It always seemed to me that to have a specific profession, you need to have a suitable education for it. In short, to become a programmer you have to finish studies in this particular area. But the truth is completely different. No one requires you to have a degree, diploma or publications — this is where your skills count. You can learn everything by reading and practising or by attending courses that will prepare you from scratch so you can develop on your own. The profession of a programmer is mostly based on passion. You have to love it to do it well. Many of the brilliant programmers I know have not finished their studies, but they have come to their knowledge, and they can manage easily on the job market, getting interesting jobs because they simply know what they are doing. Therefore, don’t give up when you think that without a degree you will not be able to develop your career, skills and willingness to grow are what counts, since development is a key element to success in this industry.
Some people associate programming with mathematics or advanced science that is not within the reach of ordinary people. But this is nonsense. Anyone can work as a programmer and you don’t need any magical knowledge of mathematics. What matters is logical thinking, ability to learn from mistakes, creativity and patience. Not every code comes out as if we want it and sometimes it takes a lot of time to find a mistake which them we have to fix. But it has nothing to do with mathematics. Logic is what matters here.
Walking into a new, unknown world is not an easy task. No matter in which industry you take your first steps, you always have to get used to the specific language spoken by professionals. This applies to specialist words, abbreviations, phrases. Learning a professional jargon may take a while, but nothing will speed up the learning process more than asking questions. Ask your colleagues what they just said, find out what is going on, and due to that you will learn new words much faster and be able to implement yourself in this fascinating world.
It is also worthwhile to work closely with your colleagues and ask them for advice or their ideas on how to solve some problems so that you can learn and refine your skills faster. Remember, teamwork doesn’t slow you down.
You can’t remember everything. The magic of programming is also the ability to find and use the knowledge that has been found. There are many books, publications, learning videos, blogs where you can learn new things and it is important to note down what you can use somewhere where you can easily access it when needed. Some things are remembered with the frequency of use. Therefore, don’t worry that you’ll have to memorise huge amounts of data, just learn how to use them smartly.
It is important to be able to imagine yourself in the place where you want to be and in a position that suits you best. The choice is huge, just like the choice of programming languages to choose from, but if you limit yourself to a maximum of two paths it will make it easier for you to focus on your plans and thus learn the things you need to grow in that role. Not everyone is suitable for a database developer or a software engineer, maybe your dream is to be a back-end developer or web developer, each of the options gives you a lot of possibilities and it is worth focusing on the one that attracts you most. It will make learning much easier.
You can’t get away from it. Each of us has written and probably will write the wrong code again and will have to start everything from scratch. Not many people can write a perfect code for the first time. You must focus on solving problems so that you can improve your code and learn a lot from it. Every working solution brings you closer to a better code. Try to make it clear, sharp and understandable for others, not only for yourself.
If your code is clear, you can ask others to help you improve it if necessary. Sometimes it’s worth relying on others and don’t hesitate, because you can learn a lot from them and this will surely be useful for your further career development.
It’s also worth knowing that sometimes junior writes better codes than senior and there’s no need to break down when something goes wrong. Finding and solving a problem are important elements of a programmer’s work.
In programming, the first idea is not always the best one. Sometimes after writing a few dozen lines of code, you have to stop and look at it from a different perspective. There are moments when the stubborn pushing forward won’t work because the best option is to take a few steps back. It’s not about getting busy but about doing it wisely. It’s also worth remembering that complicated long code is not always the right thing to do and sometimes it’s better to do something simple and clear than to insist on something complex and impractical. What counts in programming is creativity, a fresh perspective on the subject and thinking outside the box. With these skills, you can really achieve something.
Keep in mind that you will often have to search for solutions using Google or StackOverflow and there is nothing wrong with that. What matters is the result of your work, not how you got there and who helped you with it.
Many believe that as a programmer you can rely on one programming language, that this is enough to reach the top. But the truth is slightly different. Consider programming languages as a toolbox. You don’t always use a hammer, sometimes a screwdriver comes in handy. That’s how it works with programming. Sometimes you’ll need to know Java another time PHP and maybe one day Python will make your project easier. It’s worthwhile to keep learning and trying to absorb the knowledge all the time. It doesn’t make sense to lock yourself into just one programming language because with the whole set of tools you can do much more than with just one. Remember that over time it is easier to learn more programming languages because you already know the basics on which a particular language is based. And as it’s said — If you know someone from the family, you know all the family.
I hope these few tips will help you get your mind around it and encourage you to try it. I know that beginnings can be difficult, but there’s no need to be discouraged, the work of a programmer is extremely interesting and fascinating, and above all, it gives great satisfaction from creating extraordinary things. Learn more about how to become a software developer and start your new career!