Software is one of those features of modern life that’s stubbornly embedded in everything we do. When we login to our computers for work, the software is supporting all of the labor we perform. When we communicate digitally with friends and family, we’re using software. Indeed, the hardware that we use every day – from our phones and tablets to computers and even supermarket tills – are run through software. For those interested in a career in this expansive and exciting space, this article looks at what you’ll need to do to train yourself to develop software across a range of industries.
Get an Overview
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Whatever your age, and whatever your professional experience, it’s important, from the outset, to get a good overview understanding of what the world of software looks like. For anyone interested in learning how to create software, you should look into the books, the websites, the forums, and the companies that are seen as industry-leading in this space. It’s only then that you’ll be able to confirm that this is a career path that truly interests you.
Once you’ve done that initial research, you should also consider the software you see around you. What most excites you? The software runs on similar lines and languages of code, but different programs are still rather distinct from one another. For instance, the software that helps run a smartphone is very different from the software that runs an app on your smartphone. If possible, find which element of software development most interests you, and continue your research.
As you’re researching, you’ll come to recognize some of the core skills that all software developers seem to have in common. You may ever find such skills listed in blog posts, newspaper articles, or in the books that you’ve decided to invest in. Some of these core skills include:
- An ability to work with numbers. Often, coders and developers start off their careers in high school with math and science specialization.
- Problem-solving skills. The ability to see between lines of code to find the sticking point that prevents software from working.
- Imagination. Software can contain infinite features in infinite configurations, and a coder’s responsibility is to imagine the best infrastructure for their software.
- Hard work and concentration. This may seem less a skill and more an attitude, but you need to be able to concentrate on code for hours on end to be a successful coder.
All of these core skills can be developed; that is to say, if you’re concerned that these skills don’t match up to your abilities in the present, then that’s not something to worry about. You’ll just need to train yourself and boost your education and qualifications, to increase your core skills, too.
Education and Qualifications
It goes without saying that in an industry as specialized as software development, you’re going to need the training to get the skills required to contribute to companies and startups across the country. There are various ways of going about gaining these skills – including working in an internship, getting paid to train in software development, going it alone with books and online courses, or heading to university.
With prices precipitously high to enter some universities, many students instead choose to study an online computer science masters from the comfort of their home. Studying these important degrees online means that you can qualify for software coding positions without sacrificing your day job, getting the qualifications and skills you need in the evenings, or on weekends, without losing a great deal of cash, or getting into debt, as a result.
Other Learning Opportunities
The world of code is fascinating, multifarious, and growing. Around the world, there are hundreds of thousands of software developers who work in code each and every day and love what they do enough to share their stories, games they’ve made, and tips they’re accrued online. These coding communities are incredibly welcoming, and can often help you to cut your teeth in your first small coding positions, or your first collaborative projects.
Meanwhile, outside of university courses and taught programs, you’ll also be able to build your skills by signing up for freelance websites where you can first casually ply your trade, working on smaller projects to get an understanding of how your skills apply to the world of business and corporations. The experience you gain here will be valuable in setting off your career in software development in the future: employers love to hear about the work you’ve already completed.
One of the best careers in the world is in software development. It’s a career that rewards you handsomely for the work you produce, and there are always dozens of jobs in your area that are requiring your specific expertise. The key issue for a young coder – or someone starting out in their career – is which opportunity to go with.
The presiding wisdom here is always to choose those opportunities that’ll help you develop in the direction that you want your career to take. If there’s a position in which you’ll get further training for free, it’s worth considering. If you spot a development job in a firm that you’re excited by, that’s the one you should apply for. Don’t settle for second best: bide your time and apply for those opportunities that’ll help your career in the future.
Mentor and Contacts
Coding can feel like a lonely business, especially if you’re developing software alone, with no one around you to bounce ideas off or to help solve little problems in your lines of code. In such circumstances, it can really help to have some trusted friends or colleagues around you to talk to when you get a little stuck – which is certain to happen when you’re coding.
More than friends, though, you should actively seek mentors who will be able to show you the best way to work around a problem, sharing their years of experience with you to support your professional growth, the efficiency of your work, and your ability to get the job done in the early years of your career.
The above tips will help you build a career in software development that’ll sit you in good stead for the high-tech future on the horizon.