Software Developer Career Change: How to Become a Software Developer


Software Developer Career Change: How to Become a Software Developer

A career change to software developer can be a challenging and daunting decision. If you are a non-techie who’s planning to become a software developer, you may be wondering how you can change careers and become a software developer. 

Regardless of how complicated those algorithms appear, every professional software developer today began as a beginner, just like you. So, in this article, we look at programming, the perks enjoyed by developers, and how to change career to software developer. 

Who Is a Software Developer?

A software developer is a professional who is the mastermind behind creating innovative applications and software. Using their well-versed programming abilities, software developers write code for building software, solve the bugs in an error code and test out the final product before launch.

Modern games, operating systems, mobile and web applications are all software products derived from a group of software developers. 

Can Anyone Change Career to Software Developer?

If you want a one-word answer, yes, anyone can change their career to software developer. Suppose you’re wondering why. It’s because software developers aren’t limited to IT. They can and do perform a role in a variety of other professions.

For example, if you were a doctor or a nurse and became a software developer, you could work in a healthcare firm. Since you have both the knowledge and experience of healthcare and software development, you can contribute more to the firm. The same case is for writers. You can become a technical writer and earn as much as a software developer by learning software development.

In addition to software development, any prior expertise is an asset, and you will have an easier time finding work.

Perks of Being a Software Developer

Software developers enjoy many outstanding benefits, and in the main, they have a high value of life. Let’s look at some of those positive perks. 

  • Hefty Salary: A software developer’s annual salary is incredibly high. And, if we consider future demands, the compensation is anticipated to rise even further, which is one solid reason to switch careers right away.
  • Work Remotely: Because of the online nature of programming, software developers can often work remotely at their preferred company.
  • Learn New Technologies: Since the software industry is constantly evolving, there will be no end to learning new technologies as a developer.
  • Create Anything: As a software developer, all you need is an idea; that’s it. With that, you can build whatever software or application you want.

How to Change Career to Software Developer 

Aside from learning programming languages and skills, there are several other aspects you should be aware of. So, now let’s get to know how to make the change to software development.

Programming Languages You Need to Know

For a software developer, programming is like breathing. It is the critical asset that will determine whether you will succeed or fail in your career. 

Looking at code for the first time may render you dizzy. Most programmers have experienced this at some point. The code you think is complex to learn and work out will be simple after you learn and understand the concept of the programming languages.

There are dozens of programming languages; however, not all of them are required for software development. To become a software developer, you can master any of the following languages:

Non-coding skills

Most tend to believe that to become a software developer, you only need programming skills. However, this is not the case. Other skills are as necessary as coding languages. 

For example, and this is a big plus for career changers, employers highly regard knowledge of other areas like:

  • Communication abilities
  • Team management experience
  • Being able to work with other people
  • Social media skills
  • Marketing skills
  • Sales skills
  • Teaching skills

The list here is potentially endless. Regardless of your professional background, depending on where you practice your new software development skills, your previous experience could be a huge advantage. 

Other technical Skills

As an aspiring software developer, you need to have a proper balance with knowledge in programming languages and the following skills:

  • Cloud computing – like AWS
  • Knowledge of data structures and algorithms to write efficient codes.
  • Familiarity with source control tools such as Git.
  • Understanding how to include IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) into your project.
  • Learning how to interact with, organise, and manipulate databases.
  • Having the necessary operating system knowledge
  • Understanding the fundamentals of testing.
  • Adequate understanding of security features such as encryption and cryptography.

Having these skills adds some brownie points to your resume and increases the chances of getting hired.

Software Development Tools 

Software developers use software tools to create, write, store, organise and debug their programs. These tools come in both premium and free versions.

Some of the popular tools preferred by software developers are:

Choosing a Software Development Field

There are various fields of software development to know before you decide to change career. Let’s look into the different software development fields:

Web Development

Web development is divided into frontend, backend, and database. HTML, CSS, Python, Javascript, C++, PHP, Ruby are some languages web developers use. 

Data Science

Software developers have a high chance of getting hired as data scientists. This is because the developer creates software to manage large datasets for firms in this profession. Python, C, MATLAB, and SQL are just a few languages needed to develop data science software.

Software Tools Development

The tools we discussed earlier were also the products of a group of software developers. These tools use core programming languages such as Java, Python and C++.

Embedded Software Development

In embedded software development, developers write programs for computer hardware on which a system runs. Arduino, Java, Python are some programming languages used to develop embedded systems.

Cloud Computing

Rather than creating their own data centres and servers, businesses are gradually migrating to cloud-based storage for their databases and other assets. Software engineers create the cloud software utilised to manage the cloud systems. Some languages used in cloud-based software development are Java, R, XML, and Go.

Choosing a Platform to Learn

If you have decided to change your career to software development, that’s a great first step. However, next, you must choose a platform to learn these skills. Thankfully, there are numerous options available, between:

  • Computer science programme in a university
  • Joining a classroom bootcamp
  • Professional learning online, 
  • Teaching yourself. 

Computer Science

While computer science is a good way to learn software development, it throws up some issues. Firstly, a degree in computer science can take three to four years of full-time study. For career changers, this can be incredibly difficult. Similarly, choosing this path will mean attendance on-campus in most instances, which can be time consuming, and potentially expensive depending on where you live relative to the campus on which you get accepted. 

Classroom Bootcamp

Classroom bootcamps are great to pick up the skills you want to learn. However, unlike computer science, it focuses on the skills needed to become a developer. It tends to focus less on theory and more on practice. The problem with traditional bootcamps is location and time. For instance, a traditional bootcamp is designed to teach someone full-time within 12 or so weeks. So, if you want to work and study simultaneously, it can be incredibly difficult. 

Secondly, the use of a physical classroom requires the attendee to be from certain geographic regions, which means that it is not accessible to all. 

Learn Online

Online learning has seen phenomenal growth over the last ten years, and since COVID-19, it has become a more trusted way of learning. Online learning makes it easier than ever to help you change career to software development. Code Institute’s Full Stack Software Development programme allows careers changers to study part-time over 12 months.

The significant benefit of online learning is that career changers can enjoy greater flexibility. However, just because a programme is online does not mean it is any easier. Learners must remain committed to their studies and use available support sufficiently. 

Teach Yourself

The most significant benefit of teaching yourself is the fact that it is free. Also, if you succeed to teach yourself anything, there is immense pleasure in achieving your goals. However, often it helps a learning process if you have a complete learning structure in place. Support systems are essential too. What if you need help from a dedicated team of experts? 

Not that it’s a bad thing, if you are serious about teaching yourself software development, it takes a lot of mental preparation and dedication to complete your studies and make the shift in your career.

Finally, while teaching yourself anything and creating your own experience is commendable, a recruiter often wants to see evidence of professional learning.  

Practice Your Skills

Watching programming videos for hours and writing down notes is not enough to excel at software development. To develop software, you should practice building minor projects and applications.

You can also participate in Codewars and quizzes to further enhance your dynamic programming skills.

Software Developer Communities

You need connections to flourish in software development, which you may get by joining software developer forums like Github, StackOverflow, and others. Not only will you make contacts in the development community, but other developers in the community will also be able to assist you if you have any programming concerns or difficulties.

Employment as a software developer

The number one goal for someone who wants to change career to software developer is generally to find a job in that field. If you choose to learn through a professional education provider, the best ones will have a career support function to assist in finding a job. While some bootcamps and providers say they will guarantee employment, we advise that you make sure to read the small print properly. 

Code Institute has a careers team in place through its Career Hub. They aim to help you land your first role as a developer. The good news is, their services don’t stop there. As an alumnus, our careers team is willing to help with further moves too. 

Code Institute’s careers team are experts in helping our students and graduates find work; as a result, 98% of career services users are employed within a year of graduation. 

Apart from one-on-one support, the careers team will also help you with your CV, interview preparations, webinars with employers, and much more. 

Learn the basics first

When making significant decisions, such as changing careers, the future may appear challenging and unpredictable. However, huge risks combined with hard work always result in success. So, if you want to see if you could become a software developer, an excellent first step is to know if you have an aptitude for learning it. Code Institute’s free 5 Day Coding Challenge allows you to learn some basics and build your first web page. This short course takes just one hour a day over five days, and on it, you will learn the basics of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Register now through the form below. 

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