Vin Norman

Lead Instructor @ Kickstart Coders

How to become a software developer: 10 steps to a new career

Are you looking to start a new career as a software developer, but don’t know where to start? At Kickstart Coders, we are passionate about empowering aspiring developers to embark on a rewarding journey without the need for a computer science degree or years of exhaustive studying.

In this comprehensive how-to guide, we will unveil the secrets to becoming a proficient software developer, armed with the essential tools, knowledge, and passion to conquer the tech industry.

Starting your journey can feel daunting, and the whole coding profession is rife with myths about what you do and don’t need. Well, take it from us, as both seasoned industry professionals and fully qualified teachers, the barriers to entry in the profession are surprisingly low if you have the right attitude and determination.

What you DON’T need

 

    • A computer science degree: Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a formal computer science education to become a successful software developer. While a degree can be beneficial, it is by no means a prerequisite for launching your tech career.

    • To be an expert with maths: Don’t fret if advanced mathematics is not your forte. While some areas of programming may involve math concepts, the core principles of coding primarily rely on logic and problem-solving.

    • Years and years of studying: You don’t have to spend years buried in textbooks to master the art of coding. Embrace the fact that your journey as a software developer begins with your first step, and with consistent effort, you can progress steadily towards proficiency.

What you DO need

 

    • A natural enthusiasm for technology: A curious mind and a genuine passion for technology are essential ingredients for your success as a software developer. Embrace the ever-changing landscape of technology with excitement and curiosity.

    • Patience and determination: Coding is a journey filled with problem-solving challenges. Your determination to persist and find solutions will be your most valuable asset in becoming a skilled developer.

    • A few hours a week for learning: Consistency is key. Dedicate regular time each week to learning to code and creating your projects, and watch your skills flourish.

Here is our personal guide for the sensible steps to take, to go from your very first line of code through to employed in the tech industry as a software developer.

How to become a software developer

 

1. Just start

The first step towards becoming a software developer is to take that leap of faith and just start coding. The fear of the unknown may hold you back, but once you immerse yourself in beginner-friendly lessons, online codealongs, or coding playgrounds, you’ll soon witness the magic of your first lines of code. Embrace the excitement of building something new and realize that the basics of programming are simpler than you think.

 

2. Pick Your passion

The Power of Interest-Driven Learning 

As you embark on this transformative journey, consider what aspect of software development interests you the most. Whether you find yourself drawn to mobile app development, web programming, or even game design, choosing a technology that genuinely excites you will make the learning process enjoyable and rewarding. Building projects based on your passion will fuel your enthusiasm and drive your progress.

 

3. Have the right tools

Equipping Yourself for Success 

One of the most appealing aspects of software development is that you don’t need sophisticated tools to get started. All you need is a computer capable of running the software required for coding and an internet connection to access a vast array of learning resources. Additionally, having a phone to test your mobile applications will come in handy, but remember that both Android and iOS offer virtual/emulated device testing directly on your computer.

 

4. Create a comfortable workspace

Setting up an ideal workspace is crucial for fostering deep focus and creativity. Ensure your chosen environment is well-lit, comfortable, and free from distractions. Consider exploring co-working spaces to surround yourself with like-minded individuals, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and motivation. Whether it’s a corner in your home or a shared office, make it a place where you feel inspired to learn and code.

 

5. Mix your learning styles

No two learners are the same, and the journey to becoming a software developer is no exception. Embrace diverse learning styles to cater to your preferences and optimize your learning experience. While YouTube tutorials offer a hands-on approach, books provide in-depth knowledge, and live presentations provide real-time engagement.

 

Top Tip: Read a complex topic (in a book, not a blue screen!) in bed just before you go to sleep. As you read complex topics, let your subconscious take over during sleep, and you’ll wake up with newfound clarity. Make it a habit that you’ll read at least 5 minutes every night. Sometimes those 5 minutes may turn into 20 minutes – and that’s ok!

 

 

6. Seek a mentor

Having a mentor can be a game-changer on your coding odyssey. A mentor is someone who champions your cause, providing invaluable insights, feedback on your code, and advice on navigating the ever-evolving tech landscape. Benefit from their experience as they signpost the essential topics to learn and help you prioritize your learning journey.

 

7. Pursue a passion project

In the world of software development, having your own passion project is the key to unlocking your true potential. Rather than just building another clone of an existing app, challenge yourself to create a unique showpiece that reflects your creativity and problem-solving abilities. Working on your passion project will also teach you how to hunt down answers to technical challenges, an essential skill for any developer.

 

8. Consider a bootcamp

If you’re seeking a structured, accelerated learning experience, coding bootcamps offer an exceptional opportunity to dive into the world of software development. At Kickstart Coders, our bootcamps provide a comprehensive curriculum covering all aspects of coding while offering a supportive environment for your growth. A bootcamp is an excellent option if you prefer a guided learning path with dedicated instructors and peers.

 

9. Craft Your Developer Presence

As you hone your coding skills, it’s essential to develop your developer presence. Craft a well-formatted, one-page CV showcasing your achievements and projects. Elevate your LinkedIn profile to showcase your passion and dedication to software development. Remember, you are a developer, not a junior, and the projects you’ve built demonstrate your skills. Market yourself as the skilled professional you’ve become.

 

10. Think Beyond Conventional Job Searches

To land your dream job as a software developer, think outside the box when it comes to job searches. While traditional job boards have their place, explore alternative ways of connecting with potential employers. Reach out directly to tech companies in your area, share your inspiring self-taught developer journey on LinkedIn, and leverage your network to uncover hidden job opportunities.

Becoming a software developer may seem daunting, but with the right mindset and commitment, you can unlock the doors to an exciting and fulfilling career. Remember, the tech industry welcomes individuals with a proven track record of self-learning and a passion for technology. Embrace the simplicity of programming’s core concepts and be patient with yourself as you learn. 

 

Start your journey today and transform into a skilled software developer capable of building remarkable projects.

 

Ready to kickstart your tech career? Check out Kickstart Coders’ coding bootcamp and embark on a transformative learning experience that sets you on the path to success!

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