Entering the world of development

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A few days ago a friend approached me and asked me, in his way, how to become a developer. Not how to write code, but how to work as a developer. There is no doubt the job itself has many advantages. Starting from the salary, of course, and ending with the conditions and responsibility.

His question was quite simple: “I know a bit of coding, what can I do to be accepted to a development position?”

He is not young, and he doesn’t have a degree that would help him. He mostly has the desire to learn and work hard. His major problem is that he can’t just leave everything to an unknown future, he has day to day responsibilities. He asked if I would hire him and my answer was no. Primarily because I’m not in charge of the hiring 🙂 but really because he doesn’t have any experience.

This talk made me think. 

How can someone enter this world?

The easiest way to respond to this is to say, go get a degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering and come back for a student/junior position.

But I’m sure there are other ways, the degree is not as important today as it was a few years ago. I myself see it everyday, there are people without a degree that have a few years of experience that are better at the everyday job. 

So experience is important and I don’t see that changing in the near future. That takes me to the next question, 

How do I get experience?

There are many ways to do this, entering a super-junior position is one of them. Even a non-paid one is an option.

Another way is to try your luck in the freelance world. Maybe enter Fiverr like sites. These sites allow you to create yourself a name in the industry.

Another way is to start your journey in a near-development position. QA or DevOps are two examples of this. 

When working as a QA, you get to work side by side with the development team. You might be asked to write some automation scripts for the tests. Every little thing you do is directly connected with the development life cycle. 

When working as a DevOps you ARE the development life cycle. You understand the needs of the developers and are part of the team. Here too you may see yourself writing scripts and pieces of code to better your work. 

What’s good about these two examples is that many places will take you without having experience. Moreover, as you will work side by side with the developers, you’ll get to know them and they’ll get to know you. It will open doors for you.

While doing this as your main job, I strongly recommend taking some courses in your free time (like I wrote here and here)

Ask yourself what you do in your free time and how does that improve you and take you one step closer to your goal.

Comments: 1

  1. Yarin says:

    As usual, I find your post helpful and very enjoyable 🙂
    By my experience as DevOps engineer, I have a close relation with developers, and I get to deal with their concerns and dilemas on a daily basis.
    These days, DevOps possition is starting to be taken as serious as developers in means of recruiring.
    Meaning, that getting into a DevOps possition might require an experience as much as hire software developer. There are few companies that would hire a junior.
    From my point of view, if someone is willing to get inside this industry, junior/student possision, which being guided by an senior team leader or team member, would be the best ways to dive in.
    As you suggested, there are other options, such as QA or any other related jobs, which might lead you to your goal.

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