4 Tips To Get Started as a Software Developer

The world of software development is exciting, in demand, and can pay well. If you’re interested in getting started as a software developer, I have four tips to share in this article.

Have a Technology to Focus On

As a software developer, there are so many technologies that you can learn and use. Programming languages, frameworks, vendor products… the list goes on.

You could go and learn a bunch of programming languages such as C#, Java, .NET, Python, Ruby, JavaScript, SQL, PHP and CSS. You could also go and learn some frameworks such as Node.js and ASP.NET MVC. You could also learn some vendor products such as SAP or SharePoint.

If you wanted to do all that, it would take a lot of time, energy, and resources. You might be a good learner, but having to learn many languages and technologies would not be ideal.

I think it’s far better to have a technology to focus on.

Specialise, don’t generalise.

Software developers get hired based on their ability to develop code in a certain language or specific area. They don’t get hired based on the number of languages or technologies that they know.

The exception to this would be a web developer or a full stack developer. As a web developer, you would need to know a few languages, but these languages are all related. You won’t get very far if you’re a web developer that only knows HTML and not CSS or JavaScript. As a web developer, you should be looking to create a portfolio that includes samples of the different languages you know.

Learn one language, or a couple of related languages, and focus on that. Aim for that language to be your primary skill. Getting a job as a Java Developer with Java as your focus is easier than getting the same job with multiple focused languages.

Create an Account on GitHub

The next tip is to create an account on GitHub.

If you haven’t heard of GitHub, it’s an online source code repository that’s available for the public to use, for free. You can write code in any language, store it on GitHub, and use that as a repository for your project. It keeps track of changes over time and it’s stored online, so you don’t have to worry about your computer crashing and losing all of your work.

Create an account on GitHub if you’re serious about becoming a software developer. This shows that you’re practising your development skills and are committed to the journey.

The next step is to use GitHub and put some code in there.

As you learn to develop in a programming language, you’ll probably have some projects that you’d like to work on and some programs you’d like to create. Use GitHub to store the code that you write.

Your profile is viewable by the public, and you can get a link to it, which can be shared with hiring managers or placed on your resume. People can view it to see the quality of your code and the kinds of changes you’re making.

Set Up a LinkedIn Profile

I'm a big fan of LinkedIn. It’s a great tool to keep in contact with people you know, and keep updated on the industry you work in.

The biggest benefit of LinkedIn is it’s ability to be used as an online resume. It can help you get a job you’re going for, apply for jobs, and even be approached for jobs.

Create a profile for free on LinkedIn. It’s similar to other social networks, but is more like a resume. You add some details about yourself, such as a name, photo and a professional description.

After that, you can add your education details, experience, skills, and many other areas such as volunteer work and awards.

It’s a great way to improve your visibility.

Develop Your Communication Skills

Communication skills are really what sets developers apart.

No matter how good of a developer you are, the ability to communicate with others will go a long way to improve your career.

sure, as a software developer, there is a heavy emphasis on technical skills — how well you can write code in your language, how well you know the language, ability to use the tools, and so on.

However, a big way to improve your career and even to get started as a software developer is to work on your communication skills.

Speaking to others, presenting to small groups or your team, writing emails, listening, asking questions, answering questions, are all examples of communication skills that can help you in your software development career.

You can practice these and get better at these by trying them on the job.

  • Ask questions of your team members and try to understand something you want to know
  • The next time you write an email, put some thought into how the reader will see it, and if you can make it easier for them to understand
  • If you have to speak in front of a group, such as at your team meeting or daily stand-up, focus on speaking clearly and looking other people in the eye.

There is a lot more to say on communication skills for software developers than I can cover in this article, but it’s a good area to improve if you’re looking to get started as a software developer.

So, if you’re looking to become a software developer, focus on a technology, set up an account on GitHub and LinkedIn, and work on your communication skills to give yourself a better chance of getting into this career.

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