As my first blog post I thought it would be appropriate to touch on how an individual seeking to enter the field of Software Development could ‘get their foot in the door’.
My entry into the world of Software Development was almost accidental. I was initially focused on getting a job as a System Administrator. However, after a couple months of studying and searching around, I decided that simply getting a certification was not enough for me to land a good job with the salary and benefits I was looking for. It was at this time that I decided to go back to school to get a four-year degree in Information Technology. Upon completion of an ‘Intro to Programming’ course, I decided to start applying to entry level programming positions listed in the classified ads. By having code to show off that I recently completed in my college course, I landed an interview and got the job!
Instead of giving you my life story, I think it would be beneficial to give a list of Action Items that someone looking to break into Software Development should consider implementing:
- If you do not have a degree in a quantitative field, IT or computer science, go back to school! The experience you get from these courses could help you land a job while you’re still in school. Certifications seem to matter very little to employers in this aspect of the industry. It’s what you can do that matters.
- Make an account on GitHub and start pushing your work up to it. Having a public GitHub account will show employers that you care about the field and that programming is a passion of yours.
- Make an account on Stack Overflow because you will quite certainly run into problems which you need the insight of veterans to help you through.
- Assuming you have a LinkedIn account, start adding skills to it that are in line with the aspect of Software Development you are looking to pursue. Join some discussion groups related to the language(s) and Operating System(s) you’re interested in.
- Keep practicing! Make an account at Project Euler or Hacker Rank and start completing challenges. Upload your code to your GitHub to show it off when necessary.
- Unlike other fields, Software Development is constantly evolving new technologies and best practices. Learn about the new technologies coming out and what their adoption may mean for you or your company.
- If you land an entry-level or Junior level job, find a Senior Developer you like and stick to them! Humble yourself and learn everything you can from them. Ask questions, learn their thought process. It will take you from being a total newbie to someone who can actually code. If you have not earned a job in the field yet, network on LinkedIn or some where you can meet other programmers and learn from them.
- Lastly, set goals for yourself! Since Software Development is a very large field with innumerable possibilities, you need to set clearly defined short-term and long-term goals for yourself in order to become a better Developer. Short term goals could be completing a certain amount of programming challenges or making a certain amount of commits to a Open Source project. Long-term goals could be attaining that degree or a promotion within your company.