Choosing a Career in Software Development

Choosing a Career in Software Development

Choosing a career in software development can be very rewarding, both financially and creatively.  Software developers are in high demand and that trend is bound to continue as the world becomes even more connected.  If you aren’t sure how to kick start your career then let me show you how you can become a software developer. 

Be Interested in Computers

Today everybody uses computers and smartphone and a host of other programs.  While you may use these programs regularly you need more of an interest then that, you need a natural desire to see how these programs work.  Do you want to know how programs work and how you can make them better?

Get an Education

There are many who are naturally gifted when it comes to computers and you can teach yourself a great deal but it won’t qualify you to work to work anywhere.  You are going to need some type of certification or formal education.  Depending on where you live there are different course options open to you, be it university, community college or a technology school.

Try an Internship

There are plenty of software development companies offer some type of internship.  This is where you get hands on experience and potentially get your foot in the door where there may be a job when you graduate.  Internships are often done through the school or you can look for companies near you that offer them.  Bear in mind that internships often don’t pay salaries or very small ones they are considered part of your education.  Here is how to land a great internship.

Job Hunting

Once you have finished your education then it is time to job hunt, you need to start by polishing off your resume.  Make sure that you include any and all relevant experience that you have in the field.  Do you have references from your internship, and then include those too.  Your resume is going to be the first thing a potential employer sees so make sure that it is well written and you have the following included.

  • Contact details so employers can reach you, include both phone numbers and email address
  • What area have you specialized in, what qualifications do you have and make sure you put some links in to an online portfolio
  • Former work experience

Check not only online sites like Monster but with individual companies as well, many will list job listing on their websites.  Don’t forget to check with the contacts that you already have to see who is hiring.  When it comes to IT jobs networking can be a great place to make contacts with potential employers as well.   

3 Considerations Before Going Freelance

3 Considerations Before Going Freelance

As the world becomes even more automated the demand for software developers is going to continue to rise.  Smaller business can’t afford to have their own in-house IT departments; it’s too expensive and often so is hiring a big company to build you some custom software.  This is the sweet spot where a freelancer can succeed.  If you have some good skills and you have the ability to market your skills then freelancing may be ideal for you.  However, here are 3 considerations before going freelance.

Working Alone is Hard

When you work freelance you are probably going to be working from home, you are solely responsible for everything.  Not only are you responsible for the job of developing software but you will be managing your own projects and you will spend a fair bit of time looking for new clients.  That may sound pretty exciting in the beginning but it is really easy to get bored with certain tasks and you have no one to bounce ideas off of.  The other thing to bear in mind that good programmers don’t always make the best marketers and finding new clients may be harder than you think. 

Lack of Help

When you work with a software development company there are always people around to help you should you need it.  When you freelance that safety net is gone, you are going to have to be able to tackle almost any kind of problem on your own.  Solutions to problems are your responsibility alone, so you better know how to use Google and software development forums effectively.

Lack of Consistent Income

You are now a business owner and when it comes to business, cash is definitely the king.  You need to be able to support yourself and pay for the tools that you need to run your business.  There is a lot of money to be made as a freelancer but it doesn’t come overnight so be prepared for some pretty lean months in the beginning.  You need to have enough cash on hand to support yourself until you consistently generate more.  Money will fluctuate a great deal when you work for yourself, having a lucrative June in no way guarantees that July will be successful. 

Freelance software development can be a rewarding and lucrative career path.  Before you hand in your notice take the time to decide that freelance work is right for you, it is not for everyone.  You need to be very comfortable with being self-reliant and treat this like any other business.  I would recommend that you don’t even consider leaving your job until you have a method to get new clients and a pipeline set up to market your services.