So, you want to be a programmer?

Becoming a software developer in a software house

Technologies and particular coding languages that are best to rapidly enter the IT industry.

The software program is an occupation that seems like a dream job for many young people, that are about to graduate. It seems that all you need is a basic knowledge of any programming language to “code” and earn piles of money. There’s some truth in that, but keep in mind that although the first steps are indeed simple, the long run is a bit more complicated.

A series of important decisions have to be made, which, if wrong, can hinder your progress noticeably. Don’t worry – we have got you covered! The short guide that follows, will let you avoid some mistakes, and will show you what commonly is considered a good beginner’s path to becoming a programmer.

What do software house employers expect of you?

The very first tests of programmers’ competencies are the job postings, and the recruitment process itself. Besides the benefits and unusual bonuses, so highly sought by the employees. Well written job postings always include skills, technological specializations, and personal feats that are required for the particular career opening. Besides the list of required programming languages, expect to have an absolutely obligatory English language proficiency condition. It’s very important to possess a communicative level of this language skill in the IT industry. The reasoning is, that however, we try to “localize” software development – the entirety of the world discusses and creates programming language sources in English. The first and most important recommendation would thus be – learn it if you don’t know it already! This would be also helpful to your higher level of communication with future team members – we often see projects being developed internationally – and regardless of your participation level, at some point, you WILL take part in a videoconference with the customer’s representative – and she/he will definitely want to speak in English. 

What about the PROGRAMMING language?

People that already are developers and programmers, will find learning new ones less difficult. That is a fact, and an undisputed one. Most of the programming languages differ a lot from each other, but all of them abide by the rules of logic and mathematics. (If you ask some senior developers the question we raise in this article – they might even respond: “Don’t learn ANY language. Learn mathematics first!”). That’s why it’s much more simple to start doing front-end development if you already excel at the back-end languages, and vice-versa. Being flexible, and having a will to learn new stuff, even if it seems to make no sense at the very moment, opens a vast array of future possibilities. If you are a programmer already – take note, which languages are trending now, learn to spot business trends, explore the current market needs – and follow!

At the end of a calendar year, and with the beginning of a new one, one of the most explored topics in IT industry media, is “Which programming languages will be the bomb in the new year?”. You will easily find top3, top5, top10 lists everywhere around, try to read a dozen of those, and take notes on the technologies that keep popping up in all of those. It’s going to be a good indicator of which particular skill to pursue, to jump-start your career.

The holistic approach

Ok, so the market needs are one part of the story, but what about YOU? Choosing a skill to learn is a decision that will resonate for years to come. Approaching in purely by looking at the external factors will probably land you a good job, but you don’t want to have a good job, that you don’t like, do you?

Try to answer a question directed towards yourself – what exactly, in the programming world, do you intend to do, and what will give you pleasure and satisfaction while doing that? See, it does not make any sense to learn C/C++ if you dream about creating web applications front’s that will look stunning, and work flawlessly. Thus, a particular specialization is something you need to determine before opening the first book or watching the first tutorial.

To summarize it in a dense pill, for people that think about being involved in web development projects, based on Worpress, SymfonyPHP – the most definite direction to pursue would be PHP programming part of the technological stack. 

Aiming for android development? Hit the Java section of the library – that’s what the system is based on, that’s what the whole Linux/Unix is founded upon, and that’s what you need to learn.

Virtual and Augmented reality, the game development industry, SaaS business tools, robotic, automation – that’s a domain of C++, and that’s what many senior developers will point to if you ask – “What is the most sophisticated programming skill?” 

Becoming a programmer – flowchart (src: Carlcheo.com)

Google, Facebook, and many more international corporations, on the other hand, as well as many other social media platforms, employs Python a lot. This programming language, by the way, is often considered to be the most “simple” one. But think about it’s simply not in a negative way – it’s rather a “come in dark, hardline from the chopper into the bad guy’s backyard, take down all tangos in 90 sec, extract the objective, RTB undetected and manage to hit the bar after you debrief” kind of simplicity. Definitely not a one that hits you in the face as soon as you need to code in some sophisticated features. 

If you would like to code and create a complex, sophisticated front-end web interface, JavaScript should be your go-to. 

Character feats, and non-technical part of software development. 

There are many, that are required, or at least good-to-have as a software developer. Scrutiny and attention to detail are the most important here. Coding is a mathematical task. Mistaking one single character within a 1000+ lines long code can break all of it. Even with automated mistake detection compiling tools, sometimes it’s only possible to detect the mistake manually. It’s much more efficient to take more time when initially writing the lines than to look for mistakes. 

Remember that you will work within a team (well at least that’s highly probable!) and because of that, you will be responsible just for the PART of the software code, not its entirety. Learn to comment. Learn to describe – programming is not an occupation that recreates, it’s an occupation that creates. What matters is how to make thing A, work in a way of B, with the use of interface C. What lies between A-B-C is your creative approach to solving problems. And since it’s creative, often you are the only person that understands HOW does it work. Proper comments on the code and descriptions will make you an ultimate teammate. A one who is chosen first, when it comes to building new project teams. Because of poor code quality, even if the code itself does solve the problem, software houses often lose customers, and precise people are highly sought after by employers. Teamwork skills are highly appreciated – being a freelancer, despite the stereotype, is a rarity. Companies need and seek open-minded people, that are able to look for answers and think outside the box. Be precise. Be a freethinker!

So anything to follow to learn the trends?

It’s important to mention that following the new tech developments and industry news is KEY. The software development world changes every day, and you need to know that a shift is approaching, to be able to turn it into your ally. If you want to do VR, it’s good to know the whole VR industry – to follow the influencers of the market, to read important articles, follow the solutions that appear. It will let you be on top of the market requirements, and be first, not last to appear when your skill is needed by the companies. 

Get onboard Github, Dzone, Reddit Programming, and look for more by following discussions out there. Those communities are huge, and even if the answer that you are looking for is not there – if you ask, you will be answered with a smile.  

Try one of the tested approaches. 

The topic “What programming language should I learn” is huge. Treat the text above as a first step in finding the answer. As soon as you begin to build an idea, which one is the perfect one for you, think HOW will you learn it. 

The usual go-to methods are self-learning with tutorials communities and books, enlisting onto the training courses, applying for internships, or joining a mentoring program. 

Think you have what it takes? Pop in for a cup of coffee (check the pandemic limitations first!) we are running ongoing recruitment – check out open positions below

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