You’re considering becoming a software developer? Great, you’re in the right place! We’ve got an amazing team of developers here, and after talking with them, they all told me that it can be really difficult to know how to start, or just where to start when to become a software developer. For that reason, I thought it would be a great idea to write about this topic, to guide those out there that are not quite sure of how to begin.
So I will start off with the first tip: choose how you want to learn to be a programmer. What do you think would be the best way for you to learn? In fact, there are 3 main paths to take. But it all depends of the type of person you are. There is no right answer. Are you usually self motivated? Do you feel like you need to have more flexibility in general? Are you able to self train or do you need it to be all planned out for you? Will you be able to keep a schedule and organise your time? One thing is sure, no matter which path you take and which way you decide to learn how to become a software developer, hard work is what will determine your success. Always think about practice & theory, read academic books but also write code. Build and create.
Choosing the best way to learn programming
Getting a degree in software engineering or any other related fieldMost of the software engineer positions will require a degree. This usually provides you with very important knowledge regarding the design of software. Of course, you’ve got many different options (computer science, computer engineering, software development, game programming, etc.) but my goal here isn’t to recommend you on what to study. The idea is to know if you would rather get a degree or if you would prefer considering other options (that I will mention right after this). The basics you will learn here are quite important and you will have a path that is kind of laid out for you, which can be very convenient for some type of people, and less for others. Keep in mind that all the theory you will learn is good, but it’s not enough. Actually you need to know much more, because there’s a gap between the theory and the practice. One isn’t better than the other, it’s just a matter of how you manage things.
Boot camp for developersA bootcamp for developers is a sort of training program where you will learn things about programming, which are the most important in the market at the moment. You usually learn how to write code and how to build applications. You have to be motivated and really want to do it because usually, boot camps last between 2-3 months. Programs are quite intensive, going up to 10h/day! The thing is that you will learn to code, and very quickly. But you won’t really know much about all the software design, the architecture and how to really make it scalable or solve complex problems. To get to that point, you will have to read, you will have to talk to people, and with experience & knowledge you will be more ready when it comes to engineering.
Learn by yourself
Finally, the third option is to just learn by yourself. Obviously for that you need to be self organised and self motivated, because it will all depend of you and only you. Many developers just look at the curriculums of others, check out boot camp schedules, programs layouts, etc. and get inspired by that. They end up building their own program based on the research they did. It’s obviously much more flexible but can be frustrating sometimes if you have no one to talk to or to ask things when you have doubts. This is a very good option but as I said, you have to plan it. After choosing how do you want to learn programming, I recommend you follow those tips on how to become a software developer, they apply to the three previous options.
9 tips on how to become a software developer
1- Learn the basics
First, you better start off with learning the basics, to get a strong foundation. Learning a language shouldn’t be the first step. You must learn how to program, how to solve problems and specially how to find problems. After that you will be able to use your programming language.
2- Choose a programming language
In my opinion, you definitely shouldn’t only stick to one language (I mean you could), there are so many to choose! But you have to start with one, and for that, you should read, do some research, check job offers, see what is in demand, check out the communities, ask people around you, and you will then be able to determine if there is one that you like more than others.
3- Join different communities
Joining communities is something that everyone should do. It’s a great way to meet people, share knowledge & experiences. And you can find all sorts of meetups for all the topics that would interest you, going from work methodologies to programming languages. Be active in the community!
4- Practice is key
You should always practice, work on your own projects, fail, fix it. You have to learn by doing, that’s how you learn the most. You have questions and doubts? You ask other developers, the community, and you then re-practice. If you don’t try to build things and work on what you’re doing wrong, you’ll never get better.
5- Learn to be patient, you will need it
When you start programming, you can often feel that you’re no good, that it’s not for you, that you are frustrated, that progress is slow. Well it’s normal. It takes time, practice, and experience to be able to write good code. As mostly everyone, you will have to go through hundreds of thousands of lines before you become a software developer with a high level!
6- Have a reading schedule
As I said it earlier, reading is important. So have a schedule. Put yourself some goals & objectives that you will respect. I won’t tell you that you have to read a book per week and that that is the right amount. What i’m saying, my idea, is to have a schedule that you will follow, something realistic that you will commit to. Because you can say you would to read book and end up never doing it because you got caught up with other things. But having a schedule makes it more organised and planned.
7- Have a mentor
Having a mentor is key. You will have someone to listen to, that will guide you when you have doubts, that will be here to answer some of your question, that will help you have a clearer vision. Someone to look up for, that can give you some feedback and a different perspective.
8- Analyse yourself
Analyse your work methods. How quick do you work? What are the errors you often do? Why? This will help you increase your productivity and make you aware of what needs to be improved.
9- Look for internships
Internships are important. Of course you can become a software developer without it but it helps. You can read all the books you want and know a lot about programming, but the fact is that employers like to know that you have work experience. It’s a great way to learn by doing and from others, meet people in the industry, see if you like the company, and if you do, work and prove you are worth hiring!
I hope this article was helpful for you and cleared a few doubts you had on how to become a software developer. Obviously there are many other opinions regarding how to start your career plans. As I mentioned, meeting people is very important as you could get other tips from those that are already in the industry. If you’re interested to know more about the career path of a software developer, here’s more information.