How to become a Software Developer
Software developers are in charge of making sure that computer programs run smoothly and efficiently. They use their programming skills to create new software and update existing applications with bug fixes or feature additions. If you have problem-solving and creativity skills in spades, this may be an exciting career path for you.
Right now, software developers are in high demand, with many different opportunities available to them. If you're interested in learning about the growth of this profession, this article gives you eight tips that will help get your foot inside the door.
But wait, what exactly does a software developer do?
Very simply put, software developers are the heart and soul of computer programs. They design them, write their code from scratch or modify existing ones to make sure they meet user needs, and then release applications altogether.
8 Tips on How to Become a Software Developer
Get a tech-related degree or any bachelor’s degree for that matter.
The world of software is a vast and diverse one—unlike other careers, there aren't as many stringent educational qualifications required for this field. Most companies only require prospective software developers to be proficient in programming languages (more on this later).
Nonetheless, many employers still seek out employees who have soft skills that are beneficial when working in a company because they allow for better relationships which can lead to success in other areas too. These soft skills, which you can hone and develop in college, are a collection of positive traits that help you work well with people, whether on a team or one-on-one. These include:
Communication - Developers who can quickly and efficiently explain their ideas are more likely to be able to bring their projects to fruition. Those who cannot express themselves well may find it difficult to get their colleagues on board with their vision, leading to frustration and stagnation.
Empathy - In order to create truly user-friendly software, you need to be able to understand and share the feelings of your users. Only then will you be able to design software that meets their needs and enhances their experience.
Patience - Any software developer will tell you that patience is a virtue. Building code is a complex and detail-oriented process, and rushing through it can lead to mistakes that are time-consuming to fix.
Creativity - While creativity is often associated with fields like art and music, it is also an important quality for software developers. After all, developing new software applications requires the ability to come up with innovative solutions to complex problems.
Critical Thinking - The ability to analyze a problem and identify potential solutions is crucial in the development process. Often, there is more than one way to solve a problem, and it is up to the developer to choose the most efficient or effective solution.
In an industry where change is constant and progress is often measured in milliseconds, critical thinking can be the difference between success and failure.
Leadership - Software developers are no longer confined to working behind the scenes. As the role of technology continues to grow, developers are increasingly being called upon to take on leadership roles because developing effective software requires more than just technical expertise—it also requires the ability to work with a team of people, manage projects, and communicate effectively.
Teamwork - No single developer can create a piece of software from start to finish and expect it to be successful. Instead, developers need to work together, sharing knowledge and ideas in order to create the best possible product.
Have a strong grasp of at least one programming language.
Today, there are already a plethora of programming languages in the digital world. That doesn’t mean, however, that you have to master each one. If you have, then great for you—your chances of getting hired are significantly higher.
But if you’re just starting out, then focusing on becoming very proficient with just one is also a good use of your time and resources. Some companies are even very specific when it comes to the expertise of their software developers. Take some time to study a language that piques your interest.
If you don’t have an idea yet, here are four programming languages you might want to consider learning:
C or C++
Learning either C or C++ will give you a solid foundation for programming. They are both very popular languages that often get used in system-level applications like games. The two languages have some similarities, so it's not impossible to learn them both at the same time.
Java is a versatile programming language that can be used for developing applications on various platforms. It has been particularly popular in the development of server software and Android smartphone apps, and is also applicable to web development, making it an essential tool in today's double-tapping world.
Python is a great language to get started with if you are new or haven't had much experience in programming. It has many easy-to-learn features that allow it to be used for various purposes, such as scripting, building apps, and data analysis.
HTML is not really a programming language (Hypertext Markup Language) but very important for formatting text on websites. It doesn't have as many features as other languages listed here, but it can still create and structure information as it appears on websites!
CSS, which is also not really a programming language (Stylesheet Language) is usually applied in conjunction with HTML and helps to organize the site’s appearance. CSS also determines the size, color, and position of all page elements like images or links—which means that without this key piece of code, websites would not only look out-of-date but could also be difficult (or even impossible) to navigate.
CSS is the perfect language for beginners who want to learn how codes work without getting too overwhelmed. It’s easy, so much so that even high school students can learn it in no time.
SQL is a specialized programming language used to interact with databases. It's designed for programmers who need access and control of data inside an RDBMS (relational database management system). It’s also one of the most used languages in the world.
All these programming languages are different and unique in their own ways and strengths. Having a solid foundation in any of them will surely catch the attention of many prospective companies.
Start a passion project to practice.
The more you practice, the better your programming and development skills will become. You can't know what it's like to be an expert in something if there isn’t enough time to practice on your own.
Exploring is key to understanding how programming languages work and getting comfortable using them. It takes time, but in the end, it will help with your skillset when trying new things on development projects later down the line!
Build your portfolio.
In the world of software development, an end product is always a more impressive demonstration of your skills than a resume or CV. If you have some programming samples from school or a passion project that could help get your career off on the right foot, then don't hesitate to show them. This gives people an idea of what kind of work they can expect from someone who’s just starting out.
Seek out internships.
Internships are an excellent opportunity to put your skills and talents into real practice, especially if you’re just starting out and still have ounces of doubt about your capabilities. They are also a great way to make yourself stand out in today's competitive job market because they can show potential employers that you have the drive and passion to set out a career in software development.
Certifications are another great way to demonstrate your skills and proficiency. If you don't have any work experience, certifications can help get the ball rolling. In addition, they can help you land jobs with companies that may not otherwise see themselves hiring people with no certifications in their field.
Get a friend or a mentor who could show you the ropes.
Software development can be an exciting new journey, but it’s not always easy to know where and when you should start. Talking with people in the industry could help you get a sense of what their day-to-day rigors look like.
There are countless benefits to having a mentor or a friend that you can gain insights from. They may have been in your shoes before, which means they know what it takes to succeed. You should do everything possible when seeking out these connections because their wisdom is invaluable—even if breaking into the field seems tough sometimes.
Trust in your skills.
Of course, all of these go without saying that you need to start building your confidence. Applying for a job can be a stressful process. You want to make sure that you put your best foot forward, but it can be hard to know what kind of impression you're making. The most important thing is to remember that you are capable and qualified for the position.
Trust in your own skills and abilities, and don't be afraid to sell yourself. Chances are, if you believe in yourself, employers will too!