs, in addition to taking on additional family care responsibilities. Non-paid domestic work : studies show that Mexican women across all socio-economic statuses dedicate more than 30 hours weekly to non-remunerated domestic work and care. Despite the troubles facing Mexican women in tech, many organizations are taking the next step to reach gender parity. The Women in Digital Award was first awarded on March 8, 2022 to president Salma Jalife Villalón of Centro México Digital, which publishes annual reports about the digital and tech industry. The Confederación Patronal de la República Mexicana provides scholarships to women to encourage remote work and developing digital skills; NIÑASTEM PUEDEN works to promote tech among young girls and Codigo X works with all levels of education to encourage women and girls to participate in tech. Women in Tech are the Future It can be daunting to take that first step into tech, especially as a woman. But don’t stress; it’s a great choice that will benefit both you and future generations of women in tech. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at some of the things you can do to get into tech: Create a strong network : use LinkedIn, your university connections, or people you already know in tech to help you gain confidence, get advice, and receive support from women already in tech. Be persistent and resilient : there will be challenges along the way and you might feel discouraged at times but remember to ask for help, keep learning, and continue pursuing your goals. Remember that you belong in technology: women are meant to be in tech and every field. Even if you can’t see as many, they’re there and eager for you to join. Advocate for yourself: know your worth and ask for promotions, raises, new opportunities, and any other thing you want on the job. You belong in tech and can achieve anything. And as you can see, the problems that women in tech face differ from country to country but there are overall themes that are constant across the globe. We spoke to some international experts about seven of the biggest challenges worldwide and what society can focus on to address them. Eliminating gender biases from childhood The gender gap begins in childhood and in very innocuous ways: giving girls dolls to play with and boys cars and legos encourages different behaviors and therefore conditions the way in which girls and boys choose their future career paths. When children see a majority of nursing or caregiver roles held by women and STEM and critical thinking roles held by men, they’ll assume that’s their path as well. Men are frequently given the most risky roles as well in group activities, giving women “safer” tasks such as organization, design, or details. Many countries have already placed a focus on this, but ensuring that children are raised in a more gender-neutral environment without societal-based gender expectations can help expand children’s minds and prepare them to take on whatever role they desire. Build womens’ self-confidence Here’s a quick stat: women tend to apply to jobs only where they are sure they meet at least 90% of the requirements; men apply even if they don’t meet them. This could stem back to societal expectations; men are encouraged to take risks and not be afraid of failure, women are more cautious. In addition, women can be faced with different kinds of scrutiny at work and asked about their family plans, marital status, or other questions that are reserved for just women. An increased focus on impartiality in the interview process and inclusive language could help women feel more comfortable when approaching new situations. And companies that offer maternity and paternity leave, supporting both parents equally, can help fight stereotypes. Create more female tech role models Women lack role models and examples of successful tech women; when women see the biggest tech companies with a male-dominated staff, it can be tough to feel encouraged. However, women’s associations and communities can help women connect with other female tech employees and access resources, tools, and mentoring programs. Companies can also work to give women more opportunities, offer scholarships, and provide mentorship connections to women. Create healthy work/life balances Women are disproportionately affected by domestic and family-related responsibilities and this can cause them to work part-time or leave the workforce entirely. Providing women with hybrid or remote options, in addition to childcare and flexible parental leave, could make tech roles an option for many more women. The gender gap in tech can be intimidating but here’s the key: it’s improving worldwide and more and more countries are taking action to ensure that all women have access to tech education and the same career opportunities as men. Women in tech are the future and here’s a fact: achieving gender parity in tech and all areas will improve overall life for everyone in every sector. At Ironhack, we're dedicated to helping more and more women enter the tech sector. Interested in being part of the change? You're in the right place.

  • 5 minutes

    What Is a Tech Lead?

    Juliette Erath - 2023-06-17


    Web Development

    Interested in being your software team’s go-to for technical questions? Dream of becoming a leader in your department? Excited about utilizing new technologies to guide innovation within your department? If these all sound familiar, then tech lead could be the perfect role for you. In this article, we’ll break down the responsibilities and requirements of a tech lead to figure out if it’s the right fit for you. What Is a Tech Lead? By looking at the term “tech lead,” we can gather two things: they work in both a technical capacity and a leadership position. So then, what does a tech lead do? A technical lead – or tech lead for short – oversees the technical aspects of a software team by making architectural and design decisions, guiding team members in technical matters, and supervising system modifications. Some key job responsibilities of a tech lead include: Establishing project specifications and technical direction Creating a framework of technical standards and procedures Overseeing software quality and system modifications Guiding team members with troubleshooting technical issues Analyzing existing operations to identify risks and redundancies Conducting comprehensive assessments to develop solutions In other words, as a tech lead, you’re basically setting the technical direction of the project and clearing the way of any programming hurdles that may arise, whether it be closing technical knowledge gaps, finding answers to product questions, or streamlining existing operations. As a tech lead, you'll engineer, guide, and implement technical solutions and improvements with the help of your software development team. You can get your hands dirty and do some coding once in a while, but that isn’t your main job responsibility. So, if you’re someone who enjoys both the technical and interpersonal aspects of software development, a tech lead may be the job for you. With Whom do Tech Leads Work? Together with team leads and product owners, tech leads play a leadership role in a software or engineering department; each leader focuses on a different aspect of the production process. A product owner will focus on overall product development and a team lead will focus on people development; a tech lead focuses on technical development. Together, they set the project’s direction and guide the team members to ensure the project’s deliverables are fulfilled. Some essential members of the software development team include: Product Owner : leads product development to fulfill client’s requirements Team Lead/ Engineering Manager: guides team through development process Project Manager: oversees the development, organization, and delivery of a product Software Developer : designs and develops software to fit the users’ needs Quality Assurance Engineer: confirms developed solution fits specifications Software Tester: executes tests to ensure solutions fit performance and security demands UX/UI Designer: designs features to enhance customer experience and interaction A software team works together to ensure the smooth delivery of a product;as a tech lead, you must be able to balance priorities, communicate clear goals, and make apt decisions , all while taking into account your team’s capabilities and the product’s deliverables. Since each position on the team has some involvement in the technical operation, you must make sure that each team member has a handle on their portion of the software development process to ensure the delivered product meets the client’s expectations. What Skills Do Tech Leads Need? A tech lead can be considered a leader, developer, and architect all in one, which defines their essential skill set: As a leader , they supervise team members, delegate tasks, issue feedback, evaluate risks, and resolve conflicts. As a developer , they apply programming tools, utilize design patterns, perform automated testing, and refactor code. As an architect , they perform technical assessments, oversee development lifecycles, direct release management, and adhere to federal regulations. As you can see, tech leads must not only have the technical expertise to develop products, but have the people skills to lead teams as well. Some crucial skills of a tech lead include: Communication and leadership Project and crisis management Software architecture and systems testing Technical guidance and decision-making skills Quality assurance Problem solving and innovation Ownership and vision How Can I Become a Tech Lead? You can develop these skills by gaining professional experience along with taking technical and leadership courses. A tech lead isn’t an entry level role; starting off, tech leads often have 5+ years of experience in the field and a bachelor’s degree. But remember, a tech lead also isn’t just a senior software engineer: just focusing on programming knowledge is not going to get you there, you need to build interpersonal skills as well. So, how can you do that? Well: You can apply some professional approaches , such as supporting coworkers, providing technical advice, suggesting new initiatives, creating innovative solutions, and requesting performance-based feedback, to show your resourcefulness while developing new skills. You can use some administrative tools , such as a strengths and weaknesses chart, a professional development plan, and a goal breakdown, to guide your learning and development while focusing on the professional skills you need to reinforce. With a proper plan of attack, you can be well on your way to becoming a tech lead. As you know, the job title has the term “lead” in it, which means it’s considered a senior role – but still a great target position. Since tech leads are considered to be both technical experts and competent supervisors, you’ll need a decent amount of experience first. Our Web Development Bootcamp is a great first step that you can take to establish the essential hard and soft skills needed to form a strong foundation in web development that you can build on with professional experience. Web development has boundless possibilities, with a tech lead being one of them. We can’t wait to see where you go next!

  • 8 minutes

    Common Misconceptions About Tech Bootcamps

    Ironhack - 2023-04-27

    All Courses

    When you begin your journey in a tech bootcamp, you might have a lot of thoughts running through your head: is this the right choice for me? Will this even help me get a job? Can I actually learn enough in such a short period of time? We’ve heard all your questions and have created this guide to tackle each and every one of your doubts. One of the tech industry’s most defining factors is its incredibly fast-moving speed, always developing and introducing new tools and technologies into the sector. This means that when four-year university graduates leave school and enter the workforce, what they’ve learned has already been surpassed by new tools that they don’t know how to manage. And this is a continuous problem that’s constantly repeating itself; tech is evolving rapidly and the industry is already witnessing a large skill gap, which affects the overall efficiency and abilities of the sector. This is where bootcamps come in. Tech Bootcamps: What Even Are They?! Don’t you need a four-year university degree to work in tech?! What is a bootcamp? Well, a bootcamp is a rather new and innovative learning method that exists to provide the next generation of techies with the exact skills they need to enter the workforce. They’re typically completed over the course of a few months in a rather intense manner, looking to provide students with hands-on experience and foundational knowledge. More questions? Let’s get some answers: What subjects do bootcamps cover? Bootcamps usually teach skills that are needed in tech, as tech is one of the fastest moving industries where universities and traditional educational methods struggle to keep up. They usually focus on the foundational knowledge required for very specific roles: let’s take a look at four common sectors: web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity. Web development bootcamps Possibly one of the most common types of bootcamps, web development bootcamps teach students the basics of coding so that they are prepared to become front end, back end, or full stack developers. Through projects and hands-on experience, students will become familiar with Javascript, Node.js, and MongoBD, among others. UX/UI design bootcamps Students will harness both their logical and creative sides to create intuitive and user-friendly designs in UX/UI-focused bootcamps, learning how to use Figma and understanding the entire product development process. And the best part? You’ll graduate with a portfolio of your own designs to help you land your dream job. Data analytics bootcamps Every good decision is made from looking at data and that’s why data analysts are in such high demand; as we obtain more and more data from an increasing number of sources, companies need experts who know how to interpret, visualize, and present the data to help make the right decisions. You’ll learn Python, Tableau, and SQL queries, in addition to sharpening your critical thinking skills. Cybersecurity bootcamps We’re putting more and more of our personal lives on the internet and this means that hackers and data breaches are also gaining traction; ensuring your team and company data are protected from cyber threats is absolutely crucial. Cybersecurity bootcamp students have the chance to tackle simulations of live attacks to put their skills to the test. How much do bootcamps cost? Just like with basically anything, bootcamp costs vary based on where you are studying, the school itself, and the length of the course. However, this isn’t your generic one-week online courses; most bootcamps boast highly-skilled teachers and teaching assistants, in addition to career support and an extensive alumni network. Certified bootcamps could cost anywhere from $7,000 -  $15,000 and it’s up to you to carefully weigh the benefits and your own financial situation. Some bootcamps offer financial assistance, scholarships, or financing options as well. How long do bootcamps last? Generally designed to be completed intensively over the course of just a few weeks or months, you might be surprised at how short your bootcamp is. However, expect long days, lots of studying outside class hours, and a huge transformation. Some tech schools also offer different schedule options, such as part-time and full-time courses, or even completely remote classes. Consider the time you can realistically dedicate to the course and then pick the best option for you. How do bootcamps differ from other courses? You’ve seen that free YouTube coding course or a how-to guide about Figma, so why not just take those? Well, bootcamps are not like quick online courses; they’re much longer and go into far more detail, providing you with personalized instruction and assistance. Throughout your bootcamp, you’ll be asked to complete projects to put what you’ve learned to work and begin creating your portfolio. Bootcamps differ from university courses in that they are much shorter and more concise; many universities require students to take courses in a wide range of subjects but tech bootcamps teach you exactly what you need to know to enter the workforce immediately after graduation. They’re also constantly updating their curriculum to reflect changes in the tech market to ensure that you’re as prepared as can be. Common Misconceptions about Tech Bootcamps Now that we’ve cleared up what tech bootcamps are, let’s dive into some of the most popular (but out there!) misconceptions about them and what you can really expect. Tech bootcamps won’t actually prepare you to get a job You’ve probably heard this one quite a bit and it’s a legitimate doubt that lots of people have: how can a two/three month course teach me what I need to know to work alongside tech professionals with four-year degrees (at a minimum!)? Well, tech is moving at such a fast pace that universities and traditional schooling methods can’t keep up and tech bootcamps teach students the precise skills they need to know (say goodbye to that Liberal Arts education!), preparing them to fill very specific gaps in the workforce. In addition, the majority offer career assistance to help you polish your CV and portfolio, network, and practice your interview skills. Employers prefer candidates with four-year degrees This might have been true in the past and sure, there are probably some hiring managers that are still stuck in the past. But as the tech workforce gap continues to grow and new technologies enter the picture, employers are focusing more and more on the actual skills that candidates have. You need tech experience to succeed Nope! In fact, one of the best parts of tech bootcamps is the diverse backgrounds and experiences of all students . Well-designed bootcamps will start with an introductory section to provide students with the foundational knowledge needed to succeed and then build from there, understanding that students have little to no experience in the field. You need to give up your current studies/job to complete a bootcamp Wanting or needing to stick with your current job or studies during the bootcamp is completely fair and is something that lots of students consider when contemplating a bootcamp. But bootcamps are designed to benefit you and therefore offer a wide range of options such as part-time classes, weekend classes, or even remote courses. No matter what your current responsibilities are, you’ll be able to find a program that works for you. Bootcamps are too expensive for what they offer Remember that bootcamps are growing in popularity, thanks to their increasing importance in the tech world and this means they are becoming legitimate options for those looking to enter the industry: compare the cost of a bootcamp to the cost of a traditional, four-year degree and you’ll see that it’s a great way to get the knowledge you need at an affordable price. Tech is a man’s world You have a point here. The tech industry is overwhelmingly dominated by men and that’s a fact. But that doesn’t mean women don’t have a place in the sector; in fact, more and more women are getting into tech and working to diversify the industry . And this is just the beginning: lots of tech schools actually offer scholarships to women and other under-represented groups to encourage their enrollment. After all, it’s been proven that women in tech: Provide unique and diverse voices that make tech solutions more accessible and effective for everyone. Serve as mentors to younger girls and women who are either interested in entering the industry or just starting out. Improve overall workplace culture, boast workplace satisfaction , and increase safety in the office. Create better products that center both female and male experiences in the design process, instead of just male ones. Bootcamps aren’t worth it We get it. Bootcamps are extremely time-consuming and intense, meaning you are dedicating a ton of time (and money) to learning a new skill. What if you don’t get a job? What if you don’t like it? These doubts are completely legitimate and are concerns you will have at the beginning. But listen to what we’ve been saying all along: university graduates and current tech professionals are failing to move as fast as new technologies are , leading to a workplace gap that’s growing significantly every single day. If you put the time and effort into the bootcamp, you will receive the knowledge needed to join the workforce, specializing and honing your skills over time. Remember, continuous learning is absolutely essential in the tech world and committing to this journey will benefit your future. Deciding to take the jump into tech through a bootcamp is a big one that should be taken carefully. Do you have the time to dedicate to it? Are you financially stable enough to not work for the period during the bootcamp? Can you commit to completing all the work during the established time frame? These are all key questions to ask yourself before beginning your journey; at Ironhack , we’re here to help you choose the right bootcamp for you at the right time.

  • What is UX/UI Design and What Does a UX/UI Designer Do?

    Ironhack - 2021-07-16

    UX/UI Design

    All Courses

    Have you noticed how many of the things you experience have been carefully planned for your comfort? We live surrounded by user experiences, both in the analog and digital world. It is very rare for a product to not be designed based on a reflection of our behavior with a service, on the way in which we seek information, or on our perception. UX/UI Design is the future, being that the UX and UI profiles are among the most demanded jobs today, with an annual growth of 18% according to several studies. But these acronyms can be undecipherable if you’re not in the know. Read on to find out all about what UX/UI Designers do to make your customer experience a stellar time that you won’t forget easily. Who knows, maybe you're even the next great UX/UI Designer of the future... What is a UX/UI Designer? A UX/UI Designer is a professional dedicated to finding an easy, intuitive, and friendly way to solve a problem based on the tastes, needs, and opinions of the users of a product or service. In other words, they’re the person in charge of designing the experience of a client and making sure it’s optimal. Before continuing, it is important to differentiate between UX and UI, two disciplines that are often confused, probably because they work hand in hand, overlapping often, and because of the similarity of their acronyms. In this context, UI, or User Interface , refers to the creation of the interface, which can be visual or developed mainly with languages ​​such as HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. The design choices made when creating an interface are determinant in achieving simplicity, clarity and sympathy. If the website design is confusing or hard to read, the user will run away! The UI Designer is, therefore, primarily responsible for the visual aspect of the interface and deciding the user’s journey. UX, or User Experience , focuses on usability and what the user’s experience throughout the process will be like, focusing on analysis and social relationships. All the touchpoints between user and website are taken into consideration to ensure that the customer has a great time, fully satisfying their quest and having their needs met. The UX Designer focuses on ensuring that the navigation and actions performed by the user are consistent, handling the processes and actions triggered by the user. So, in short: the professional in charge of the UI will focus on the design of the product, impacting the first visual impression of the user, while the person in charge of the UX focuses on usability and easy navigation, creating certain emotions and sensations when using the interface. Skills of a UX/UI Designer Tasks as important as creating experiences that meet the needs of customers, improving the perception of the brand, and creating a solid link with their products often fall into the hands of the UX/UI Designer. Think for a moment about applications like Netflix or Spotify, tools like Google Sheets or Zapier, and digital products like Google Home or Philips Hue. Behind each and every one of them there is an immense amount of user experience work, with the aim of creating an easy, intuitive, efficient, and beautiful application. Creativity, empathy, and listening skills are some of the most important characteristics that a good UX Designer must have in order to soak up the user's context, the processes they undertake in their day-to-day life, and their needs. Being a good observer is also essential to notice those details that escape us at first glance when using an application, without neglecting business and communication skills, the latter being essential. Working on a good relationship with the rest of the team is essential, as well as researching everything related to usability and learning about new software and technical solutions and trends that pop up. The Many Facets of UX/UI Design Depending on the size of the team, a UX/UI professional may need to develop into a certain role. One of these roles is the UX Researcher , who is in charge of analyzing users and helping them understand them by asking who they are, studying their behaviors, and focusing on their needs through interviews, surveys, and research. User experience maps, usability assessments, and analytics reports are often their main projects. The UX Writer , then, is responsible for knowing and defining communication with the user, studying their language to learn how the product should speak in order to connect with the client. The tone and the strategy of communication are usually their tasks, defining the content creation strategy and its presentation to the user. Another path of specialization is that of Service Design , which seeks to create or improve existing services with the aim of making them more usable, useful, and desirable, as well as more effective. Those who are dedicated to this work pursue the goal of having the best available service in the eyes of both the consumer and the company. Whatever the final destination of a user experience designer may be, vacancies in the sector have grown by up to 560% in recent years, a finding that shows, unequivocally, that user experience professionals are essential with companies becoming increasingly aware of the importance of designing the best digital experiences. Resources To Get Started In UX/UI With it being such a wide and flexible professional field, you’d be hard pressed to not find yourself fitting in one of the specializations related to UX/UI. Although caring about the customer experience is the one prevalent quality, roles like Web Design and UX Strategist require radically different skill sets. Betting on practical and quality training is essential to enter the field, although we want to leave you some initial recommendations to get you started. Check out this list of eight must-read UX/UI books , with great insight on design and user experience and brilliant professional advice. Trying an introductory course on Domestika or Coursera, watching videos on channels like UXTips, learning these top UX principles or getting to know these top prototyping tools are also some great ways to know more about UX/UI Design. Determined to become a UX/UI designer? Then check out the UX/UI design bootcamp here at Ironhack, where you will adopt the leading mentality of the technology industry and learn to use the most cutting-edge product tools to bring your digital products to life. If you want to completely transform the way people and brands interact, you have found your place. Ready to change your life? Apply now!

  • 8 minutes

    Coding Languages to Learn in 2024

    Ironhack - 2023-10-21

    Web Development

    2024 is almost here and there’s never been a better time to focus on your professional future–what are your goals? What can you do to achieve your professional goals? Is there something you’re missing or could work on to make yourself an even better candidate for your dream role? We’re sure you’re well on your way to success, but it never hurts to think about improvements you could make. For many, especially those in web development, adding another coding language to their repertoire is quite the attractive option . Different companies use different coding languages and the more languages you know, the more companies and projects you’ll be able to apply for. But as you know, there are a lot of programming languages out there. As a web developer, you probably already have a few or at least your favorite mastered, but y ou’ve seen job ads that ask for experience with an entirely new one . How can you know which is best for you? Or which is the best to learn next? Or better yet, how can you go about learning a coding language? Luckily for you, we’ve outlined the answers to these questions and many more in this post. Before we dive right in, however, let’s discuss why learning another programming language should be on the top of your to-do list. Why are Coding Languages Important? Programming languages are the way we communicate with computers, which we’re sure you’re already aware of. But just in case you’re not, let’s break it down: programming languages are the rules that govern the code that programmers write to send instructions to computers so that they do what we’d like. If you plan to work as a programmer, knowledge of at least one, if not more, programming languages is key as it will allow you to work with different systems to complete a wide range of tasks. Apart from simply knowing how to code, learning different programming languages will allow you to: Enhance your resume: diverse programming languages will allow you to learn new skills, in addition to opening the doors to new opportunities that would otherwise be impossible to reach. Learn new skills: when you learn a new programming language, you’re not just learning about that one skill; in fact, you’ll learn new ways of solving bugs, troubleshooting problems, and thinking outside the box. Benefit from job security : needs in tech are always changing and it is possible that your skills could become outdated in just a short period of time; the more abilities you possess, the more job security you’ll have. We could go on and on because the benefits of adding new programming languages to your toolbox are practically innumerable. But let’s dive into the good stuff: coding languages to learn in 2024. Programming Languages to Learn in 2024 You may already know some of these programming languages; in fact, you probably do! But because there are so many out there, take the time to read through the list and make sure you pick at least one to set your sights on heading into the new year. JavaScript JavaScript is the most popular programming language worldwide, so we wouldn’t be surprised if you already have a great grasp on it. But just in case you don’t, let’s review why JavaScript is such a crucial skill to have on your resume: Used in both front and back end development , JavaScripts’ importance can’t be overstated. No matter your chosen area of focus, JavaScript will be useful. Some of the most popular frameworks, such as Node.js and React.js, are in JavaScript. JavaScript is an incredibly versatile programming language that allows you to operate from both the client and server side, in addition to handling server tasks and creating web and mobile apps. Python Another common coding language, Python is a great choice for someone looking to expand their job opportunities and tech knowledge. It’s different from other programming languages because it’s a general purpose language and can be used beyond just web development. In addition, Python is: Beginner-friendly, thanks to its easy design and use of English in the features, making it easy for tech newbies to follow and grasp. Versatile , helping you use it for a wide range of projects, regardless of its size, scope, or industry. Helpful , with an incredibly large online support community that can help you if you run into any challenges while you’re learning or developing. Java Not to be confused with Java Script, Java is found on basically every single operating system and app and used by big name companies like Amazon and Google. A frequent requirement of job postings, adding Java to your repertoire is good for your professional growth: Java can be used across different systems and isn’t linked to just one, meaning it’s a useful programming language that will serve you throughout your career, no matter where you are. It’s open source , meaning the source code is free and widely available, helping developers skip the basics and move on to the more interesting parts of programming. Java is used in practically every development application, is compatible with every operating system , and is great for app building. C# This high-level language is especially useful for beginners, as it takes care of the basic code that you’d be responsible for writing in other languages. In addition, C#: Is quite popular among companies and even in projects where it’s not used, it’s still popular for web service creation. Is both open source and available on Microsoft, OSX, and Linux , meaning it’s quite universal. It’s easy to learn because it automates some of the toughest elements of programming, letting you focus on the coding itself. Ruby If you’re looking to start out at a small company or are just beginning your journey into web development, Ruby is a fantastic option. It’s a popular choice for new techies because: Ruby uses a familiar syntax that’s similar to English, ensuring that even those without extensive programming backgrounds are able to learn it. Ruby boasts an incredible online community , is free, and is open-source, allowing users to consult with others for assistance and find solutions. Ruby is general purpose , meaning it’s versatile and good to have under your toolbelt for future opportunities. How to Learn a New Programming Language The idea of learning an entirely new programming language , especially if you’re comfortable with the ones you currently know, can be quite daunting. We get it—it’s never easy to jump feet first into something entirely unknown. That’s why we’ve put together this list to help you on your programming language journey: Carefully choose your next language to learn: there are a lot of languages out there and knowing the best fit for you can be quite the challenge. Before you randomly choose one and get started, ask yourself these questions: What language are job postings you’re interested in requesting? Is the language you’re interested in compatible with the operating systems you know how to use? Are you truly interested in the coding language? What’s the learning curve of the programming language? Set up a learning plan : you might want to dive right in, but it’s crucial to set up a learning plan so that you’re fully prepared. If you’re planning to learn on your own, make sure you find resources to help you in case you get stuck or choose a programming language that’s open source or has widespread usage so you can solicit help online. Start practicing : practice makes perfect and that’s especially true in the world of coding. Take the time to learn the theoretical foundations of the programming language, but start practicing as soon as possible so that you become familiar with how the language works and any differences from your other ones. There are lots of websites with coding challenges for beginners that can guide you through the beginning as you gain confidence. Be patient: anything new takes time to learn and programming languages, especially if they use a different framework from what you’re used to, can pose quite the challenge at first. Be patient with yourself and set realistic goals and check-ins to make sure you’re on track. Learning a new programming language with a bootcamp If learning on your own seems like too much of a challenge or you simply learn better with guidance, a bootcamp is a great place to add another programming language to your resume . Bootcamps are intensive, short-term courses that seek to teach practical knowledge to help you land a job and provide lots of hands-on opportunities to get your hands dirty and gain confidence in new areas. If you’re interested in making your resume even more attractive to hiring managers, consider taking a bootcamp and learning the new programming language of your choice, catapulting your tech career to success and enriching what you can offer as a tech professional. Ironhack offers expertly-developed Web Development Bootcamps with the student in mind, looking to enhance their portfolio and skills to land their dream tech job. If you’re interested, check out what we offer and get started on your tech journey today.

  • 8 minutes

    4 Data Science Programming Languages Used in 2023

    Ironhack - 2023-06-08

    Data Science & Machine Learning

    Got yourself a computer science degree ? Why not consider a data science career? You’ll be at the forefront of exciting new innovations. Technologies that inform the world of tomorrow, like AI or the metaverse, all come from data scientists. What’s more, the industry is booming. By 2030, it’s predicted to have a value of $378.7 Billion . If you’re realistic about a career in data science, there’s one skill that is essential . We’re talking, of course, about coding. There’s no denying it’s a daunting concept. And with so many languages to choose from, where do you even start? Luckily, this article is here to put your mind at rest. We’ll look at some top programming languages that can get you started. We’ll also uncover some of the questions that people have about Data Science Programming languages and explore the latest Data Science trends . So, let’s get started! Python There’s a good chance that you’ve heard of Python already. There’s a reason for that; it’s the most popular programming language in the world and according to the TIOBE index , it’s held this title since 2001. Platforms that we all know like Google, YouTube and Spotify, were all written in Python. Given its continued longevity, it’s a good idea to learn Python for data engineering . Let’s look at some of the reasons for Python’s popularity: Pros of Python It’s excellent for beginners: if you’re new to coding, there are few better places to start than Python; it’s one of the easiest programming languages to learn. Even if you’re looking at code written by someone else, you should be able to understand it without too much difficulty. It boasts a huge community : one of the advantages that comes with having a huge user base like Python’s is community . There are thousands of free online resources to help you get started and you can join groups of professionals for advice. It’s great for AI development : there’s no denying that AI will transform the future. From product recommendations to AI-generated art, technology is already making an impact. Python is a great choice if you want to be at the forefront of this change and is considered the best language for AI development. Why not set yourself up an AI domain and use Python to create the next big thing? It’s extremely portable: one of the biggest issues with some programming languages is the lack of compatibility. You might have written your code to run on one platform. But will it work on another without requiring you to make any alterations? Python runs on most platforms, making your life easier. Kubernetes Monitoring enables proactive identification of compatibility issues, resource utilization, and efficient troubleshooting, ensuring smoother deployments and improved compatibility across diverse environments. It’s great for building APIs: let’s say that you’re developing something that requires multiple apps to exchange data. In this case, you’ll need an application programming interface (API); Python is one of the most efficient languages for building APIs (although you might need the help of an API guide to ensure that you interface properly). Cons of Python It’s not as effective for mobile users : there’ll be many times when you have to write code that will function on mobile devices. Sadly, this is where Python falls short: it’s not supported by either IOS or Android due to its low-rate processing. It uses lots of memory space : Python is capable of carrying out many complex tasks but doing so requires a great deal of memory space. For certain coding tasks (i.e., those that need memory optimization), this could be an issue. It’s difficult to test: it can take a lot of time to test software written in Python because before you can launch the output, every issue needs to be dealt with. Adding to this headache, the more systems you interact with, the longer the testing duration. Java Like Python, Java is a commonly known programming language and is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a career in data science . Java has also been around for a while, first appearing in 1995 and since then, the language has grown significantly, today powering many popular web applications. It’s both secure and versatile and the chosen language by many programmers. Pros of Java You can write once and run anywhere: Java’s Creator, James Gosling, had a clear vision for his language. He summed this up in a single sentence “Write once, run anywhere. ” With Java's capabilities and dedicated hosting solutions, your code can be sent to anyone, regardless of the platform they are using. If one team member is using Mac and another Linux, both would be able to run code without any issues thanks to Java. It is secure: with 66% of small to medium-sized businesses having experienced a cyber attack in the past 12 months, you want software that is highly secure. Java contains many different security options, including a security manager that allows programmers to define the rules of access for classes It has efficient memory storage: Java splits memory allocation into two areas. These are Stack Area and Heap Area, making memory storage more efficient and less demanding for your system. Cons of Java It has a slow speed and performance: if you’re looking for a quick programming language, Java probably isn’t the solution for you. Each code must be interpreted to the machine-level code, making Java much slower than some other popular programming languages. It doesn’t have a backup option: losing code is never fun, especially if you’ve spent long hours perfecting it. Sadly, Java provides little help in this regard as it applies a greater emphasis on storage, rather than on backing up data. It’s not hard to see why this is a big issue for some programmers. It’s difficult to read: compared to a programming language like Python, Java is much more difficult to read. The language has been described as ‘verbose’. Each piece of code is made up of long sentences and can take you a while to decipher. JavaScript Having deja vu? Java and JavaScript sound very similar; in fact, they are often assumed to mean the same thing. They are, however, two distinct programming languages. JavaScript is actually an extremely popular option. It’s the chosen language for 69.7% of developers and is used for a range of purposes serving pretty much all industries. Pros of JavaScript It’s an extremely versatile option : one of the reasons that JavaScript is so popular is that it can be used for pretty much, well, everything . JavaScript is used to power simple coding tasks such as animation, but is also used for web pages, video games, and apps. In a nutshell, there’s a good chance JavaScript will meet your needs, whatever they may be. It can create rich interfaces: it’s important that your software contains effective user interfaces . Luckily, JavaScript contains all the features you need to create a polished product and the language can enable you to build extremely detailed interfaces. And you can make your UIs highly interactive with features like MagicZoom and responsive menus to take your software to the next level. It’s a simple option : alongside Python, JavaScript is regarded as one of the simplest options for programming languages. It’s an ideal language for those writing code for websites in particular as JavaScript was designed to be highly accessible to web developers. Node.js, a JavaScript runtime, has gained significant popularity due to its ability to build scalable and efficient web applications. With the help of tools like node-fetch proxy , developers can easily handle HTTP requests, set up proxies, and ensure secure communication between the client and server. JavaScript's integration with Node.js and the availability of useful libraries and frameworks make it a versatile language for building web-based applications. Cons of JavaScript Browsers will interpret the language differently : let’s say that you’ve written a piece of code for a website. You test it in Google Chrome, and everything seems fine. But then, you try Microsoft Edge. Suddenly, nothing’s working as it should be. This is because each browser interprets JavaScript differently. The only way to avoid this issue is by testing each browser individually. It raises security issues: everyone can see JavaScript code. Sadly, this opens the door to misuse as it’s easy for wrongdoers to add code that causes security risks within your code. SQL Let’s think for a moment about databases. They’re used by businesses of all shapes and sizes. An organization can dip into a database and get the information that they need in seconds. But how were they able to do so? Well, it’s all thanks to SQL; with SQL, we can modify, withdraw, and interface with data--an essential programming language for any data scientist. Pros of SQL It’s quite responsive : queries are processed in seconds with SQL data modeling tools . When you need to find an important piece of data, you can do so quickly. With SQL, you can withdraw large amounts of data without any problem. It requires minimal knowledge: one of the great advantages of SQL is that you don’t need to be a master coder to jump in. You can manage a database using only small amounts of code and the language is completely made up of English statements (eg. INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE). It’s a standardized language: SQL is a standardized language that has been approved by ANSI and ISO. This means that it has detailed documentation and is recognized globally. Cons of SQL It lacks control: thanks to hidden corporate rules, SQL doesn’t afford a programmer full control over a database. This means you’ll be limited in what you can do with your data. It can be expensive: some versions of SQL can burn a hole in your wallet. If you’re using SQL Server Enterprise, for example, you’ll be paying a whopping $5,434 per year. Start Your Data Science Journey Today! If you’re after a career change , data science represents an exciting opportunity. But the concept of learning a coding language is a barrier to many. Hopefully, after reading this article, the idea seems a little less daunting. As you can probably tell, there is no shortage of programming languages. And many of them are accessible to beginners! But regardless of whether you are new to coding, or just fancy learning a new language, you’ll have access to a huge community online. Any of the languages listed here could open the door to data science. Why not choose one and jump in?

  • 6 minutes

    The Tech Bootcamp Experience: What to Expect from Day One to Graduation

    Ironhack - 2023-10-24

    All Courses

    You probably know someone who’s completed a tech bootcamp–after all, they’re becoming increasingly common ways to kickstart a career in tech. And even if you don’t, keep your eyes peeled: you’ll probably meet someone soon. The whole idea of a bootcamp probably triggers lots of questions: is it actually possible to learn everything you need to know in a matter of months? Do employers actually hire bootcamp grads? To help clear up some of these doubts and hopefully bring you closer to the wonderful world of bootcamps, we’ve written this article: a clear break-down of the entire bootcamp experience from start to finish. Before we get right into the good stuff, however, let’s review what bootcamps are and why they’re becoming such a popular choice for those looking for ways to get into tech. What are Bootcamps? Bootcamps are short-term, intensive courses that take place over a few months and focus on one topic in particular with a clear goal: preparing its students to be job-ready immediately after graduation . During bootcamps, you’ll find that you dive right into the nitty gritty and get lots of hands-on experience so that you’re able to build an attractive portfolio and resume to present to future employers. Why are bootcamps so popular? As the world becomes increasingly more digital and technologically advanced, more and more companies are moving toward tech solutions that incorporate the latest trends in tech. But the number of job vacancies far exceeds the number of qualified applicants, meaning there’s a need for more skilled tech professionals. It’s important to note, however, that the tech field was largely non-diverse for a long time and had strict standards that made it nearly impossible for people to join. Luckily for you, bootcamps have become a completely acceptable way to get your tech education and an increasingly high number of tech professionals come from bootcamps; they’re flexible and accessible, opening the doors to tech to so many more groups of people. Bootcamps, speaking generally, are: Flexible : traditional courses are usually strict in the number of hours spent in class or require in-person presence. As bootcamps are designed specifically for those making a career change or looking to get into tech as soon as possible, they are available either full or part time, in addition to remotely or in-person. Affordable : gone are the days of needing to donate a kidney to afford an education; in addition to simply being cheaper and more affordable than other courses, many bootcamps offer financing options to help you get into tech. Specialized : there’s no longer any need to take boring and ultimately useless filler courses that universities frequently require; bootcamp syllabi are expertly designed to teach students exactly what they need to know efficiently and without spending time on unnecessary information. Now that you know why bootcamps are all the rage, let’s cover the entire bootcamp experience from day one to graduation. The Tech Bootcamp Experience Explained We know we said we’d start at day one, but we’re going to begin a bit before that: the pre-work. The bootcamp experience: prework At Ironhack, we’re fully committed to preparing you to enter the tech workforce, ready to handle any challenge thrown your way. And because we want to maximize the time spent in classrooms to get to the good stuff, we provide prework to be completed before the bootcamp even starts so that you’re able to learn the important theoretical and foundational knowledge required for success in your chosen field. Our pre-work gives you the chance to get your feet wet on the topic before the course begins, helping you get a nice introduction to the subject on your own time. It also helps all students enter the bootcamp on the same page; everyone has the same foundational knowledge and we’re ready to dive right in. The bootcamp experience: classes Once your prework is completed and you’re in your classes, you’ll find that you’re surrounded by an incredible group of Ironhackers who are focused on getting their start in tech. During your classes, you can expect to find: A skilled instructor : all of our instructors are experts in their field who are skilled at imparting knowledge to students; they’ve worked with our educational team to create a syllabus that reflects gaps in the job market so you’re best prepared for job opportunities after graduation. Helpful teaching assistants: we know our students have lots of questions and we pride ourselves on offering, in addition to our incredible instructors, teaching assistants (who are typically Ironhack graduates themselves!) that are there to troubleshoot with you and answer any questions you may have as you advance through the course. Lots of time to practice : the beauty of bootcamps is the amount of time you have to put what you’ve learned into practice; you’ll have lots of assignments and projects to complete throughout your course that won’t just teach you valuable content, but also leave you with physical proof of what you’ve just learned. The bootcamp experience: career support We know your love of tech isn’t the only thing that brought you into our classroom; you know the value of tech bootcamps and entering the tech industry is your goal. That’s why you’ll find that the tech bootcamp experience isn’t limited to just the classroom; our Career Services is specifically designed to work with you throughout the bootcamp (and after!) to prepare your CV, spruce up your portfolio, help you network, and practice your interviewing skills. The bootcamp experience: projects Learning a lot during your bootcamp is a given, but how can you guarantee what you’ve learned will translate to your resume and job application? This is where your projects and classwork come into play: at Ironhack, our curriculum is designed with the job search in mind, helping you create presentable deliverables that you can then add to your portfolio and resume. Hiring managers are looking for applicants with proof of what they know and these kinds of projects are a great way to show what you’ve learned. In addition, these projects are usually the result of teamwork and are a great way to create bonds and network with your fellow classmates. The bootcamp experience: graduation As graduation approaches, you’ll probably be eager to finish your bootcamp and start your new tech job. But before you get there, a crucial part of graduating is completing and presenting your final project, which will prove to be an incredible asset to your future job applications. You’ll start the project in the middle of the bootcamp and you can expect to spend lots of time working on it with your teammates; during the last week, the entire class will present their projects and a winner will be selected. Even if you aren’t selected as the winner, this final project can prove to be instrumental in enhancing your portfolio and overall candidacy as you start to face the job hunting process. The bootcamp experience: post-graduation We know we said we’d tell you about the bootcamp experience from day one to graduation, but just as our prework begins before the course does and as soon as you enroll, your bootcamp experience doesn’t end after graduation: For up to a year post-graduation, you’ll have access to our career services , which serves to help you land your first job in tech and navigate the interview process. The connections you make in your course with both fellow classmates and instructors will last as long as you nurture them; many of our alum have found lifelong friendships in our bootcamps and keep in touch with instructors and classmates for possible future opportunities. You’ll have access to your course materials after graduation, allowing you to refer back to them for a little refresher whenever you need. We hope this guide has proven itself helpful; we completely understand the idea of tech bootcamps is relatively new and can be a bit confusing, especially at first. At Ironhack, we’ve carefully created our bootcamp offerings across the world in four areas: web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity ; we offer full and part time options, in addition to in-person or remote, so that you’re able to pick the option that works best for you. The tech bootcamp experience can seem mysterious and overwhelming at first and we want to help you understand each and every second so that you’re able to properly prepare beforehand and manage the workload once you’re in the nitty gritty. And, of course, we’re committed to finding our graduates jobs soon after graduation and pride ourselves on our career services offerings. If you still have some doubts or are ready to say yes to your tech future , get in touch with one of our admissions advisors today and let your dreams of a tech-filled future become a reality. We can’t wait to see you in class!

  • Ironhack News

    7 minutes

    The 'What Ifs' Of Tech Bootcamps

    Frida Chacin Kulak - 2022-10-09


    All Courses

    If you’re reading this, you’re probably already considering doing a tech bootcamp. Tech ranks at the top of both the fastest growing sectors AND the best paid ones, so it makes total sense that you would consider starting a career in it, or pivoting from your current job. Or not, because turning your entire life upside down sounds absolutely terrifying! So many things could go wrong! But would they, though? Not all of your fears regarding bootcamps are as likely to haunt you as you might think, and we’re here to shine a light on your worst worries and zap them away with facts! What a Tech Bootcamp Is… and Isn’t! If you’re not sure whether a bootcamp is the right option for you, odds are you can find your answers if you dig into it and do your research. Many of the doubts that plague prospective bootcamp students are related to the flexibility before and throughout the process: can I pay in instalments? Will I get help afterwards, or just a diploma and a wave goodbye? If I slip during the course, or crack from the pressure, will someone be there to help me get back on my feet? The answers to most of these questions are kinder than you think. We won’t sugarcoat it: yes, a bootcamp is the most intense type of tech training out there— and yes, you will work your ass off! It’s definitely not for the faint of heart! You can read some of our alumni stories to find out exactly how and why a bootcamp is ‘intensive’, and figure out how much is too much. First and foremost, you must know that you won’t be alone through the process: our priority is that you make it out alive, well, and employed! Because, after a bootcamp, it’s a given that you will have the in-demand tech skills to get the job you always wanted in tech! We don’t want you to start a bootcamp if you’re not completely sure that it’s what you want and what you need, tailored for you. And you can easily find out whether that’s the case: the information is out there— we’ve talked about this a lot (really, a lot); and admissions counsellors are always ready to answer each and every question. But if you’re afraid that you might regret starting a bootcamp, we’ve saved you a lot of trouble and effort, and done the research for you: read on! Are These ‘What Ifs’ Keeping You Up at Night? Like with every significant life choice, you might feel apprehensive at the idea of starting a tech bootcamp, unsure about whether it’ll go well… or terribly wrong! Stop and think: are any of these very common fears getting in your way? “What if I can't afford it?” You might be worried about the cost of a bootcamp! ‘Am I digging my own grave by paying for this?’, you wonder. But a bootcamp is not necessarily a huge upfront investment. Like many other educational, specialised paths (think university!), most if not all bootcamps offer different types of financing options, often tailored to your income and particular needs; and bootcamp admissions teams will help you seek out a solution that works for you, too. When considering whether to invest in a bootcamp, the question you have to answer is this: is the value I will get out of this course worth the cost? Think about what you want to do when you achieve your objective, and how this bootcamp fits into your career goals. Bootcamp alumni who wanted to start a career in tech, pivot to one, or increase their job responsibilities (and pay!) usually achieve this goal! “What if I struggle to manage my time?” Bootcamps are intensive courses, and, therefore, require great time management skills and organisation, especially if you’re working or studying something else at the same time. So naturally, you might be afraid to not be up for the challenge, and end up dead on your feet with an unfinished bootcamp. We can never say it enough: ask about it! Before you sign up for a bootcamp, counsellors should be able to dispel all of your worries. You wouldn’t be the first one to struggle with time management— bootcamps always have measures in place to help out students who are having a hard time. It’s supposed to be intense, yes, but not an ordeal! Ask for what you need, and you will get help: guaranteed. “What if I can't keep up, and fail?” A bootcamp isn’t like a shooting game at the fair— oops, you missed, try again from the start! From the syllabus to the personalised attention, bootcamps are purposefully designed for you to thrive, passing assignments with flying colours and learning practical skills for good. So if you find it difficult to keep up, you won’t be left behind: you will get the help you need. To ensure this, bootcamps are designed to be beginner-friendly, to give everyone enough time to acquire tech expertise without knowledge gaps. You will be surrounded by a very supportive working environment, wired to help you succeed: from your fellow students to your tutors and counsellors, everyone will help you if you struggle. An Ironhack bootcamp is not a lonely experience: we take pride in our sense of community, and our unwavering support to each other. “What if I don't enjoy it?” There are two reasons why you might not enjoy a tech bootcamp: because of the ‘tech’ part, or because of the ‘bootcamp’ part. If you don’t see yourself working in tech, doing a tech bootcamp probably sounds like a bad idea. But what do you picture when you think ‘tech’? If you’re thinking of that scene from Matrix with the green code trickling down the screen, we have news for you: tech is so, so much more! Before you completely discard the idea of working in tech, take a look into the different areas and roles within it: there are jobs for coders, analysts, and even artists! You might not like the experience of an intensive bootcamp. And that’s perfectly fine! Not everyone is suited for it: some of us find it too stressful, and you shouldn’t feel inadequate if you end up deciding that you want to take it slow. And, luckily, there are options for you, too! You don’t even have to look at other types of courses: bootcamps themselves often offer a part-time option, so you can get your tech skills… the chill way! “What if I don't get a job afterwards?” Afraid you will end up dead in the water after finishing the bootcamp, staring at your shiny diploma, but still unemployed and without prospects? It sure is spooky to think of getting an education for nothing, which is why we don’t let that happen to Ironhackers! Just take a look at our Career Services : from career events to personalised aid, when you finish your bootcamp, we bridge the gap from graduate to professional with career support, job-seeking know-how, and a dedicated community— dedicated to getting you the career you want. What Is It Like to Be a Bootcamp Alumnus? Bootcamp students are being increasingly hired by top tech companies, and it’s no wonder! For the longest time, recruiters had to choose between university graduates (with extensive theoretical knowledge but sometimes lacking in their practical sense and abilities) and self-taught talent (with hands-on experience and instinct, but superficial, software/language-dependent skills): as it turns out, bootcamp grads are the perfect middle ground between the two, with a skill set designed to be practical, and hitting the ground running with real projects before even finishing the bootcamp. You won’t face a shortage of interested recruiters, that’s for sure! Tech bootcamps are designed to be flexible to their core, taking in students of all ages, origins and backgrounds— and the results are just as diverse! Just take a look at some of our alumni stories, or the professionals we interview on Ironhack Podcast: with a bootcamp, you can do just about anything. The one common thing our alumni all tell from their post-bootcamp experience: they work in a field with rapid growth and guaranteed longevity, with their value as professionals steadily increasing in a short time! Fears banished and mind at ease, is a tech bootcamp starting to look like THE killer move to turn your life around and start the career of your dreams? Check out our bootcamps !

  • 7 minutes

    Artificial Intelligence Breakthroughs: A Look Ahead to 2024

    Ironhack - 2023-10-14

    Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence (AI) has been a transformative force in our world, reshaping industries, economies, and our daily lives. As we approach 2024, the AI landscape is poised for significant breakthroughs that promise to further accelerate its integration into society. So strap in as we explore what AI is, its evolving role in society, and predictions for its future. Understanding Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence, often abbreviated as AI, refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think and learn like humans . AI systems are designed to perform tasks that typically require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and problem-solving. These systems are powered by advanced algorithms and massive datasets, enabling them to analyze, predict, and adapt to various situations. Before we get into the latest advancements, let's first understand the key components that make AI function and the process that brings AI to life. Machine learning algorithms At the heart of AI development are machine learning algorithms. These are the building blocks that enable AI systems to learn from data, make predictions, and adapt to new information. Here’s a brief overview of the primary types of machine learning algorithms: Supervised learning: this approach trains the AI system on labeled data. By providing the input and the desired output, the algorithm learns to map inputs to outputs, making predictions based on patterns it discovers during training. An example of this is spam email classification, where the algorithm learns a pattern from labeled examples to decide which messages to filter out. Unsupervised learning: this approach involves teaching AI systems on unlabeled data, with the goal of the algorithm being to discover hidden patterns or structures within the data. Clustering and dimensionality reduction are common tasks in unsupervised learning. Reinforcement learning: this approach works to train AI agents to make sequences of decisions in an environment to maximize a reward. These agents learn through trial and error, making decisions and receiving feedback to improve their performance. Reinforcement learning is crucial in developing autonomous systems such as self-driving cars and game-playing AI. Semi-supervised learning: this approach combines elements of both supervised and unsupervised learning. It uses a small amount of labeled data and a large amount of unlabeled data to train the AI system. This approach is particularly useful when obtaining labeled data is expensive or time-consuming. Deep learning: this approach is a subset of machine learning that focuses on neural networks with multiple layers (deep neural networks). These networks can learn complex representations from data, enabling them to excel in tasks like image and speech recognition. Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) and Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) and examples of deep learning architectures. Data collection and preprocessing To create robust AI systems, high-quality data is essential, leading to more accurate and highly developed algorithms. The process typically involves the following: Data collection: gathering a diverse and representative dataset is crucial. For image recognition, this might involve collecting thousands of images with various objects and backgrounds. Data labeling: annotating data with the correct output is necessary for supervised learning algorithms. This looks like labeling audio clips with transcriptions or matching images with their corresponding objects. Data preprocessing: making data ready for training is often compulsory, and may include normalization, data cleaning, and feature extraction. Training and model development Once data is collected and preprocessed, the AI model is trained through the following processes: Model selection: choosing an appropriate machine learning model or neural network architecture for the task at hand. Training loop: iteratively presenting the data to the model, adjusting model parameters, and evaluating its performance on a validation dataset. Hyperparameter tuning: fine-tuning hyperparameters, such as learning rates or network infrastructures, to refine the model’s performance. Regularization: applying techniques like dropout or L1/L2 regularization to prevent overfitting, where the model performs well on the training data but poorly on new, unseen data. Optimization: using algorithms like stochastic gradient descent (SGD) to adjust the model’s parameters for better performance. Inference and deployment Once the AI model is trained, it’s ready for deployment. Inference is the process of using the trained model to make predictions on new or unfamiliar data. These phases involve: Scalability: ensuring that the AI system can handle large volumes of data and make predictions quickly and efficiently. Real-time inference: developing AI systems with the ability with the capacity for real-time inference. This is a hefty requirement for infrastructures that control autonomous vehicles, as decisions must be made within milliseconds. Monitoring and maintenance: continuously monitoring the AI system’s performance, considering user-feedback, and making updates as necessary is vital for the consistency and reliability of the application. How AI is Evolving in Society Now that we have a grasp of the basic AI development process, it’s time to delve into the recent strides made by AI. From revolutionizing transportation to reshaping the landscape of healthcare, let’s explore the tangible ways in which AI is already exerting its influence: Deep learning: inspired by the structure and function of the human brain, this subset of machine learning has led to several remarkable breakthroughs. Utilizing models such as CNNs and RNNs, image and speech recognition has achieved human-level performance. Natural language processing (NLP): driven by the development of transformer-based models, NLP has seen notable progress. BERT, a family of language models introduced in 2018, has revolutionized NLP by understanding the context of words in a sentence, leading to significant improvements in search engines and language understanding. In 2022, OpenAI’s Chat GPT-3, with 175 billion parameters, demonstrated groundbreaking capabilities in generating human-like text. Healthcare: tuned AI algorithms can compare patient data to vast datasets, helping to detect diseases like cancer and diabetes at early stages. The same types of algorithms can identify potential drug candidates and improve overall patient outcomes. Climate change: improved climate change models, created by machine analyzing vast datasets of historical climate data, has resulted in more accurate predictions of future climate trends. This advancement is invaluable for policymakers and scientists striving to make more informed decisions about climate action. Finance and investment: AI-powered trading algorithms execute trades at lightning speed, leveraging data and real-time information to identify profitable opportunities. These algorithms outperform human traders in terms of speed and analysis, making financial markets more lucrative. Autonomous systems: self-directed cars and drones are becoming more reliable; Tesla’s autopilot system, with AI at its core, inches closer and closer to fully autonomous driving. These modes of transportation have the capacity to react instantaneously, eliminating human errors and increasing efficiency. Is AI the Future? Predictions for AI in 2024 As we look ahead to 2024, it’s clear that the age of AI and our human future will become increasingly intertwined. AI is poised for even more extraordinary breakthroughs , reshaping both our technological and physical worlds. While we don’t have a crystal ball, here are some predictions for the future of AI: AI bias mitigation: addressing bias in AI will become a top priority. Advanced techniques, including fairness-aware machine learning algorithms and diverse dataset collection, will be employed to reduce and, if possible, fully eliminate any biases of AI in the future. AI regulation: implementing technology-related law has always been a game of catch up, but as governments and regulatory bodies take note of growing AI risks, they’re expected to take action. This will look like creating more stringent regulations to address algorithm transparency, job displacement, and the inherent unpredictability of AI’s future. AI-assisted creativity: generating art, music, and literature are just the beginning of AI’s role as a creative partner. It’s expected that AI designs and sounds will become completely indistinguishable from human creations, challenging the boundaries of imagination and sparking discussions that question the definition of art and human expression. Additionally, existing notions of artistic ownership, copyrights, and royalties will evolve as AI systems become routine collaborators. AI-quantum computing: harnessing the power of quantum bits or qubits will turbocharge AI’s problem-solving prowess. This synergy will fuel breakthroughs in healthcare, materials science, finance, and cryptography, as quantum computing empowers AI to tackle complex challenges at unprecedented speeds. AI-powered education: utilizing data around individual students' learning styles and needs, AI-driven education platforms will be on the rise. These platforms will offer tailored informational content, quizzes, and recommendations that simulate a one-on-one learning experience. In addition, the growth of virtual reality (VR) offers the possibility for fully immersive educational explorations; historical events, scientific phenomena, and complex concepts can be made into interactive digital worlds for students to study. AI-infused work: possessing the ability to wield AI tools will become an indispensable skill across several industries beyond the tech sphere. Whether it’s retailers using AI for inventory management or real estate agents leveraging AI to analyze property and homebuyer data, those who know how to command AI tools will stand out as competitive candidates within their field, and be more attractive to forward-thinking companies. AI career opportunities: growing awareness of AI and its value has sky-rockted the demand for AI professionals. Companies will actively seek AI experts, including data scientists, machine learning engineers, and AI developers, to spearhead AI initiates and create future AI tools. Additionally, it’s expected that there will be a greater demand for AI-ethicists, who will play a crucial role in guaranteeing that AI technologies are developed according to ethical standards and are safeguarded against bias. As we stand on the cusp of 2024, the trajectory of AI is undeniably upward, with breakthroughs waiting to be unlocked and horizons waiting to be expanded. The question isn’t whether AI is part of your future, but rather how you can be a part of shaping its future . If you’re eager to be at the forefront of this technological revolution, there’s no better time to take action. Check out our bootcamps and become a catalyst for change in the world of artificial intelligence.

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