Career Tips for Aspiring Software Developers 

5 min read

Career Trends: July 21, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of ICS Career GPS

Software developers are the force behind computer programs, they design and write the code used to build everything from operating systems to apps to video games. 

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Software developers use their programming skills to create new software and update existing applications. If you’re a creative thinker who enjoys problem solving, a career as a software developer could be a good fit. Software is essential in nearly every industry, which means you can pursue a career in a field that aligns with your passions and interests.

What does a software developer do?

Software developers are the creative force behind computer programs of all kinds. They design and write the code used to build everything from operating systems to apps to video games. 

In this role, you may be involved with every stage of the software development process, from figuring out what users need and how they’ll use the software to rolling out a completed application.

Here are some tips that can help you advance toward your goals if you plan to pursue a career in software development:

1. Learn programming languages.

For a career in software development, you’ll need a solid foundation in programming languages. Here are four that you may consider focusing on:

  • Java is an all-purpose programming language used for developing server-side applications. It works on various platforms, including the internet and Android smartphone applications.
  • Python is widely considered one of the easier languages to learn. This object-oriented language is also known for its versatility, with applications in scripting, development, and data analysis.
  • C/C++ are popular languages for system programming. C++, which is based on C, is also a common option among game developers.
  • Scala is a high-level programming language that combines functional and object-oriented programming concepts. It was developed to address some of the shortcomings of Java.

2. Figure out your end goals.

  • Software developers work in a variety of industries, including software publishers, finance companies, insurance carriers, and computer systems design organisations. 
  • You might work in health care, engineering, manufacturing, or another work environment.
  • Having a good sense of what you want from your job can help you successfully navigate your path.
  • Industry knowledge will be necessary. E.g., if you want to work in health care, you may need to build industry knowledge and skills around issues like data privacy laws and how patient records are stored and accessed.

3. Pursue a degree or take relevant courses.

  • While you don’t always need a degree to find a job in software development, earning one can help you build technical skills and open more job opportunities.
  • As you research majors, consider those with an emphasis on development skills, like software engineering, computer science, or information technology.
  • If you have an idea of the industry you’d like to work in, consider earning a minor in that field to start building industry expertise.

4. Start practising within your niche.

  • You need to devote time to working with programming languages and trying your hand at development.
  • It’s the key to gaining a thorough understanding of the development process, which will help you become a more productive, efficient, and accurate professional.
  • If you have a passion for app design, you could choose to develop your skills by building mobile apps.
  • If you’d rather work on the infrastructure of computers and servers, you might specialise as a DevOps engineer instead.

5. Make a portfolio of your software development work.

As you practise programming and build applications, compile them into a portfolio. Having a portfolio of your best work demonstrates to potential employers that you can use the skills on your resume in the real world. At a minimum, your portfolio should contain:

  • A short biography
  • Contact information
  • Relevant skills
  • Link to your resume/Linkedin profile
  • Accolades or awards
  • Professional and personal projects

As you gain more experience, curate your portfolio to show off only your best work. Be sure to include projects where you’ve used technologies that align with the jobs you’re applying for. 

6. Develop your technical skills (apart from programming).

Beyond programming languages, it helps to have experience working with other tools that software developers commonly use. Examples include:

  • SQL, a language used to power database engines
  • Tools like Git and Mercurial SCM, two source control systems often used in software development
  • Integrated development environments, which enable the writing, modification, running, and debugging of development code

7. Build your non-technical skills, too.

  • As a software developer, you’re going to be tasked with giving others instructions while working on projects.
  • You’ll also have to explain how things work and answer questions clients and supervisors may have.
  • In addition to excellent communication skills, developers should be creative, detail-oriented, and have stellar problem-solving skills.

8. Certify your skills.

  • Certifications can help validate your skills for potential employers and demonstrate your proficiency, which can be helpful if you don’t have a lot of work experience.
  • Check out some job listings for positions you’d like to apply for to see what certifications are commonly required or requested.

9. Double check your resume and apply with confidence.

  • Your resume should clearly demonstrate your career progression and the experience that fits the role you’re trying to land.
  • Customise it to highlight the projects and experiences that best fit what each employer is looking for, and be sure to review it to make sure it’s typo-free. 

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

Metaverse: The Next Generation of Reality

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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