If you want to become a software developer, the road to a successful career is not smooth. The technology sector has undergone a serious revolution, and it needs new talent in software development. Though the sector is large and the work rewarding, there are many candidates fighting for recognition. Vacancies are few, and you need to stand tall to get yourself noticed. A newbie in software development needs assistance, advice, and words of wisdom to be able to stand out in this competitive field. Before you land your dream software development job, glance over this article and you could find that essential edge over the competition.
1. Breathe, eat, and live code
If your preferred career is software development, then programming and code will be your bread and butter. You should therefore make sure you understand every detail of coding and programming. If you are a singer or a writer, but don’t sing or write every day, there will be no comparison between you and someone who lives and breathes their art with a passion. This applies to programmers and software developers too. You should make your life revolve around coding and programing if you aim to become a great software developer. Learn all you can about coding, and practice constantly so you understand as many programming languages as possible. Ensure you’re up to speed with all the trends in software development. Show through your actions how much you want to succeed in your career.
2. Do not specialize
There is no debate about this. Most successful software developers have not specialized in a particular programming language. You can only specialize if you are new in programming. There are only a few jobs available for you if you choose a single language to work with. Even if you have that one job that only needs a single language, try as many as you can to familiarize yourself with popular programming languages. There could be vacancies in your workplace that require someone well-versed in the various programming languages.
3. Get experience in a big company
Any software developer should experience working for a large company. If your CV has big company names, or your LinkedIn profile has big corporation links, you will attract more interest from possible employers. It is not necessary to stay for too long in a big company. If you have any amount of software development experience with larger companies such as IBM, Intel, Microsoft, or Facebook, your resume will have more weight than if your experience revolves around smaller companies. You may also feel less confident if you have only worked in small companies. It is good to have a blend of both large and small company experience, as this makes you a more attractive prospect.
4. Find your own projects and work on them
It is always advisable to have side projects, or a private website promoting your own practice, whether you are a freelancer, working, or searching for a job. The projects you do in your spare time indicate your passion for software development, and enable you to upskill. It does not matter how much you love your job, having a side project is an avenue for you to do any kind of work you want, and it provides a nice addition to your resume.
5. Be a member of an online community
Software developers enjoy engaging with each other. Get to know your colleagues and where they hang out online. An online community can help you upgrade your skills, network, and make friendships with like-minded software developers. You will receive new ideas from various platforms such as Hashnode, Coderwall, and Stack Overflow.
6. Enhance your soft skills
Many people in the technology sector do not remember to work on their soft skills. These are considered to be the most important if you hope to have a successful career. It is possible to advance your own programming and technical skills, but if you cannot work in a team or think creatively, your unique talents may go unnoticed. Improve on the way you answer interview questions, work on your weaknesses, and you will succeed in your career.
7. Move regularly
Many people prefer not to change jobs frequently. If you aim to work at Twitter as a software developer for life, you cannot focus on changing your career. However, if you do not have any ties with your current employer, and you aim to become a highly successful software developer, then ensure you move frequently. The requirements of various organizations differ, and the more you move the more you learn. If you stay in one company for too long you risk becoming complacent, and you stifle your ability to grow.
8. Be reputable in your work
Even if you are moving from one company to another, or you want to be a freelance software developer, you cannot trade your reputation. It does not matter if you live in small city or a large one, the software development community is small and tightly knit. People will pass word around that you are untrustworthy. Ensure that you maintain your reputation regardless of where you work. If you have good interpersonal skills, they will be a bonus in helping to secure your next job.
9. Give yourself challenges
Software developers should use their own initiative to upskill. You can only upgrade skills in coding through constant practice, and finding new challenges. Set personal goals, learn a new language, seek to understand a new business, or develop something from scratch. There is always room for improvement, and you soar to any heights you choose. If you feel you have reached your limit in one field, innovate to avoid becoming stale in your career.
10. Understand how to name functions
One of the basics of programming is function naming, and it is a fundamental tenet in software development. A code has names for the boundary conditions. Computing involves numerous functions, and they all need a name. Naming is a difficult and strange art, according to Stephen Wolfram, and yet it is vital so you can tell the purpose of each function. Many programmers do not enjoy this task because they think it’s hard. You only need to practice, and before you name a function make sure you understand the purpose of each one. Poor function naming makes a code ambiguous. This may result in the function being unclear to the reader, and the writer may forget the purpose of the function. You can also get sloppy contracts and bugs as a result of poor function naming.
11. Know how to recognize bad code immediately
Every software developer aims to develop excellent code. To do this, one should be able to tell the difference between bad and good code. Many software developers focus on knowing only good code. They fix their minds on how good codes look. However, if you also know what bad code looks like, you can improve overall. Once you can recognise bad code, you can easily detect errors. Don’t focus on the beauty of your code alone, focus on the unattractive and ugly parts, and you will succeed in making yours better. Start as early as possible to effectively detect bad code, and you will make your career progression so much easier.
Be persistent and patient in software development, and, above all, show determination. Be determined to develop good code regardless of the time it takes. Software development is lengthy, and developers may bypass you for the sake of their deadlines. Focus on making your code great, and not just beating deadlines. Great software developers work hard, and are prepared to put in painfully long hours to be successful at their trade. Are you prepared to do what it takes to be a great software developer?
Share some awesome tips for those about to start in software development. The comments section awaits your wisdom!