How to become a software developer (UK Edition)


How to become a software developer

For one to become a software developer, it is important to first understand what being a software developer entails. Software developers are sometimes known as programmers and their work is to build computer programs that enable organizations, equipment and machines to work efficiently. [i]To become a software developer, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is needed. However, if you lack a degree and are still passionate about a career in software development, you can still hone your skills by joining open source online communities and learning from online tutorials.

Becoming a software developer is more than acquiring computer language skills or having a degree in computer science. It is the development, designing and testing of computer programs to enable efficiency and effectiveness of those computer programs. Software industry is a highly skilled profession but unlike other skilled professions such as law or finance, there are no formal exams needed to become a developer. [ii] With discipline and hard work and patience anyone can become a software developer.

Enjoy programming and do it well

The process of getting to become an excellent programmer involves endless hour on the computer screen, figuring out and learning things. If you enjoy solving problems and creating new things, a career in programming could work for you. Being enthusiastic about programming will give you an upper hand during interviews as employers would rather have an enthusiastic programmer who is ready to learn than a qualified programmer who doesn’t enjoy working on computer programs. You can demonstrate your passion for programming by working on your own projects or joining open source communities to work on collaborative projects.

Contribute to virtual and real communities

Putting your work out in the public to get feedback is a sure way of growing your skills in software programming. The technology industry is a friendly industry with various development communities that are open to all programming enthusiast. Joining a hub could set you up on a platform where your skills can be identified. By accumulating credits for the projects you contributed to, employers will be able to identify with you through such open source communities and possibly offer you work.

Look for opportunities to develop

Most companies will support your development agenda if you contribute to the profit making of that company. You can do this by analyzing certain companies to identify problems that you can solve using your software development skills. This will not only give you real world applications for you programming skills, but also guarantee you a source of income.

Keep advancing your skills

Technology is constantly evolving. This is good news to developers who are just starting out as it offers equal opportunity to both the experienced programmers and those who are a little wet behind the ear. Even though it might seem hard at the beginning the disciplined and hard working software developers are able to advance quickly and learn new skills. In the software development industry, it is highly rewarding when you constantly keep advancing your skills. By joining open source development communities, you will be able to keep up with the new trends in the industry and learn relevant skills for quick advancement.

Be  a freelance programmer

Once you’ve developed the talent and can seamlessly create programs that are efficient, freelancing can be a good option to getting a head start in the industry. Job creation in the world of IT is usually continuous. With enough experience you can be able to find work in various other industries. You can also decide to set up your own business and work as a sub contractor or a consultant.[iii]

It is important to understand however that programming is not the only part of the work required as a software developer. You will need to have incredible people skills and be a team player as most of the time you will be working with different people from different backgrounds. Therefore knowing how to solve problems in the IT industry can go a long way towards advancing your career.