Contrary to the popular belief that you need a mandatory computer science degree to be a software developer, the career you have been dreaming of, you really can make it even without it. You need not sit through four years of computer science classes to acquire programming skills. There are other ways too. But, remember, there are no shortcuts to success and therefore, you must put your heart and soul into achieving it. In short, work hard!
Decide upon your end goal and devote yourselves to it
Remember, software development isn’t meant for you, if you
• Are not serious about coding
• Are not sure if coding is what you want
• Want to take up a job regarding web/UI/UX designing or any other design related job at the end
• Wish to be a full-time freelancer
• Want to start your own business straight away
Career change isn’t an easy thing to do. However, when you know what you really want, your only focus will be to work towards it and then, you won’t find it tough to face obstacles through the journey.
Be passionate about what you do
When you go for a job interview, first thing the recruiters look for is how enthusiastic you are, to work as a software developer. Also, if you enjoy what you do, you need not put those extra efforts to do well. Your passion for software development shows when you spend your spare time to work on projects and in expanding your knowledge in terms of different development methodologies. If you don’t have any practical knowledge, you can do more research to understand and learn more about them.
Be up to date
Technology advances with time and therefore, it necessary for you to keep up with the enhancements. Remember, software development isn’t just about coding. It’s also about testing the software before it’s launched. Therefore, keep yourself updated with the current relevant software development practices and tools. Also, don’t forget to go through all kinds of video tutorials on different aspects of software development that you come across.
Pick a language to learn
Ruby on Rails, Python, Django, well, the list is never ending.
There are many languages/frameworks to choose from. But, due to time constraints, you don’t have the luxury to learn all of them in one go. So, start with one language. Once you have a good foundation, it won’t be difficult for you to shift your focus from one language to another. To choose a language to learn is a tough decision to make. Therefore, spend enough time to learn more about the languages and then decide.
Remember, there are no shortcuts. All you can do is constantly practice your skills. Allot ample time from your schedule every day to learn and by learning, we mean, to learn by doing. Don’t expect quick results. It may take a while before you land your first job as a software developer.
Practice using real tools used by developers
At the end, you are going to work in a real-world environment for real users. Start preparing for that from the beginning. Use tools that real developers use and start creating software like they would. You’ll soon find it easy to be part of a development team. It’s not easy to start developing and using tools like real developers when you start learning. You can look for short-term programs that may guide you in using them and help you to improve.
Read other people’s codes
Learning to read other people’s codes, is a skill you must acquire to be a software developer. It gives you a better idea of what’s going on in a program and how well it works. This skill is barely noticed on the work front. But, it can help you to understand how experienced developers work. Reading other codes doesn’t simply mean casually looking through the code. Instead, you’ll have to dig deep, identify the ins and outs and the functionality and then, recreate the software. This skill will prove useful when you revamp existing software or when you create one for yourselves.
Join a community
Tech world isn’t as unwelcoming as it looks. In fact, there are majority of friendly people out there, who will openly welcome people with skills. Do not hesitate. Look for a community that consists of people who share the same thoughts and skills as yours. If you don’t have any such communities in your area, you can also try joining an online community. You can listen to them, ask questions and learn more through their experiences. This kind of communication helps you to expand your knowledge and improvise. It also gives you an idea about what to learn next.
Reading tutorials and watching related videos alone cannot make you a skilled software developer. Along with that, start putting your skills to use and on the way, you’ll learn to tackle problems like real developers do. This helps to sharpen your skills and to build a foundation for your career as a software developer.
Build your professional network
As you acquire your software development skills, you should work towards expanding your professional networks. You can make use of existing connections to get acquainted with people from companies that you wish to work with. In case you don’t have a mutual friend to help you make news connections, try these options:
• Going for meetups
• Maintaining blogs
• Speaking at events
Look for job opportunities
Now that you have built a professional network, start looking for job opportunities. Some companies provide IT training to its employees that help you to grow as a professional. Remember, the three important things you need while applying for a job: resume, cover letter and online presence. A resume gives the recruiters a brief idea about you and your skills. Cover letters, that are essential while applying for a job online, gives you a chance to impress the recruiters by grabbing their attention. Online presence has become a necessary criterion while applying for a job especially in the IT sector. Create LinkedIn and Twitter accounts and blogs or personal websites that showcase your skills and tells the recruiter how your service will benefit them.
There is a huge demand for talented developers at present. If you are passionate about programming and are ready to give your 100% into it, the doors are wide open for you to go in and find a place for yourself in the industry, regardless of your academic training.