Shifting the Focus: Starting A Career in Programming

In recent years, IT professionals have been some of the most sought after members of the labor force. Today, the adoption of digital technol...

In recent years, IT professionals have been some of the most sought after members of the labor force. Today, the adoption of digital technologies is a mainstay in the list of business strategies for most industries — from automating repetitive tasks to shifting to remote onboarding of recruits. Over 60% of HR professionals are looking to recruit at least 50 developers in 2021 according to a recent global survey

What does a computer programmer do?

Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, Apple I creator Steve Wozniak, and Microsoft inventor Bill Gates have one more thing in common other than being visionaries, business tycoons, and millionaires. They are computer programmers. What does a programmer do, anyway?

We have computer programmers to thank for our mobile and portable technology working efficiently and to our convenience. They design, develop, and test software to meet the clients’ needs — all while ensuring that the software they develop are aligned with the best practices and standards of the industry. 

Programmers write code using various languages such as Java, C++, and Python. They work with other designers and programmers to ensure that things function properly. Their process includes frequent iterations of development, design, and putting together all the software components. After which, comes testing and gathering feedback from clients. Once software is deployed, the next tasks involve updating and extending the functionalities of the system. 

How do you start a career in programming?

Whether you are just starting your career — right out of school or college — or shifting from another industry, now is the opportune time to consider a career in programming. Here’s a guide on how to get started on it.

1. Ask yourself and understand why you are interested in a programming career.

Starting or shifting to programming entails learning new things, taking necessary classes, investing in tools and applications, among other things. So, it is important to explore your motivation for this decision.

Do you see programming as a career or just something you want to learn because it’s trendy now? Do you have a project or a concept that you want to execute on your own?

Your motivation to learn programming will dictate what types of languages and courses you need to take. The knowledge and skillset you need for tweaking your website’s layout are very much different from the ones you need if you are aiming to become a software engineer or a developer, for example.

2. Determine what type of programming are you eyeing to get into.

Think about what sort of programming you would like to do. Are you interested in becoming a back-end web developer? Or are you looking to develop software related to artificial intelligence and other rising technologies? 

There are different types of computer programmers, including software programmers, web developers, database administrators, data scientists, mobile app developers, and all the other roles in the IT industry. Read about these roles, and the programming languages, skills, and competencies they require. Also, remember that technologies are constantly evolving, so new roles or types of programmers are very likely to be created over time. Stay tuned to the latest updates in the industry, as well as your own network. 

3. Learn to code.

Once you’ve decided what field of programming you’re taking, it is time to learn the coding language that the field requires. For example, if you’re interested in working as a front-end web developer, then CSS, JavaScript, and HTML are the coding languages you’d want to start off with. If you want to get into the mobile app development game, then dabble in Java or Swift. 

Learning to code can also help you assess if computer programming is really a career you’d enjoy. After all, if you do not enjoy coding, then you’d probably find it hard to thrive in a programming career.

4. Practice a lot.

The only way to get the hang of coding is to practice constantly. The moment you start learning how to code, practice writing them. Start writing simple programs in a code editor — you can download one in your browser.  

Anticipate that coding is a profession wherein you’ll be alone for the most part. However, it is very important to reach out to colleagues and peers to get feedback and critique for your codes. Reviews are very important, and you will learn a lot from them. 

5. Build a portfolio.

As you learn to be a programmer, make sure to save your work and compile them somewhere. A website is a good place to do this because you can customize the codes as you learn, and then make it accessible to potential employers when you start applying for jobs.

Final Thoughts

Programming is considered one of the finest fields today — and your idea to start a career in programming couldn’t have come at a better time. The list above can help you get started on that idea and guide you through the beginning of this very important career decision. 


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