In this article, we will tell you how to become a software developer. We will help you figure out whether it is worth doing yourself, where to find online courses for beginners, how much you need to study, and where to get your first experience in software development.
If you want to learn how to develop software, you can choose one of the popular forms of training:
- Self-education is the most accessible and inexpensive option, as a good amount of educational material is available on the Internet.
- Distance course at an online school – you can learn a new profession from scratch in your free time.
- Studying at a technical university – in every major city, there are educational institutions with faculties for IT specialists.
If you choose one of the last two options, you should be prepared to do your homework. Often challenging assignments cause difficulties early on for those studying software development. In these cases, students turn to specialized services for help, leaving a “do your programming assignment” request on essayshark.com. Experts in software development can help with different types of tasks, then students learn how to handle them in the future without outside help.
Let’s talk in more detail about each of these ways of learning about software development.
software development – self-education
If you choose self-study, then first, you need to make a clear plan:
- Decide on the direction – web development, mobile development, frontend, backend, enterprise, etc. The stack of technologies that you study depends on the direction you choose to take.
- Choose a programming language – some are suitable only for the front or backend, while others can be used to write the entire project, including using libraries and frameworks.
- Find training materials: books for beginners, step-by-step guides, lessons from experienced software developers, and technical documentation.
- Install the necessary programs: editor, code review service, etc.
- Decide how you will practice. For example, you can find tutorial videos on YouTube and repeat code from screencasts.
- Software development is one of the areas in IT that is the most difficult to master on your own.
- The main difficulties are:
- It will take a long time to learn because there is no mentor to help you understand the theory, answer questions, and evaluate the quality of the code.
- Practical skills will be weak for a long time due to the lack of practice and real projects, so you will not be able to solve non-standard tasks.
- Many employers give preference to candidates with a diploma or experience – with self-study, you will not have a document or a portfolio.
At the university
Modern technical institutes and universities have various educational programs for IT specialists. You can become a software developer at the faculties:
- “Information Systems and Technologies”
- “Applied Computer Science”
- “Software Engineering”
You will study advanced-level mathematics, computer science, computing technologies, and several programming languages. At the end of your studies, you’ll receive a diploma.
Despite these advantages, studying at a university also has disadvantages:
- The training lasts at least four years in a full-time format, which means that during this period, you will not be able to work full-time, as you need to attend lectures, write term papers, and prepare for tests and exams.
- The curriculum includes many minor subjects that may not be directly useful to you in your work life, for example, philosophy.
- Most of the classes are a detailed study of theory, not practice, so after receiving a diploma, difficulties with employment may arise.
- High study cost. Many consider the field to be prestigious, and the costs of studying it may be high as a result.
On online courses
An online course is the most convenient, effective, and, for some, the fastest form of learning. You can learn how to develop software from scratch in only a few months: learn the theory, make your own programs, get a certificate of education, and get help with finding a job from an HR consultant.
Let’s briefly list other advantages of the distance course:
- There is no rigid schedule – you can watch online webinars as scheduled or recorded on your day off.
- A lot of practical exercises, workshops, case studies, homework with evaluation, and preparation of projects for the portfolio.
- The help of a personal curator who will answer questions at any time.
- Communication with industry experts – experienced programmers and technical specialists teach in online schools.
- Unlimited access to materials – video lessons can be watched several times; they will remain available after the end of the course.
The term of study depends on the specialty, level of training, and the format of the course itself – from 2 months to 2 years.
An introductory express course, for example, on the basics of frontend or backend, lasts an average of two to three months. A recorded video course can be completed even faster if you study intensively, for example, 3-4 times a week.
Long-term programs are designed for those who want to become professional software developers. During this period, you can not only explore different areas of development but also prepare several large projects for your portfolio.
Any online course of any duration can be combined with work.
What you should know to become a software developer
There are certain topics that you need to master first to become a software developer:
- A programming language, a code editor for it, or a development environment (IDE).
- SQL databases.
- Linux operating system.
- Computer networks and principles of client-server interaction.
- Algorithms and data structures.
- Object-oriented programming.
- Containers for building and deploying the application – Docker or Kubernetes.
- Git version control system and GitHub service.
- Cloud platforms such as Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services, or Microsoft Azure.
Usually, newbies in software development start training on freelance exchanges. On sites for freelancers, you can find simple and inexpensive orders that even a beginner can handle – for example, adding an option to an already finished program, fixing a mistake in the code, making improvements to the software, etc.
A guaranteed way to gain experience is to take a distance course. During the training, you will have a lot of practical exercises, and long-term programs also include an internship that will consolidate and reinforce your skills. You will take part in the team development of a real project in the online school itself or with a partner company.
Tips for beginners – how to become in demand
TOP five recommendations for beginners:
- Study in detail the direction in which you want to develop, for example, frontend or backend. Find out what technologies you need to master and what the pros and cons of the profession are.
- Don’t stop learning; improve your skills. It is most convenient to do this in online courses, as they can be combined with work. You will get the latest information and trends from experts.
- Expand your horizons – read articles on IT portals, participate in discussions on forums, and follow the blogs of experienced programmers. Study software development resources.
- Do not forget about English – good knowledge of the language is useful not only when reading technical documentation but also when communicating with customers or employers.
- Practice, practice, practice. Add each project as a case in your portfolio.
How to write a resume if you have no experience
- Properly name your resume. The title should contain the desired position and the full name of the candidate, as here: “Junior Java – John Smith.”
- The resume can be in Doc, PDF, or business card format if you are a web developer.
- Add a decent photo and up-to-date contact information.
- Indicate the places where you studied and grew your skills.
- Don’t mindlessly copy information from the sections on what you need to know to become a great developer: you’ll need to prove this knowledge in the interview.
- If you have no work experience, indicate how long you have been practising in a particular language/technology.
The last item on a developer’s resume might look something like this:
- Java – 1 year
- PHP – 0.5 years;
It is impossible to become a good developer while bypassing communication with HR. Feel free to voice your desires and to ask questions during the interview. If you nod your head yes at everything like a bobblehead, after employment, you may find yourself working under extremely uncomfortable conditions.
Meanwhile, in the interview, you should be professional, serious, and motivated.
What do they ask at the interview?
A huge amount of questions will likely regard theory; practice, a bit less. Before the interview, learn about the company – they will almost definitely ask you why it interests you. Also, be prepared to take other tough questions from recruiters.
There will also be logic puzzles. While the answer does not have to be correct – it is important to show your train of thought so that the company can see exactly how you came to this or that decision.
Regarding tasks, there are search and sorting algorithms, calculations, working with strings and lists, and optimization of ready-made solutions. You’ll handle multiple difficult tasks from interviews with parsing and coding.
Other questions that may come up during the interview:
- OOP principles and their understanding.
- Git commands – how to push, commit, etc.
- Basic SQL queries.
Everything else will relate to the selected language.
Getting a job after the first interview is almost impossible. Don’t be discouraged by rejections, rather, use them to your advantage. How do you become a sought-after IT specialist from scratch? Be ready to shed pounds (figuratively, anyway) training for interviews, memorize or write down the questions that you hadn’t encountered before, and include them in your interview preparation for the next time.
We hope this guide answered your questions regarding how to become a software developer, gave you some useful tips, and helped motivate you to conquer new heights.