Getting started as a software developer is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible mission. For individuals looking for a career change, interested in learning a new skill, or want to learn how to communicate better with a development team, it makes sense to learn within this quickly growing field. Software developers are in high demand, offer lucrative pay, and a gap shortage in the field means there’s less competition for high-paying positions.
If you’ve already started researching how to get started with coding, chances are you’ve found plenty of material. But starting from scratch is no easy feat; many of today’s top coders and programmers have been coding since they were young. However, the hardest part of learning to code is getting started and committing to it. With that in mind, here are five tips for getting started as a newbie software developer:
Learn the Lingo
Before you get started, take the time to get familiarized with common software development jargon. Although it might not make too much sense without putting it into practical context, getting a head start on terminology that you’ll hear again and again will help you feel more at ease as you navigate your development courses. Get familiar with devops pipeline, API, classes, loops, fields, framework, and other developer terms. Consider getting a programming book that you can reference time and time again; you’ll have all your definitions in one place and it’ll come in handy throughout your programming classes.
Create a Goal
As previously mentioned, everyone has different reasons they want to learn software development and your personal reason can be branched out into different goals. If you want to learn to communicate better with software engineers at your job, perhaps you’ll take a class that places more emphasis on basic understanding than on technical applications. On the other hand, if you want to get a job in software development, you’ll need an in-depth course that covers a wide-range of technical applications.
Choose a Programming Language
Research Course Options
Fortunately, there are hundreds of options available to help you learn your desired programming language. On the other hand, this plethora of options can quickly lead to option paralysis. Start by deciding whether you want to learn coding in-person or online. In-person classes have rigid schedules and are more of a time commitment, but for individuals who want access to hands-on instruction and learn best by speaking with others in real-time, this is likely the option for you. You can research in-person coding bootcamps in your area or take a class from a local community college.
Online courses offer much more flexibility and depending on what you’re looking for, you can pay a premium price for a more hands-on course with access to instructors. Actualize, App Academy, and General Assembly are some of the more prominent bootcamp coding courses, but there are additional options on e-learning platforms like Udemy. You’ll be able to go at your own pace and communicate with other students taking the course, too.
For more one-on-one coaching, try subscription-based services like Treehouse and Udacity, where you’ll pay a monthly fee and have access to private tutors. Lastly, the Odin Project is another great option if you feel comfortable working solo or want to supplement your paid courses. The Project is free and curates some of the best open-source content for a fully-fledged curriculum that covers a wide range of topics.
Play Coding Games
Coding games offer quick, interactive, and simple ways to put some of your practice to good use in a fun gamification environment. Code.org has hundreds of “Hour of Code” game tutorials spanning across 45 programming languages. You might feel like a kid, but that’s the point: many of the games featured on different websites are designed to teach children basic coding blocks and principles, which is exactly what you’re trying to learn, too. CodinGame offers a more complex game environment if you want something a little more advanced. Check out this comprehensive list on coding games for adults.