IndustryThe Lowdown on Becoming a Developer

Faye Bridge
writes on August 9, 2017

If you’re searching for a new career path and you’ve heard that the tech industry has a staggering number of jobs available, then you’ve heard correctly. In fact, economic research by Glassdoor into the value of unfilled U.S. jobs estimated that there are “263,586 open IT roles listed online, with an economic value of $21 billion.” As tech becomes more and more integrated into our everyday lives, so does the need for people who can shape and control it. The result: a booming demand for developers. But there are a few key factors that are often left out when people talk about the demand for people who can code. Below are a few important caveats to becoming a developer that aren’t always mentioned.

Location

Yes, when it comes to the opportunities available to those who can code, there are jobs in startups and silicon valley that much resemble pop culture’s portrayal of the tech industry (think “The Social Network” or “Silicon Valley”).

But, in reality, the demand for developers expands far wider than that, tech jobs are everywhere. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find an industry or a company that isn’t touched by tech today or featuring talented programmers on their teams. Don’t assume you’d need to move to a tech hub or big city to embark on a successful career as a developer. Don’t just take my word for it, search “developers” in your local area, or even take a look at open positions at a particular company that interests you.

Career Attainability

Yes, when it comes to how attainable developer careers are, anyone can learn to code and you don’t necessarily need a CS degree to be a developer. Stack Overflow’s most recent Developer Survey illustrated that 50% of the developers who participated confirmed they didn’t have a CS degree. Provided you have the right coding skills, the majority of employers will be interested, regardless of where you learned those skills.

But, don’t assume learning to code and landing your first job will be easy. Learning a programming language is similar to learning any language. At first, it will be challenging and alien to you, but with hard work and dedication, you’ll progress. There will be learning roadblocks along the way, and occasionally, you will feel like you want to quit. When that happens, know that you’re not alone. Both aspiring and professional coders encounter challenges with their code, but problem-solving is the skill they – and you – will use to overcome them.

Be Patient

Yes, there is demand for developers and there are a lot of people taking advantage of the opportunities and competing for positions. Make sure you are ready before you start interviewing for your first job as a developer.

But, if you don’t land that first job, don’t be disheartened. Ask for feedback from the interviewer, take it to heart and go into your next interview more confident. Also remember that new job opportunities will open up, and it may take time to find the right fit for you. It’s worth the wait.

Find the Right Language For You

Yes, there are a lot of programming languages out there today, which can seem a bit overwhelming when you start learning to code.

But, you don’t have to be good at every aspect of tech. Don’t try to be a Jack of all trades, master of none. Find which language you like and focus on specializing your skills. Not sure where to start? Here’s a great post about choosing a programming language. Once you’ve sharpened your skills, you’ll also find it easier to embark on your job search. There’s also no reason you can’t add languages to your skill set as you grow as a developer.

Never Stop Learning

Yes, you may have heard it takes X number of weeks or months to learn to code.

But, as an aspiring developer, you should also be comfortable with knowing that your learning is never complete. Tech is constantly evolving, which means that your programming skills will have to too. Keep your skills sharp and your knowledge up-to-date to stay competitive in the industry.

Hopefully, these caveats will help depict the bigger picture when it comes to embarking on a career as a developer. Have thoughts you’d like to add? Share them below.

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2 Responses to “The Lowdown on Becoming a Developer”

  1. thanks for the write up. It’s great to see telcos moving in this direction

  2. Great post! What’s the best way to go about asking for feedback from an interviewer?

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