Software development is one of the top ranking career paths when it comes to the field of IT. Whether you come from a computer science background or one related to maths, this specialty can be super-attractive. If you’re wondering how to become a software developer, you will need to know the main aspects that make up a great developer, in the first place. And that is exactly what we’ll be talking about in this tutorial.
To begin with, we’ll talk about the software developer career path itself. You’ll have the opportunity to find out what is a software developer, and distinguish software developers from software engineers. After that’s done, we’ll move on to the actual tutorials and cover three huge aspects that make up a software dev that every employer will want to hire. Finally, at the very end, we’ll check out some of the main reasons why people want to become software devs in the first place.
Table of Contents
What is a software developer and what do these people do? Surely, if you’re trying to find out how to become a software developer, you’re probably aware of the main features that are associated with the profession in question. However, just to make sure that we’re both on the same page here, let’s briefly go over the main points of this specialty.
Software developers are mainly concerned with just that – software development. However, what you might not know is that there are actually a few different types of software developers out there. These devs might work with desktop programs, web platform development, and so on. Furthermore, if we’re talking about web development, you can either specialize in front-end, back-end or full stack development… That is a lot of different types of developers!
With that said, all of these software devs work with their specific platforms and tend to focus on two big tasks – preservation and updating of the current versions of these platforms. As a software developer, you’ll have to work together with designers, engineers, marketing specialists and a lot of other people in order to establish a clear path of progression and to find an agreed-upon path of work.
So, to recap, if you want to learn how to become a software developer, the very first thing that you need to do is to establish just what exactly it is that you want to develop (web platforms, desktop apps, etc.). All of the specifics of the job will be determined based on the decision that you make.
Now you know what is a software developer. However, a lot of people still tend to mix software developers and software engineers up. Not to go into too much detail, just keep in mind that software developers work with the software itself, while software engineers are concerned with the core of the software. In other words, software engineers build the foundation on which the actual software is then being developed.
How to Become a Software Developer?
Now, it’s probably pretty obvious that there are a lot of little things that make up a good and reliable software developer. In this “How to Become a Software Developer” tutorial, we’ll focus on three of the most commonly-referenced aspects: education, motivation, and experience. If you have all of these points covered, you can be sure that you’re on the right path of becoming a software developer.
Education is the key cornerstone of a successful software developer career. Proper education will most commonly be the deciding factor of you getting the job, especially if you’re trying to get hired in a huge corporation.
After you finish high-school, your best bet is to try and get higher education in the field of Maths or Computer Science. Some colleges and universities offer the specific specialty of software development, but it still isn’t all that common.
While you’re studying, you should focus on two things – receiving high grades and participating in as many events related to software development as possible. When it comes to grades, it’s pretty self-explanatory – since the software developer career path is as popular as it is, you can be sure that there will be a lot of people competing for a single job position.
This means that you have to not only stand out of the crowd but also show your potential employers that you’ve worked hard from the very beginning of your studies. This is where the grades come in – employers will usually ask you for your grade reports, and will initially judge your skills according to the numbers in those reports.
In addition to that, if you participate in various events related to software development (seminars, workshops, clubs, etc.), you will start building a name for yourself and will increase the chance of being noticed by potential employers earlier.
Once you finish university or college and receive your bachelor’s degree, it is strongly advised to continue your studies and go for a master’s. The higher the degree of education you have, the more likely you will be taken seriously by a potential employer that comes across your CV. And you don’t need to focus explicitly on your studies, either – a lot of people who go for a master’s degree also try to get an entry-level software developer’s job, or at least an internship in a company (more on that later in the tutorial).
When it comes to proper education, formal learning isn’t your only option. There’s an increasing amount of people who are interested in how to become a software developer and who turn towards individual, independent learning.
The so-called “e-learning” method is a great example of this. People try to gain and grow their software developer skills by enrolling in online courses and special programs (boot camp) that offer to teach software development at the same level (or even better) as formal education facilities do.
Having said that, however, it is worth mentioning that a lack of formal education will make it more difficult for you to gain a job in the industry. Even though a lot of employers are a lot more flexible these days than they were, let’s say, 10 years ago, most of them still prefer their employees to have taken a “traditional” education path. This is mostly because a lot of people who want to learn how to become a software developer underestimate just how difficult the profession actually is. Furthermore, if you’re learning individually, it’s going to be much harder for you to find and participate in specific events and internships.
Even though you might initially think that motivation is a very subjective concept, it’s actually pretty easily spottable when it comes to software developers. Most employers will be able to tell whether or not you’re a motivated developer at the end of your job interview. This is definitely something you should keep in mind if you’re wondering how to become a software developer.
Motivation can manifest in many different shapes and forms. First of all, if you’ve decided to perfect your software developer skills in a university, you have countless opportunities to participate in “after class” activities. I’ve mentioned this before, but if you’re passionate about software development, it will definitely show! People who love what they do tend to stand out of the crowd and potential employers notice this quite easily.
A great way to show your motivation (and to get motivated, in the first place) is to decide to work on an individual project. This is awesome because of a few different reasons. First of all, it’s one of the best ways to develop your software developer skills (no pun intended).
It’s one thing to listen to theoretical lectures provided by your professors, but it’s a completely different story when you encounter a problem with a personal project, and then have to apply your knowledge to actually solve it. This is what is called “field experience”, and it’s a huge statement when it comes to whether or not you truly are passionate about the topic of how to become a software developer.
It is true that experience might seem like a bit of an odd aspect to mention in a tutorial that is concerned with the question of how to become a software developer. However, this is where many people tend to make a wrong call – they interpret the word “experience” to only mean “previous workplaces”. In reality, though, things are a bit different.
You do not need to have “previous work experience” to be able to get an entry-level software developer job. You probably won’t be able to work in a dream company and earn an obscene amount of money straight from the get-go, but a beginner’s position won’t be too difficult to acquire. That being said, there will probably be many people that are trying to get hired for that same position, so why should the company pick you? Well, this is where experience comes in.
In this aspect, the experience is closely related to motivation. All of the above-mentioned conferences, seminars, and individual projects add up! You can enrich your CV with all of these things. Even if you don’t have any past work experience, your potential employers will see that you are an active member of the software developer community, and this will increase your chances of being hired by a whole lot!
Furthermore, if you’re trying to learn how to become a software developer, keep in mind that you’ll have to show the maximum amount of motivation as soon as you get hired. It’s not enough to “be motivated” before and during the job interview – the more passionate you are about the subject of software development, the better your work will be, and the sooner you can expect to climb the career ladder!
Why Become a Software Developer?
Now that we’ve covered all of the main aspects that will help you understand how to become a software developer, let’s take a bit of a turn and talk about why someone would want to become a software developer, in the first place.
The very first thing that comes to most people’s minds is the software developer salary. There’s no secret that experts in the field of IT (namely – in the area of Computer Science) make some of the best salaries in the world. Software development is no different – it’s a career path that is not only highly sought-after but also dominates the IT job market. Furthermore, it’s a really difficult craft to truly master – it would only make sense that the rewards would match the work that needs to be put in.
According to Glassdoor.com, a typical annual software developer salary should be a bit over $80,000 USD. This would come out to be almost $6670 USD per month. That’s a great salary, and it’s only the average! If you work hard and put in the effort, you’ll be able to climb well over the average in no time!
Another thing that attracts people to the software developer career path are the career opportunities that it provides. You can almost be sure that ten years from now, software developers are going to be needed even more than they are now. This guarantees job security and shows you that there really are no limits to how far you can go with your software developer skills.
All in all, these and many smaller details add up to create a huge interest in the specialty of software development.
If you’re a creative person who loves programming and finds him or herself constantly questioning how to become a software developer, you should definitely spend some time looking into this career option. It’s definitely not an easy path to take, but as you’ve probably understood by now, the rewards are surely worth it.
In this “How to Become a Software Developer” tutorial, we have not only covered the main aspects required to be a successful software dev but also talked about the profession itself. Furthermore, you should now know why it’s such a popular career path, and that it’s not going away any time soon.
I hope this article was useful to you, and that you’ve found the relevant information you were looking for. Until next time, and good luck in the software developer career path to come!