How to Become a Computer Programmer
In our technology-driven world, computer programming is currently experiencing exponential expansion. Computer programmers are needed for everything; web design, mobile apps, and video games. The overall relevance and diverse career options make computer programming one of the most promising fields of the century.
Now you may be thinking; how can I learn computer programming and where can I build practical experience in this field to impress recruiters? Also, is it too late for me to learn to program?
Well, today is still a great time to learn computer programming because programming skills are in high demand by employers all around the world.
Before uncovering the steps to being a computer programmer, I need to explain who a programmer is and what he does.
A computer programmer is a person who writes codes that tells a computer or any other device what to do. More appropriately, a programmer creates computer software.
Careers in Computer Programming
- Web developers: these are further divided into front-end and back-end developers. Front-end programmers are responsible for writing the code that dictates a website’s physical features, content, and how the contents are represented. Back-end programmers write codes for apps and codes that provide a framework for the website to run.
- Software programmers: These types of programmers are responsible for creating software. They take a concept of how the software is supposed to function and write code to that effect.
- Data scientists: They usually work in research. They analyze and manipulate scientific data by using python. A data scientist must have prior knowledge in programming because; they often use code to make their job easier.
- Data Administrator: They take large amounts of computer data, analyze, organize and secure it. This type of programming particularly interests lovers of statistics and consumer data analysis.
- Mobile App Development: The demand for exciting new apps increases daily as smartphone users increase. This is thus, one of the most lucrative programming fields.
There are other fields/careers in computer programming. The above are just the most common fields. Now, let’s discuss the practical steps to becoming a computer programmer.
Steps to Becoming a Programmer
1. Understand the Role of a Computer Programmer
Do your research. Understand what being a programmer entails, and list the resources you need. Read write-ups on; “what you should know about programmers”. Read up on great pieces by programmers. Source for programmers that are good at what they do, let them serve as a guide to you. You can find these working programmers on social media platforms and at professional events. Ask questions about the field you are going to explore soon. Attend programmers’ meet-ups and conferences. This would help you gather enough information about the role.
2. Decide what Field you want to go into
Decide what type of programmer you want to become. A lot of working programmers specialize. The different fields/careers in programming require a different sets of skills. It is important that you make up your mind on your speciality because; this would determine what type of training you need.
3. Decide which Training is right for you
After you have chosen the type of programmer you want to be, next in line is to decide which training method is best for you. Some people learn better in classes, while others prefer online lessons. The options to explore when it comes to training are;
- Technical institute.
- Online degrees.
- Teaching yourself with the help of the internet.
4. Choose a Degree and Major
A well-rounded background, especially education-wise, is crucial to your success in any computer programming field. You need to consider your goals and decide how much you would be putting into achieving your goals. You can decide to have an associate, bachelor’s degree or master’s. In addition, you should consider adding a minor to the specific major you have chosen to help supplement your education with additional skills. Some great choices are; programming development, information systems, computer science, information technology and information security. Complementary minors include; mathematics, electrical or computer engineering and business.
5. Learn Programming Languages and Technology
Once you are settled on a programming field and the means of training, it is important to learn relevant programming languages. For example; you will need to learn SQL to become a database administrator. Some of the most popular programming languages are;
I advise you to research to ensure that you are learning the right languages for the field you want to enter.
6. Get an Internship
Getting an internship is important in building your programming experience and helping you succeed in the job market. A lot of internship programs are unpaid, but this shouldn’t discourage you. Internships are important in building a network, strengthening your resume and building confidence in your programming abilities. It is also important to learn specific programming languages used in certain industries. Getting internships in a tech-based company specialising in web development or smartphone apps is always preferable to internships in non-tech companies like banks because you can learn more from a programming company.
7. Apply for Jobs
After learning to program, do not be afraid to seek jobs. It would help you gain experience, develop your programming skills and build a network. It also teaches you how programming is done in the company you would be working for.
8. Build a Portfolio
It is important to develop some early job experience in addition to the internship programs. High-paying jobs usually require a long period of work experience. You need a portfolio so recruiters can review your work, see evidence of your skills, and assess your commitment. Building your portfolio can be achieved by working on your own projects or internships.
9. Practice, Practice, Practice
No knowledge is a waste. Try out new ideas every day. See what works and what doesn’t. Doing this would keep you on your toes in the programming world.
10. Keep learning and Stay up to date
The world of computers and programming is in a state of rapid change. To ensure a long-lasting, prosperous career in programming, it is important to keep learning and keep up with the trends and development.
Computer programming is a very interesting field; it is basically the reason your computer works the way it does, why your favorite game app plays that song you love so much when the game comes up, not excluding the many areas of speciality it offers. With people demanding the services of programmers every day, you are extra sure of getting programming jobs if you put in the work into becoming a good programmer because your success in this field depends on how much work you are willing to put into developing the needed skills. Remember, it is advisable to pick an area to specialize in, programming is a large field. You can’t do everything yourself.
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