As a stay-at-home mother, there will naturally be plenty of downtime for you to fill. The children might be asleep or even at playschool so, while they’re resting or developing their social skills, isn’t it fair that you should be developing some skills of your own?
Historically, stay-at-home mums might have considered more artistic or caring routes back into part-time work such as teaching or craft-based roles. But the next generation of mums is increasingly acknowledging the benefits of coding and the development of apps and games for a plethora of work-life balance reasons.
According to research by the Center for Work-Life Policy, 43% of qualified women with children have quit their existing jobs of their own accord to care for their young ones. Getting back into the workforce and enjoying new beginnings is difficult after a reasonable spell on the sidelines and some employers take a dim view of lengthy gaps of 5+ years in CVs. Finding a job that can provide you with a suitable work-life balance is what all working mums are after. That’s where the excitement of coding comes in. With coding and app development, it is a genuine meritocracy. Many employers in the tech sector won’t question gaps in your employment if you can prove your passion and skills with a back catalogue of self-developed apps and games. So, let’s delve a little deeper into why coding is such a viable option for 21st-century stay-at-home mums.
Learn at your own pace
Naturally, as a stay-at-home mum, you have plenty of responsibilities in life, none more so than your children. Enrolling in a full-time university course is simply not an option but what’s great about learning to code is that you can take it at your own pace at home. With literally dozens of online tutorials and bootcamps that offer courses in coding and development, you can progress as quickly or as slowly as your spare time allows. The Open University currently operates 5 different honours degrees based around computing and IT practice that can be studied for as long as it takes, fitting around your daily schedule.
An opportunity to be creative
Another great benefit of learning to code is that it offers a new creative outlet for those who don’t particularly enjoy traditional stay-at-home mum jobs such as sewing or blogging. There is a misconception that developers aren’t in the least bit creative, which is completely incorrect. Coders need to be extremely creative to develop their own concepts and bring them to life on screen. An increasing number of online communities for stay-at-home mums who code can also help you share ideas and collaborate with other like-minded women. Tech Ladies is now home to over 20,000 women who work in tech, while Women Who Code is an incredibly useful resource platform, with a global calendar of 1,700 coding events around the world.
A chance to develop in-demand skills
One of the best ways to re-enter the professional workforce after an extended time out is to learn in-demand skills for a career in an industry that’s on an upward curve. Coding and game development is not only well-paid – with the average video game programmer salary in the UK currently £30,671 per year – the number of job opportunities give you a genuine chance of starting afresh.
Fun ways to build up your development portfolio
Showcasing your work is essential to securing any well-paid game development job. Before you even think of applying for vacancies, it’s highly recommended that you have fun and attempt to develop a range of your very own apps and games from the ground up. It is said that prospective employers spend an average of 10-30 seconds reviewing applicants’ portfolios, so it’s important to keep things simple. Here are a few fun ways to demonstrate your skills and personality to potential employers.
Whether it’s a game of chess, your own take on Candy Crush Saga or a blackjack app against a programmed dealer, these are simple, fun games that can be made as beginner coders that are also in high demand on the app marketplace. In 2016, 90% of Google Play’s revenue came from games alone. Those game ideas can also be expanded on once you’ve mastered the basics. For instance, most online casinos now offer variants of blackjack including European, multi-hand and hi-lo 13 forms of the game and you could always create a new version of your own.
As that work-life balance is such a necessity for stay-at-home mums, another benefit of a career in coding is that you can do it from the comfort of your own computer desk at home. Many developers and programmers opt to go freelance and pick and choose the work they do, keeping the work 100% flexible around your responsibilities as a parent.
Improve your understanding of modern-day technology
Learning how to code is also a really fascinating way to get a fundamental understanding of the way the digital world works. Apps have become an integral part of our everyday lives and you can use the skills you gain to not only earn a valuable income but to pass on your knowledge to the rest of your family too.
Coding is not for every stay-at-home mum. Don’t just assume that you will have a passion for web development. Take some time to read up on front-end and full-stack development and see if it intrigues you enough to spark that passion within. As with any professional career, you’ll need a stable support network to call upon when work gets tough but it can be an exceptionally rewarding one in an industry which is expanding at a rapid rate of knots.