The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that software development jobs will grow 22%from 2019 to 2029. This projected growth rate is much faster than the national average for all other professions, which stands at 7%. We can attribute this growth to the increasing demand for computer software across all sectors.
If you’re interested in switching to a lucrative career, it’s never too late—or too early—to start learning how to build software. According to HackerRank’s 2018 Developer Skills Report, about 75% of developers started coding before the age of 21. However, the survey data further indicates that 36% of all the developers who wrote their first code after the age of 26 are now higher-level professional developers in different industries, growing in their careers.
Although most people start learning how to code at a young age, this shouldn’t deter you from kicking off your coding career. You can learn how to code at an older age and become a professional developer in the industry as well. Here are five tips to set you off on the right foot:
Think About Your Problem Before You Code
You can’t just wake up one day and decide you’re going to become a software developer. If there’s no passion and enthusiasm for coding, then you’re likely to get bored or give up before you become successful. This is why you should take the time to think about the real reasons why you want to learn how to code. You can’t do it for the simple reason that it’s a “necessary skill” for the future. Are you looking to create the next greatest mobile app? Do you want to make a big career change? Or it’s all about scoring a promotion at your workplace?
Coding is an important skill for that person who’s willing and ready to put in the necessary work to succeed. As such, you should determine if whatever you’re looking to solve is truly a programming problem. In other words, don’t be quick to bang out code before you’ve thoroughly understood the problem.
Choose the Right Programming Language
It can be quite difficult to decide which language to learn as there are literally hundreds of programming languages to choose from. Manage Go modules with Go programming language or navigate abstracts with Java. There are endless possibilities. This is why it’s so important to figure out why you want to learn how to code. Keep in mind, there’s no single “best” language to learn. Different programming languages require different levels of skills.
Ask yourself: what problem do you want to solve as a developer? And, which difficulty level are you willing to learn? The answers to these two questions can help you choose the right language. If your interest to learn programming was sparked by a project idea, then choose a language that can help you best complete it.
If you’re having difficulty deciding on which language to start with, don’t stress. Try starting with simple entry languages like CSS and HTML. Once you’re comfortable with those, you’ll be able to learn the other languages quicker.
Sign up For a Computer Programming Course
If you want to learn how to code in a fun, engaging manner, and with more control over your learning schedule, then consider signing up for an online computer programming course. When done right, online coding courses will teach the essential syntaxes of a programming language and how you can use them. Some of the places you can find free online coding courses include Codecademy, Coursera, EdX, Udemy, AGupieWare, GitHub, MIT OpenCourseware, Free Food Camp, Code Avengers, and Khan Academy. You can sign up for subscription-model certification courses if you want career prep and one-on-one coaching without having to do a full-time coding Bootcamp.
Read Code Reference Books
Reading programming books may not be a popular way to learn to code but can help you understand programming concepts in detail. Tutorials often give only the basics leaving you to figure out the way yourself. Code reference books allow you to look things up when you get stuck and are confused about how to proceed with your coding project.
Don’t be quick to go directly to the coding examples in the book. Take the time to read the explanation of how the code works so you can discover other ways to write your code and other inputs to test. It’s also important that you download the source code that comes with coding books to understand its workings.
Create your Own Programs and Projects
Don’t be afraid to start creating your programs as soon as you have some basic working knowledge of the programming language you’re learning. Github is a great place to find programmers to collaborate with. So, don’t be afraid to show off your potentially amateur code on the platform and get feedback from other people. You can ask a more experienced developer to review your code and give improvement suggestions as well. This will help you improve your work. The idea is to practice, practice, and keep practicing.
Join an Online Community
In your journey to learn how to code, you’re going to get stuck or even feel lost at some point (and that’s okay). The good news is that almost every possible problem you’re going to face has been faced by many others before. This is why you need to always find someone you can learn from and ask questions. If you can’t find a real-life mentor, then consider joining an online community that can help you navigate the intricacies of learning how to code.
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