Data analysis or software development: Which area of digital is for you?


I want to change career and study with CodeClan, should I choose to study data or software development?

It’s a common question for our admissions team, whether to choose software development or data analysis.

Many people know they want a new career in digital, but without actually being able to try out the job, it’s hard to know which path is best. It’s not an easy question to answer but we’ve put together some general advice to help you to guide your decision.

The Key Differences

Although software development and data analysis have some overlap like requiring logical thinking, problem solving and coding skills, they are very different. 

A career in software or web development will have a big focus on working in a team made up of developers, designers and other roles, to build things. A typical project would look something like this:

A career in data analysis is quite different as you’ll typically be focussing on solving business problems with your analysis and then influencing stakeholders with your findings. A typical project would look something like this:

Take some time to think about where you want to position yourself in an organisation, and the sort of work you think you would enjoy.

Talk to People

We recommend trying to talk to as many people as you can who are working in the type of roles you are interested in, add them on LinkedIn and quiz them about their typical day and what they like/dislike about their job. Try to look at job adverts and speak to hiring managers too, what do they look for in new recruits? Do you have some of those transferable skills already and/or are you willing to develop those skills? If this is hard to do, try lots of googling and reading on the topic, you’ll find inspiring career stories online. Our blog is a great starting point!

See if there are any free online talks/events/meetups you can go along to. The tech community tends to be quite a social, supportive bunch and attending these events may help you to learn more about the industry and where you see yourself fitting in. Take a look at, OpenTechCalendar and CodeClan’s events page for starters.

Podcasts are also a great resource where you can listen to people talking about their careers, industry trends and more.

Explore the basics with self study and mini projects

There are tonnes of free online resources that can help you to explore the basics. Often this route takes a long time and won’t go deep enough to change career (that’s where CodeClan comes in!) but it will help you to get a feel for the basic concepts whether it’s software development or data analysis.

If you’re doing some self-guided learning, try and pick a project to complete. You could try building a small web app or you could find a public data set related to an area of interest and do some analysis on it. Trying to learn and apply these skills may help you to identify areas that you enjoy.

Come and Talk to Us 

And finally, the other thing you can do whilst weighing up the two career paths is to come along to one of our information sessions or workshops. You’ll find out more about what we teach and you can ask instructors, many of whom have worked in the industry, lots of questions. You can register for one of these on our events page


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