Software development is a very rewarding job with plenty of opportunities in industries around the world. Get good enough at your job and you can be paid extremely well. Design something impressive enough, and not only will you have secured your future you will have a thriving business of your own.
Software development is the most important job in tech. It is what propels businesses and future-forward. Data science might be the #1 job, and cybersecurity might be experiencing a massive increase in job openings, but software development has always been the most important job of them all. Everything that we have achieved in the digital world has been thanks to a software developer, but your journey is far from easy.
It takes a lot of dedication and patience to be a big-time software developer, but so long as you follow these seven steps and keep your efforts steady, you too can reach the big leagues.
1, Learn the Basics with the Right Bachelor’s
Computer science is not something that can be easily learned on your own. It is possible, yes. Teenagers who love the entire process can learn on their own and really make a killing for themselves. Adults can become experts without formal training. If you aren’t one of these inherent geniuses, however, don’t worry. It’s actually better to get a CS degree or math equivalent, as this will help open doors you would never have been able to otherwise.
2, Find Opportunities Through Your Career Center and Department
It is hard to get that first position, even if you’re doing nothing more than trying to secure an unpaid internship. Internships have become vastly unfair and even exploitative, using interns as free labor for the sake of experience.
That is why you should first look for opportunities through your department and career center. If you show your commitment you may be brought on personal projects from your professors as an assistant. Or you may be able to apply for an internship position that your career center has found for students in your department. See Also: Resume Templates
Universities today often partner with businesses to provide their students with internships that will actually provide real experience. There may even be a credit you can earn for your internship, so look for these options and get the best experience right from the start.
3, Build Up Your Own Portfolio
Don’t ever wait for someone else to give you an opportunity, however. Instead, build up your own portfolio. If you want to go into web development, start and manage your own website, and even work freelance and try to build up clients. If you want to be a software or game developer – create and finish projects.
There are so many ways that you can practice, build up your own portfolio, and even start a business of your own. It doesn’t matter how successful this business is, especially when you first start out. Having a few clients is enough to showcase skills, experience, and drive.
4, Build-Up Your Network
Stay in touch with clients, your course mates, and the staff in your old department. From there you will want to attend events (both in-person if possible, and online). You will want to get involved in chats on social media (FAQ sites and Reddit are great places to connect with experts), and you will want to use your connections to make new connections.
It will feel daunting at first, but people inherently like it when others come to them for help, especially if that help is minimal on their part. It means that they are someone special and important, and so long as you nurture a good relationship with them you can make new opportunities for yourself and your new friends. See Also: Download Free Data Recovery Wizard Pro Software Online
5, Specialize with a Masters
If you really want to qualify for those high paying roles and have your pick of employers, then you cannot rest on what you have learned with your Bachelor’s. A Masters’s is a way to go when it comes to building on your skills and specializing for a glowing career in the future.
You could even turn your career into software development with a Masters. If you have only been able to work adjacently to the roles that you dream of, now is the time to take your future in your own hands.
So long as you have a relevant BSc, or take a foundational course, there are a variety of online Masters in Computer Science for non-CS majors. A math-focused undergrad degree is all you need to build up your skills in computing and to start a career in software development.
Just remember to choose a CS degree that allows you to specifically specialize in this role, otherwise, you won’t have the right skills to help you launch your career or propel it forward.
6, Keep Your Skills Sharp
Keep your skills sharp by completing online certifications. Many of these are even offered free, so take advantage of them and try to get in the habit of learning and gaining these further certifications to stay on top of the latest skills and information in your specialty.
7, Be Brutal With Your Career Advancement
Most importantly, however, you need to be brutal with your career advancement from the start. Being incredibly talented will give you the chops to back you up, but unless you fight for higher pay and promotions you won’t advance as readily as you otherwise would be able to. Tell your employers and managers where you want to go in your career. Ask for opportunities, and know when to demand for higher pay or a new position. Negotiation is your best friend, and so is a tough spine. If your employer isn’t playing ball with you wanting to be paid fairly for the work and experience you provide, then you need to leave.
You can often get that promotion and that pay rise just by applying to the role at the start. You will never have better-negotiating power than when you are being hired, so use that to your advantage and keep pushing to reach your goals.