Some people argue that you need a degree to become a software developer. However, that’s not true. The truth is you can become a software developer—so long as you are ready to put in the effort and push yourself out of the comfort zone.
Statistics indicate that software developers earn an average of $107,510 annually, and the average rate of unemployment in the industry is 2.5%. Thus, software development is one of the most lucrative careers you can ever venture into. Besides, a career in software development provides a good work-life balance.
Because of this, most people desire to start a career in software development. However, most people ask whether it’s a must to have a degree to become a software developer. As highlighted earlier, it’s not a must to have a degree. Here are five important things to know if you want to become a software developer.
Set clear goals
It’s not easy to change or start a new career. However, when you have a goal set, you’ll have an easy time when you have challenges down the road. A clear goal as a software developer might be to:
- Work as a software developer at a reputable company
- Work as a software developer at a new startup in an industry that you like
- Join a team of renowned software engineers
- Start a freelancing career in software development
Regardless of your end goal, you should be committed to achieving the goal and becoming a refined software developer. Now, this is what will push you forward when things get tough down the road.
Select your preferred software development language to learn
In the beginning, most people have a challenge in choosing a programming language, as well as a framework to learn. Is it Django and Python? Or Ruby on Rails? Please note that you’ll have many languages to choose from.
However, there’s one thing you should note—once you learn and master one programming language, you’ll not have a challenge in transitioning to another. This means you should focus more on understanding the fundamentals of programming if you want to become a successful software developer. In essence, you should learn how to learn.
So, if you have a strong foundation, you can easily learn new languages, technologies, and frameworks. The most essential thing is, you train yourself how to think like a developer. However, you should start by learning one language.
You will need to practice software development—lots of practice
While learning the theory of programming languages doesn’t matter that much, what matters more is learning by practice. That means you need to dedicate a lot of time to perfect your skills in the programming languages that you learn. If you want to become a reputable software developer, you must create a considerable amount of time every day to practice what you have learned.
You cannot become a software developer after practicing for one week—that’s not possible. Experts in software development say that you need at least 10,000 hours to become a professional. While you don’t need to practice for 10,000 hours to land your first job, you must dedicate a lot of time to practice.
Take time to read codes written by reputable software developers
You should learn how to read codes written by other developers if you want to become a software developer. You can browse through different repositories to look for relevant documentation. While some documentation can have errors, the source will never be wrong.
So, when you learn how to read a code, you will now understand the process, and how the program functions. Now. This skill is essential, especially when it comes to debugging software—you can easily identify errors in the code.
While most people overlook this skill, it can assist you to understand how seasoned developers get things done. When studying a code, don’t just skim through the code. Take time to delve deeper to learn everything about the code. Identify its functionality, and recreate the code if you can. With that, you can find it easier to reverse-engineer the software, and this will assist you to understand how you can create your program.
Find an online support community
Professional software developers from Entrance Consulting say that online support communities can help you to grow your career in software development. However, support communities can make or break your career in software development—especially for newbies. But, if you find an online support community of like-minded software developers, you’ll have gotten into the best support system—these should be individuals who you can contact when you lose motivation or get stuck.
While in-person support groups do exist, they can be hard to coordinate. Besides, they are not easily accessible. However, most online communities are open for everyone and serve the same purpose.
Is it a challenge to become a software developer? Yes! The road to becoming a software developer is full of challenges and you should be ready to get some setbacks and frustrations. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot become a software developer without a degree. You can achieve this through networking and self-learning. Some of the best software developers in the world have succeeded in their careers this way. If you want to become a software developer, your end goal shouldn’t be to find a single job but to launch a successful career.