How to Become a Software Developer: 10 Pro Tips

Software engineering is a major catalyst in the growth and modernization of computers – and information technology as a whole. Without software programs, computers will just be useless electronic equipment. These powerful programs run not just computers but also mobile gadgets and other IT-capable machines.

Considering the importance of software programs, the demand for developers has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, there is a shortage of developer talent in the US. According to Indeed, software developers, particularly front-end, back-end, full-stack, and mobile developers, are among the top 10 hardest to fill IT positions.

Every modern company now requires someone with in-depth knowledge of software to oversee day-to-day IT needs. Likewise, many industries are embarking on digital transformation projects, which necessitates an IT professional. And as society migrates to cyberspace, we can expect the demand to grow substantially in the coming years.

The US Bureau of Labor and Statistics expects software developer job volume to grow by about 28% by 2028 – significantly faster than the average growth rate of other professions. Likewise, the demand for systems engineers is projected to grow 11% and application developers 31% over the same period. Given the current trend, software developers and engineers hold a bright future.

There are boundless opportunities for software developers. It’s not surprising why many individuals want to add software development to their skillset. However, becoming a software developer requires special training and formal degrees, particularly in software engineering. It is a unique, technically-driven, and scientific field that applies engineering principles to the design, development, and execution of IT solutions.

Software developers can work in various fields such as developing enterprise applications, creating video games, implementing internet applications, telecommunications programming, computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing, and designing computer security programs. These software development positions made a median salary of $103,620, which is among the top-paying jobs in the US.

Steps to Becoming a Software Developer

Software development is a vibrant and ever-changing IT field. It is important to adopt new trends, techniques, and technologies. And since it is a growing field, there are many ways you can learn software development skills and become a full-fledged developer.

Here are 10 pro tips towards becoming a software developer.

Set a goal

Learning software development is a major endeavor that requires dedication and focus. There can be hurdles and challenges along the way. Having a clear goal can help you stay on course. For example, you aim to be a software developer and work as a member of an established IT company or develop a specific solution.

Choose a language to learn

Typically, software developers can work with various programming languages. However, when you are just starting, it is best to focus on at least a couple of languages. This will make it easier to understand the basic coding principles and concepts. Although there is no common agreement as to the best programming language, some of the most popular include Python, JavaScript, Ruby, C++, Java, and C#.

Get educated

The first step toward becoming a software developer is to complete formal education. This is necessary, particularly if you want to pursue entry-level positions in an IT development company.

There are different tracks you can take both traditional and non-traditional training programs. Formal programs include two-year associate degrees and four-year bachelor’s degrees. If you don’t aim to pursue formal education, you can enroll in a coding boot camp. These short-course programs (8-12 weeks) involve hands-on, immersive learning modules. Both of these tracks prepare aspiring software developers for entry-level positions.

Complete an internship

Experienced software developers at Entrance Consulting emphasized the importance of real-world experience. It is not enough that you know the theories; you need to use them in actual settings.

Internships provide opportunities for newbie software developers to practice and expand their skills in specific areas, such as SQL, Java, or XML. Many tech companies offer internship programs that last between three and six months.

Learn from experienced developers

During the internship, you get the chance to work with and learn from experienced developers. They can give you real-life applications and techniques that you can use in your career. You can also learn how to read code written by other developers, which is really a vital skill that software developers need.

Aside from internships, you can also learn how to read codes through online code repositories like GitHub. By learning how to read other developer’s codes, you’ll have a deeper understanding of how certain programs work.

Build projects

Like any other field of study, software development requires constant practice. Once you know the basics, you need to use them. Start building projects using the coding language you are most familiar with. You can start with small projects and eventually scale up. Not only will this enhance your skills, it will also enable you to discover other languages. You can begin taking paid projects from friends, then eventually growing your client base. This should also help you beef up your resume and grow your network.

Get certified

Although some certifications have lost their appeal, they continue to be an integral part of the IT industry. If you aim to rise up the tech ladder, you need to invest in certifications.

Certifications verify the knowledge and proficiency of software developers in specific areas of practice. As a newbie developer, these documents increase your marketability. Usually, technology vendors (such as Oracle, Amazon, Salesforce, Scrum, Cisco, and Microsoft) and professional organizations offer certification programs.

Join software developer community

Software development is a never-ending process. Joining a community of software developers, usually through dedicated online forums, social networks, and websites can provide you with a readily available support system. Through this community, you can get guidance, learn new skills and techniques, and gain a deeper understanding of the IT industry.

Earn a graduate degree

A graduate degree can further improve your software development skills. An advanced education deepens your knowledge and explores the many other facets of software development, such as software engineering. It also delves on interdisciplinary skills such as project management, critical thinking, research, and cost analysis. Completing a master’s program paves the way to leadership and management positions.

Keep improving

Whether you choose to be a freelance developer or work with a team, constantly improving your craft is vital. Unlike other fields, the IT field is always advancing, and you need to keep up and evolve along with it. Take time to further grow your knowledge, through active involvement in coding community, self study, and side projects. Don’t be afraid to explore and get mistakes. Consider mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities.