How to Start a Career in Software Development

Software development is a prevalent occupation these days since it comes with many perks and benefits. Salaries are high, opportunities are exciting, plus you can work remotely, from wherever you are.

A software developer is an engineer who turns people’s ideas into machine code. In simple terms, software development creates instructions for machines in order to obtain a working product: a website, mobile application, computer game, and much more.

The profession of software development is rather multifaceted, and there are many directions that one can take. To begin, you should research each separate direction, so as to understand which one suits you best.

There are many platforms where you can easily find an entry-level job in your preferred direction. We strongly recommend you do this because when it comes to truly understanding a profession, there is nothing quite like hands-on experience, plus you can try starting your software development career part time right now.

How to Start a Career in Software Development

In this article, we aim to define the profession of software developer, as well as give you some recommendations that will help you master it.

The demand for software developers is extremely high in the modern labor market. This spells great working conditions, high salaries, and awesome employers for the prospective job seeker. Moreover, to become a successful software developer, one does not need a special background, extensive connections, or even a prestigious higher education.

All you need is the ability to code and create computer software, applications, or websites. You can start coding in the most remote part of the world, working on an obscure piece of software, and still get to have a fantastic career.

In the IT world, the ability to acquire new knowledge is extremely important. Your own professional development should take place in three stages:

1. Trial Period

First and foremost, you need to understand if software development is the right occupation for you. You should therefore take some time, ideally at least six months, to play around and learn the basics of one or two languages – HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.

This will help you in several ways. First, you will “try your hand” at coding and realize if you are enjoying it and thus have a chance at becoming good at it. Second, you won’t have to invest too much time and effort by avoiding any long-term commitments. And last but not least, regardless of the outcome – you will end up with a new experience and one more skill to put on your resume.

2. Study

Once your self-imposed trial period is over, and you have decided to proceed with your career development, it is time to invest in perfecting your skills. This is best achieved by enrolling in online courses for the specific programming languages that you have selected. These courses will entail spending a certain amount of money, but they will surely pay off in the long run.

3. Internship

Once you feel more confident about your newly acquired coding skills, your best strategy is to apply for internships. Besides earning your first (albeit modest) income, an internship with a reputable employer will help you gain access to learning platforms and to start accumulating valuable experience. Furthermore, a successful internship almost always ends with full-time employment at the same company or, alternatively, being recruited by the competition.

Start a Career in Software Development

Once you become a full-fledged software developer, after a certain amount of time, you will be free to code in the language that you prefer. However, when choosing their first programming language, beginners should consider the following criteria:

  • Availability of vacancies on the market: The ultimate goal of this path is to find employment as a software developer. Predictably, this will be difficult if there is little demand on the job market for developers with your programming language. Check online employment platforms and forums to see which of the languages seem to be most in-demand and make a list with at least five to ten languages. Then move on to the next criterion.
  • Language accessibility and limitations: Spending a long time studying and practicing a language might discourage you from programming. Browse the relevant literature on each language and select those that seem easier and/or more accessible for you. Beginner’s favorites are usually PHP, Ruby, and Python.
  • Pleasure from the process: At a certain point, you might feel that are not enjoying your chosen programming language – this means that you will not enjoy the whole learning process and, consequently, your future job. If this happens, take some time to re-evaluate and reconsider your choice.

You also need to pick a direction of programming, preferably early on. This can be mobile, desktop, games, web, low-level programming, etc. The most popular and relatively “light” industries are web development, mobile and desktop clients. Some languages might be suitable for a certain direction but inappropriate for another one. You need to tread carefully and pay great attention to this aspect.

Once you have made your decisions on all the criteria above, it is time to prepare your resume and start working on your portfolio. You will then be ready to start your career in software development.