How to Become a Software Developer
Updated By Staff Writer on April 21, 2021
How to Become a Software Developer
When considering a career, earning a software developer degree is a good choice. Software developers cover a wide scope of areas such as mobile applications, networking, data security, design and development, testing, and release.
Becoming a software developer means you could end up creating internet applications, software platforms, or even developing video games. With so many career possibilities, a software developer degree is a solid route to take. Here’s everything you need to know about how to become a software developer.
What to Learn and Do to Become a Software and Apps Developer
If you’re just starting your software development journey, there’s a lot to learn before you can enter the industry. The following is an overview of what you need to learn and do to enter this exciting field.
Get an Education
If you want to learn how to become a software developer, then your first step should be getting an education. Some areas of focus can be taught during boot camps, typically eight to twelve weeks of intensive training and studying, usually about a singular topic.
Going into a degree program offers a more thorough education with in-depth lessons over a longer period. Both are good options to learn the various aspects of software development; it depends on what areas you want to cover and how long you want to spend getting an education.
Learn a Programming Language
As you look toward becoming a programmer, you’ll also want to choose a specific programming language to learn. There are many to choose from—Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, C++, and many others. Research which languages are preferred for the type of programming you want to do, and build your knowledge of those languages.
While learning one language is a good start, there is nothing wrong with learning more. There are a lot of benefits to learning multiple computer programming languages. Even a basic understanding of other programming languages lets you apply for jobs in a wide range of industries. Knowing additional languages can also help broaden your appeal to potential employers.
Study Key Software Development Terms
Aside from programming languages, software developers can sound like they’re speaking a different language when discussing their tasks. Terms like life cycle methodology to acronyms like OOTB allow programmers to easily communicate with clients and coworkers. Every programming student should have a firm grasp of key software development terms before they enter the job field.
Develop Essential Software Developer Skills
No matter what kind of software development job you apply for, you will need the same set of essential software developer skills. This includes all of the technical skills, like knowing programming languages and data structures, and soft skills, like time management and attention to detail.
Don’t Forget Your Math
When it comes to building algorithms for software, you’ll need to have a good understanding of calculus and statistics. These two branches of math are those most commonly used when developing software, so it’s a good idea to constantly refresh your skills in these two critical math genres.
Degree programs will usually cover some form of math, while boot camps may favor drilling into programming languages. Always check to see what, if any, math you’ll be covering and if you need to enroll in some supplemental math courses.
Certifications may not be required in today’s job market, but they will improve your chances of getting a job—the right certifications will set you apart from those who haven’t earned them.
They showcase both your skills and your willingness to work hard. There are plenty of certifications you could pass, but the best certifications for beginner software developers will help you jumpstart your career.
Working as a Software and Apps Developer
Once you’ve completed your education, your next step is to secure your first software development job. Here’s what you need to know to get started in the industry and to perfect your craft as a software developer.
How to Get Your First Software Developer Job
Because so many companies hire software developers, you might assume it will be easy to find a job. Not so! You will run into a lot of competition from other applicants, which means you need to find a way to stand out. Here are some suggestions on how to improve your chances of getting your first software developer job.
Internships are a great idea to help you get into a software development career. Internships give you a lot of practice for your future career and allow you to hone your skills while under the tutelage of industry experts.
Attend Conferences, Events, and Forums
Another way to secure an entry-level position is to network with friends and associates. A lot of job hunting isn’t what you know, but who you know. Many boot camps or college programs have connections to businesses or companies, so make sure you leverage those as much as possible. Stay in touch with classmates as well since they could be great references to use for job hunting.
Keep an eye out for conferences and conventions. Attend these events and make connections while you’re there. Attending professional events can make the difference in getting that first job or even helping you out later in your career. Also, try online platforms and forums to talk with other programmers and developers, and offer your help where you can. The right connections can get you where you want to go.
Build Your Own Software
After getting an education, you should continue to practice your programming languages so that your skills stay sharp and you reduce the number of errors you might make. Something you can do to showcase your talents is to create your own software.
Developing your own software allows you to practice, and in the end, you have something you can show to potential employers. Remember to take notes on how and why you built it as well as some of the problems you solved on the way to the finished product. Even if the software isn’t something groundbreaking, your work ethic and problem-solving skills are what your employers are looking for.
Be Realistic with Your Expectations
While you may have grand ideas for working at your dream company the moment you graduate college or complete your bootcamp, you may need to work your way into that dream job. Start your job hunt locally, as getting experience is invaluable if you want to advance your career or ask for a raise. Many of the big corporations you might want to work for typically require some prior experience since they work on such a large scale.
When you’re ready to move on to another job or take the leap and apply for your dream job, make sure you update your resume and showcase your successes and skills. Keep track of problems you solved, the progress you made, and other ways that show you are an asset to any corporation. Bring the best examples of your work to show that you can back up your words.
What Programmers Do at Work
Software developers and programmers are behind all the technology people consume regularly, including the website you’re currently reading this on. So, what programmers do at work can vary from day to day, but they’ll generally do at least one of the following tasks:
- Write and test codes for new programs.
- Update existing programs.
- Rewrite programs for different operating systems.
- Correct coding errors.
- Secure programs against online threats.
Career Paths for Developers
Programming is a versatile skill to have in today’s job market. That means software developers have many different career paths available to them. Here are a few software jobs you could qualify for with a degree:
- Software Developer: Creating systems and applications that can run on different computers and mobile devices.
- Software Engineer: Analyzing user needs, running program tests, and designing programs from scratch.
- Mobile Apps Developer: Creating, maintaining, and implementing code that enables an application to perform its intended functions. If you want to know how to become an apps developer, check out these five great resources that make apps development easier.
- Web Developer: Building functional and aesthetically pleasing websites and web-based apps.
Professions Similar to Software Developers
Even if you love programming and coding, you may become less enamored with the idea of being a software developer. That’s not a problem—the skill set and experience you gain with your degree also prepares you for several professions that are similar to software developers. You’ll be able to use what you learned to love in a job that better suits your interests.
Here are a few jobs you could apply for:
- Computer scientist
- Computer programmer
- Systems engineer
- Software architect
- Hardware engineer
- IT specialist
- Network engineer
- Web developer
You Have What it Takes to Be a Software Developer
Software applications development is a growing field with lots of job opportunities in a large variety of industries. One of the benefits of choosing this career path is that the possibility of your getting a job quickly is high. It’s a career that requires commitment and passion, and with hard work, you can achieve your goals of getting an education and a job as a software developer.
If you’re wondering if you should become a programmer, then don’t hesitate to apply for Independence University’s Software and Mobile Applications Development program. We’ll equip you with the confidence and knowledge to design, build, and troubleshoot software. Contact us today to request more info.