How to Become a Software Developer
Software development is one of the fastest growing industries, offering the chance to work with new technologies and earn big bucks. To break into this thriving field, read our ultimate guide to becoming a software developer.
What is a Software Developer?
Software developers work on computer, mobile and web applications, writing code for the smooth functioning of said software. Blending technical and creative skills, software development is an increasingly popular career path for graduates and career switchers alike – and no wonder, since it’s one of the top careers in IT. But how do you actually get your foot in this competitive industry?
University Not Necessary
For a lot of people, software development seems like an intimidating industry to get into, perhaps requiring a software engineering or computer science degree. In reality, software development is a very accessible career path for anyone with an interest and a natural aptitude for information technology. Online learning platforms, flexible work arrangements and collaboration all relate to software development, meaning there are very few barriers to entry.
When looking to become a software developer, the most important thing is having a skillset that focuses on problem-solving and a solid grasp of programming languages. The beauty of software development is that the relevant skills can be built through a variety of avenues, without necessitating a bachelor’s degree.
How to Become a Software Developer
So, how can you make that software development career a reality? Here are the seven steps we suggest taking, whether you’re fresh out of high school or a career changer with experience:
Be clear on your career goals
To carve out a successful career, you need to be clear on where you’re going. Do you see yourself scoring a software engineer job at a huge tech company like Google? Or working freelance as a web developer? Being clear on your career goals as a junior developer will set you up for long-term success. You should also figure out whether you want to work as a back-end, front-end or full stack developer so that you can start building the most appropriate skills for the position.
Pick up a coding language
Decide on a specialisation
There are a few different types of development that you can choose to pursue. This includes web development, DevOps, mobile application development and technical stack. Explore a few different ones to figure out which one might be your calling, and hone in on this one to increase your employability and value.
While a degree isn’t necessary to enter software development, certifications are always a good idea to help you become a more competitive candidate. Employers want to see that you are constantly refining your skills and are up-to-date with the relevant software applications, operating systems and programming languages. You can choose to get certified directly from a technology vendor like Microsoft or Cisco, an education provider or a professional organisation.
Next, you’ll need some practical experience to back up your theoretical learning. Internships, coding bootcamps, hackathons and web development meetups are all great avenues, allowing you to put your skills to use in real-world scenarios. Building your own projects is also a fantastic way of flexing your newfound talents, as is contributing to open source.
Software development is a collaborative industry, meaning it’s important to network and consistently learn from your peers. Conferences are a great way of staying on top of the latest products, technologies and business practices, while hackathons allow you to keep your skills fresh with other like-minded people. Who knows, you might even come across a recruiter at these events!
Master pre-interview essentials
Now that you’ve built the relevant skills and experience for a career as a software developer, it’s time to start preparing for the job application and interview processes. Fine tune your resume, cover letter and online presence (namely LinkedIn, GitHub and your portfolio site). Then, all you need to do is ace your job interview!
This is an exciting career for creatives who love tech, and one that will prove incredibly rewarding. There are ever-evolving opportunities in this growing industry, and the project-style work stucture offers a change of pace from a typical job. This isn’t the kind of career you get tired of.
Ready to start your journey?
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