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How To Become a Software Developer

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The business world is made of software, and someone has to develop it. In a world of admins and end-users, software developers are at the heart of everything we do. Someone developed the apps and programs you use every day. Someone developed the software used by underwater oil rigs, air traffic control, and earthquake detection systems. No matter where you look or what you do today, you’ll see the role of a software developer.

So, if you are curious about becoming a software developer, you have every reason to pursue this goal. It’s a great career that you can do for a big company, in a team of developers, or as a solo contractor because there is always a need for new software to be developed, old software to be maintained, and existing software to be expanded. What does it take to become a software developer? How do you get started, and how can you build your skills to reach this illustrious goal? It’s more approachable than you may think. At Southern Careers Institute, we make the path easy with access to courses and best practices, but the passion and precision necessary come from you.

1) Learn 1 to 3 Coding Languages

The first step is to learn a coding language. In practicality, we suggest learning somewhere between two and three coding languages to lock in your versatility. Many applications use a foundation of C, C++, and X# (you can learn them all together) with an over-layer of web coding done in Javascript, HTML, and CSS (another trio). Python and Pearl are well-known shortcut languages and are often used to patch things over.

But if you had to start somewhere, we’d suggest C++ or Javascript. C++ is best for back-end programming, while Javascript is better for web development.

2) Plan, Frame, and Create a Few Demo Programs

Once you have the hang of your first programming language, start building demos. This is, by far, the best way to practice and grasp the essentials of programming while seeing the results of your work. Seriously, you don’t have to be serious with your first demos. You can create a demo infrastructure for a superhero coffee shop, make a little puzzle game, or program an activity tracker. Just start seeing your code in action.

From there, build your skills in developing a project from start to finish. Try outlining the project you want to make. Plan, frame, and diagram what you want to build, and then build the code from the ground up. We can’t truly describe the awesome feeling you get when you develop a piece of software from scratch, but it’s pretty incredible – and will build your software development skills in terms of full-scale projects.

3) Take Courses That Teach Business Software Essentials

It can also really help to take courses to master the business essentials of software development. You can take online classes to learn coding from the very beginning or teach yourself, but courses are really important for learning what you need to know to make your software development into a career. For example, there are a lot of best practices and types of programs that you will need to master to market your skills as a software developer to a business.

This is because businesses need programs that fit certain criteria, use performance best practices, and can comply with certain regulations. Typically, these needs go beyond self-taught expertise, and software development courses are the best way to build your ability to program based on corporate standards.

4) Practice Hosting, Troubleshooting, and Delivering Software

You will also likely be expected to manage the delivery of your programs. That means publishing software that is publicly available and accessible to end-users rather than just experimenting in your dev environment.

To do this, you’ll want to practice some admin and troubleshooting skills. Try spinning up your cloud server, preparing an environment, and hosting your developed apps. See if you can arrange to log into your websites or software from your home computer. Test your apps as multiple users and troubleshoot problems you come across, then redesign the app and iterate versions.

This will give you practical experience in the kind of workflow you may find in a corporate software development environment.

5) Work With Other Software Developers on a Group Project

Another benefit of online classes is the opportunity to work in teams and create group software projects. The collaboration will likely be a big part of your software development career, and you will also likely work on the software created by previous programmers and then leave the code for others to use later. Practicing working together and taking turns writing code is a great way to prepare yourself for the workforce and will build your skills as a developer in a real-world environment.

6) Practice Every Week with New Challenges and Exercises

Once you have become proficient at writing your programs, hosting and delivering them, and collaborating with others – don’t stop there! Software development is a constantly evolving industry and no developer gets to rest on their laurels. To stay ahead and keep your skills sharp, you’ll want to stay practiced at creating better and more refined solutions to every problem.

Seek out programming challenges, and advanced online courses, and play coding games that will help you hone your skills. You will realize that, over time, your coding becomes more elegant, requiring fewer lines of code or server resources to execute as you gain skill.

7) Pick a Software Specialty or Niche and Develop It

It can help to choose a specialty – something you do best and focus on doing better. You might specialize in mobile apps or web pages, or focus on industry back-end, or security measures. Software development is used everywhere and is applied to every aspect of modern life and business – so there are thousands of potential niches or specialties to choose from. Each one presents a potential client base or future employer pool, along with opportunities to do the types of software projects that you enjoy most or empower goals you believe in.

8) Create a Portfolio of Your Skills, Accomplishments, and Demo Projects

Finally, when you’re ready to start looking for software developer jobs, build your portfolio. Create a showcase of your best demo projects along with an outline of your skills and accomplishments so far. Offer pieces of working code, host applications that future employers or clients can interact with, and show off what you can do with your digital creation skills.

Discover Your Software Developer Talents with Southern Careers Institute

Getting started as a software developer is as simple as learning your first programming language and writing your first little demo app. One of the best ways to learn is through online classes with Southern Careers Institute, taking your own time and doing exercises at your own pace until your brain fully wraps around programming and you find yourself making pages and functions with newfound skills. Southern Careers Institute can help you prepare for a career in software development through the convenience of online courses and learning opportunities. Contact us today to learn more!

This article was published on: 03/20/23 4:12 PM

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