The main role of software developers is to design software or digital applications to perform specific tasks that can run devices. Software developers work in several industries and on a host of various projects, some of which include; analyzing user needs and developing software, upgrading of software for existing programs, designing and ensuring proper function of programs, documenting and writing of codes to create applications that boost access to servers & services and so much more.
To become a software developer, you need a general idea of what career path you want to follow as this will determine what languages you need to learn, the kinds of qualifications you need, online resources like courses, websites, software developers blog and forums you need to follow. Software developers also require a good blend of key technical and soft skills. Some of these soft skills include;
- Good interpersonal and communication skills
- Problem-solving ability
- Ability to work with a team
- High motivation
- Analytical skills
- A creative and innovative mindset
The following steps should serve as a guide on how to become a software developer
Identify your target platform
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This is the first step. You need to identify the platform you want to develop applications for and what languages you’ll need to learn. For example, if you’re looking to develop applications for Windows, you will need some knowledge of Microsoft technologies and the framework needed for it.
Get an education
The next step is to get the necessary education and training. There are several educational options available to learn software development, each with its pros and cons. However, before you choose an option, consider factors like money, time, flexibility and the type of learning environment that best suits you. Some of the learning options for software developers include;
- A university degree: this is the most common route most aspiring developers follow. A university degree gives comprehensive theoretical and practical training over years.
- Self-directed learning: if you’re on a budget and prefer a more flexible and independent learning experience, this is the option for you. There are a plethora of books, online courses and tutorials, forums, and even software developers blog for you to learn from.
Bear in mind that this route is for people who are highly motivated, disciplined, and can hold themselves to the task of developing and following a self-guided curriculum. Some helpful online platforms you can check out include FreeCodeCamp, Khan Academy and Udemy.
Ensure to vet your self-guided classes and tutorials to be sure you are making progress. If piecing together the right kind of tutorials to form a cohesive curriculum is too challenging, you can always connect with software developers with more experience either through chat-rooms or software developers blog and websites.
- Sign up for coding boot-camps: these boot-camps have programs that are intensive, hands-on and skill-based which allows aspiring software developers to gain the practical knowledge and marketable skills they need to be professionally successful. These programs typically take a few months to complete and are very cost-effective. Plus, studies have shown that most employers favor graduates of coding boot-camps as potential hires.
Get proper certifications
Certifying your skills can help validate those skills for potential employers and demonstrate your proficiency, especially if don’t have a lot of work experience. Check out job listings for positions you wish to apply for and see the kind of qualifications that are usually required.
Build your technical skills
Develop your technical skills by learning to use some of the other tools software developers use beyond programming languages such as; SQL, Git & Mercurial SCM and IDE’s.
Make the right connections
Knowing how to network is critical to building a career as a software developer. It helps you build connections with other professionals, which can further increase your understanding of how things work. Don’t be afraid to establish yourself in your niche circles. Start up your own software developers blog to attract and access a talent pool that might provide a connection for your next job or inspire your next project.
As an aspiring software developer, it is important to focus more on opportunities where you can better learn and gain more experience. Focus on understanding the niche you want to inhabit and get more training, as this will give you a leg-up towards landing your dream job in software development.