Am I Technical Enough to Learn to Code?

Taking the step to change careers can be exciting, intimidating, and stressful all at the same time—especially if you’re looking to break into a new industry. Are you a Chef, a Teacher, a Plumber, etc? We’ve seen a plethora of previous careers coming into Tech Elevator and we get this question a lot from prospective students: “Do I have to have a coding background to succeed in the program?”

The simple answer is no.

There are various skills that serve as a strong foundation for becoming a talented coder. That’s why we developed a proprietary series of two Aptitude Tests  to help identify key characteristics that we see in successful applicants, even if they have no prior coding experience.

Keep reading to learn more about the three common traits we see to help guide your decision.

3 Most Common Traits of Successful Software Engineers

1. Problem-Solving Skills

Are you a naturally curious person? Do you enjoy trying to find solutions for tricky situations? As a coder, you’ll be faced daily withAm I technical enough to learn to code? Tech Elevator Wilmington in the news challenges that involve this skill. A typical project may consist of debugging an issue on a website, which will require you to test and try various codes until you find the solution. Many of our students are motivated by those types of challenges and enjoy the rewarding feeling of finding the perfect solution!

2. Critical Thinking

If you would consider yourself an “outside of the box” thinker, coding might be a great career for you.

Technology is always changing, meaning that coding concepts are always evolving as well. As a coder, you may be exposed to issues where there is no textbook explanation to help you solve the issue (or stack overflow has failed you). As a coder, you should be comfortable taking initiative to do some of your own research online and work with your peers to help solve your project. We find often that the skills you bring with you from your previous career and experiences give you a different approach to critical thinking and in my personal experience some of the best creative solutions come with a different perspective.

Am I technical enough to learn to code? Software Developers Collaborating3. Collaboration Skills

Contrary to how coders are depicted in movies and online, coders are very collaborative people, and being able to excel in a team environment is important. Gone are the hoodie-wearing days where developers camp out in dingy basements; instead, the most typical work environments are in offices where there is much face-to-face interaction, collaboration, and teamwork. (Some still wear hoodies)

More About the Predictive Aptitude Tests

There are a total of two Aptitude Tests in the Tech Elevator Admissions process. Neither require any coding skills. The first, which is a quick 15-minute, 14-question assessment on Tech Elevator’s website, helps a potential student determine if coding could be a fit. The second, longer Aptitude Test, is taken by a potential student during their final admissions interview.This longer Aptitude Test is a six-section, 35-question assessment that tests for several competencies that have been proven to predict academic success at Tech Elevator. We’ve developed our tests iteratively using data from thousands of test takers compared against academic performance  and through contributions from industrial psychologists and experts in the field of education.

Our questions are designed to ensure that the test measures an applicant’s aptitude rather than their test-taking ability, coding skills or educational background.

To validate that our test is effective and free of bias, we partnered with Watterson & Associates, a group of industrial psychologists specializing in assessments, and The Center for Excellence and Innovation in Education at Cleveland State University, which specializes in evaluating assessment instruments for effectiveness, test construction, and sources of potential bias. Dr. Sharon Brown, the Center’s director, led a team that reviewed our aptitude test and found it to be well-constructed, readable, and free of bias across gender, ethnicity, prior programming experience, and education. Additionally, she concluded that our test is highly predictive of student performance in the classroom.

Ready to test your coding skills?

Take our free 15-Minute Aptitude Test today to see how your skills compare to those of a software developer. It’s the proven foundation for becoming a successful software engineer or web developer. Our approach has worked for thousands of students nationwide. Good luck!

Want to hear from Tech Elevator Alumni?

Our students are thriving in jobs they love. Hear from Rick: Ranch Hand to Dallas Software Developer. Hear from Rebecca: My Life As a Software Developer at Google.


Kalyn Breneman - Director of Admissions




Written by Kalyn Breneman,
Tech Elevator’s Director of Admissions