The tech industry is ever evolving, what this means is the industry is growing rapidly and there’s no chance for you to be comfortable with an acquired skill without trying to grow or level up on a skill. In this article, I’ll be sharing what it means to start out as a developer and how to keep building your career as you embark on this journey.
Let’s begin this journey, Are you a newbie or you’re currently on the verge of switching careers and you are certain you want to venture into software development. I applaud your courage and I’m happy you’ve made that decision because you won’t regret it I assure you. I know it might be a bit overwhelming when you start out but with time everything will ease in and you will begin to understand how things work. The tech industry today is one of the most supportive industries I’ve ever been a part of. Regardless of the path you have decided to take on be it Front-End Development, Back-End Development, Full Stack Development, Mobile App Development, and Data Science, etc, this article still relates to you and by following through with it I’m certain you’ll gain useful knowledge from it. Now as a newbie in the tech world where do you start from? How do you get updates about the latest happenings, how do you get help when you’re stuck, how do you connect with other developers like yourself all of these are what is running through your mind and I totally get you. This is why I’m writing this article, to share the basic knowledge on how you can kickstart your career from scratch. Now to get you in the boat of what steps you should take to be successful. I'll be highlighting several ways you can kick start your career in tech.
Building a career will involve you try out several ways on how you can be successful in the path and that you are involved in. The steps I’ll be outlining have proven to work for a number of developers including myself. so let’s get right into it. some ways you can leverage in building your career include:
Being involved with a community either online or in-person will go a long in helping you improve your career. There are several local communities that help foster the growth of developers both by organizing events like meetups and also by organizing workshops. As developers, it is important that we have a community we belong to based on the fact that we get to learn how other developers think, we network with other developers at these events and we also get hear other people’s story on how they kicked off their journey in tech. Also being in a community gives you the opportunity to meet new friends or a potential employer which is a great way of breaking into the tech ecosystem if that is something you are looking out for. A large number of developer communities exists across the world all you just need to do is find them. I’m a member of the GDG community and forloop Africa community and I can’t describe the benefits of joining communities enough. I’ll just urge you to find a local community and join.
This is a no brainer as we need to learn the tech right. That is the whole essence of starting the journey in the first place. Figuring out where to start your journey can be overwhelming but then that is why you have the Internet and Google to help us figure out these things. They are a lot of online resources both free and paid that can help you in your journey of becoming a world class developer. After you’ve mapped out the path you want to take the next thing I’ll advice is to start learning the technologies you need to succeed. Defining a guided path for yourself is very important and setting goals for what you want to achieve is also important. One of the many resources out there I’ll also recommend freecodecamp as a starting point if you’re interested in Front end development. Because it is very interactive and provides a guided path from beginner to advanced and lastly for the community behind it. I’ll like to plug in a project I worked on for beginners venturing into front end development. It will also serve as a guide for you on your journey. Above all, the internet is flooding with a lot of great resources that will help you win in your new chosen career path.
Mentorship is the act of seeking the guidance provided by a mentor, especially an experienced person in a company or industry. Getting a mentor is also an important step you can take as an effort for building your career. We as humans can succeed on our own as we are trained to fend for ourselves but we can do better by following the footsteps of those that are ahead of us. One of the most important thing you can do as a developer is to get a mentor that is interested in your growth and passionate about helping you become successful. In our career path, everyone has a role model right because I know I do. One thing I learned while finding ways I can improve and build my career is not only seeking physical mentorship, by the way, it is great to go for it if you can. But also by following the steps of my role models. Who do you look up to in the industry? Find out how they started their journey what worked for them and what did not. This is in actual fact a great way to learn because you won’t be making obvious mistakes because you’ve learned from mistakes from others. So really pick what works best for you in this case, a mentor that can check up on you from time to time and see how you’ve improved or follow the steps of the leaders in your field. If you’re up to it you can do both and that is great.
I want to share advice regarding your career and I think this is a great way to do it. I’ve always wanted to share with developers starting out what worked for me and how I think following in the same footsteps can be beneficial to others. So here we go.
Celebrate Your Small Wins: This is as important as every other thing you do, regardless of how small the progress you’ve made in your journey always learn to celebrate it. Doing this as often as possible makes you realize you’re not doing a terrible job after all and you’ll gain more confidence in your abilities which I think will make you want to do more and explore further possibilities.
Find Your Learning Style: Everyone learns differently, and I think finding out what method works for you earlier will influence how you learn over time. There are people who are more comfortable with traditional learning through bootcamps, others prefer watching videos tutorials and taking online courses or reading articles to grasp fundamental concepts. whichever method works for you, make it a habit and also stick to it as this will make your learning smooth and you avoid overwhelming yourself.
Don’t Be Afraid To Seek Help: A lot of people find it difficult to ask for help when they get stuck. I did too when I was starting out but I’ll say we should not be a victim and fall into the pit of having to figure everything out ourselves. Because it gets overwhelming as you’re learning and it is okay to ask for help and seek advice from more experienced developers and they’re a lot of ways this can be done. i.e Stack Overflow, Forums, Community Slack Groups, and mentors can be of help when you get stuck and need answers.
Learn By Doing: This is as important as other advice I’ve given, I think this is very relevant when you’re starting out. Learning by doing here means you’re not just watching that youtube video or reading that article on CSS Grid, but you’re also practicing what you’re learning because, to be honest, that is the most efficient way to learn. When you learn a new concept and you go ahead to tinker with the code I think you’ll have that knowledge stick as compared to just reading that article or watching that course. Always remember to try out what you just learned, improve on it and even go ahead and build your own based on what you’ve learned.
In this article, I outlined ways new developers can break into the tech industry and also sustainably build their career. My takeaway from my years in tech and what I think should be general knowledge to everyone is that you never stop learning as a software developer. This journey of building your career never ends because you have to continue sustaining what you’ve built and in this ever-changing industry we are in, the only way to do it by staying abreast with the technologies you work with and look for means to gain new knowledge as time goes on. Once you know this and understand it then you are going to do well regardless of your chosen career path.