March 31, 2017
Science, Math & Technology
How to Become a Software Developer
If you’re considering a career as a software developer, then you might be wondering about the best way to get started. What are some things you can do to set yourself up for success and land the job of your dreams? Should you take attend networking events or build a portfolio of your work?
Here are the relevant steps to take if you’re thinking of becoming a software developer.
1. Figure out what types of projects you want to work on
One of the key parts of becoming a software developer is deciding what kinds of projects you want to work on. Are you interested in solving complex technical challenges or building products that will be used by a lot of people? This is the time to assess that. Once you have an idea of your interests, take some time to research relevant companies in order to determine the type of role that best fits your skills and interests. For example, if you’re interested in getting hands-on experience with a broad range of applications, then you might want to consider working for a small company that will give you maximum exposure to those technologies. On the other hand, if you’re interested in doing a deep dive into a specific type of project, then working for a larger company that will let you specialize in one area might be the right option for you.
Pro Tip: Knowing what type of brand you want to work for is just as important as knowing what kinds of projects you want to work on. This is because being passionate about your work extends beyond the technology itself. By finding a brand that aligns with your broader interests and goals, you’ll be more likely to understand the problems the company is trying to solve and to enjoy coming up with the solutions.
2. Develop your skill set by taking relevant classes
Becoming a software developer requires having an understanding of certain front-end and back-end technologies and knowing programming languages such as Java, C++ and Python. In order to develop your skill set, it’s important to take relevant computer science classes in college and to use the skills you learn to develop projects of your own. This will show potential employers that you’re proactive about building your skill set and that you’re able to use those skills to build features.
Pro Tip: If you’re not a computer science major, that’s okay too. You can still develop your skills by taking a few computer science classes as electives or by teaching yourself to code through online programs like those developed by Khan Academy or CodeCademy. Since more and more developers are self-taught these days, not having a formal education won’t count against you as long as you can demonstrate your ability to build products.
3. Take on an internship
One of the best ways to develop your skills and figure out what types of projects you want to work on is by taking on an internship. This will give you a chance to get hands-on experience in a tech role while also helping you to identify your personal work style and determine the type of work environment that best fits that style.
Added bonus: Since software developers are in high demand at the moment, you’ll not only gain valuable experience during your internship but you’re likely to be well compensated too.
4. Build your portfolio and professional network
In addition to developing your skill set and taking on an internship, one of the other key steps to becoming a software developer is to build your portfolio and professional network. The best way to achieve both of these things is by creating a profile on a platform like GitHub or Stack Overflow where you can showcase projects you’ve developed and contribute to open source projects that other developers are working on. This is a great way to establish your personal brand and to connect with other developers.
Becoming a software developer is an exciting and challenging career path that will give you the opportunity to work on interesting projects and come up with innovative technological solutions. The best way to find out if being a software developer is right for you is by interning at a tech company and getting a feel for what the industry is all about.
Next, get more career tips for internships and entry-level jobs such as Top 10 Things You Should Look For in a Company and find answers to common interview questions such as Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?