Plenty of companies are on the hunt for software developers. So, what are the secrets to software developer success?
If you want to be a software developer, you won’t be stuck for company choices. Many of the biggest companies are looking for software developers.
So, how exactly can you map out a successful career as a software developer? What do you need to know when you’re just starting out?
We gleaned a number of tips for someone who wants to be a software developer from those who have walked the path before.
Ronan O’Dulaing is the vice-president of engineering at Globoforce. He said a passion for problem-solving is critical to a successful career in software development. “You could start by practising coding simple programs every day,” he said.
He also suggested attending meet-ups if you want to pursue a career. “They’ll give you a broad understanding on a range of technology topics, give you a great opportunity to speak to people [and] help you determine where to best employ the skills you’ve acquired.”
William Ho is an innovation software engineer at EY. He said someone at the very beginning of their career should try out and learn about as many different languages as they can, as having a niche skillset can limit future career prospects.
“In terms of languages, it all depends on your field of interest. If you were looking at web development, you might look at perhaps a .NET language or PHP; if it’s native mobile, it would be Android or Swift; object-oriented programming, it could be anything from Java, Python, Ruby to C++ etc,” he said.
“In terms of career prospects, having an understanding of a mixture of some of the above would put you in a very strong position.”
As with every job, there’s a learning curve. As you progress, you will improve your skills. When it comes to software development, Zendesk developer Jose Narvaez said your goal should be to make it work, make it correct and make it fast – in that order.
“In other words, start with simple solutions, adding the edge cases after you prove the simpler solution works. Once you have confirmed the results are correct for all of your inputs, proceed to measure performance and, only then, optimise accordingly.”
Deloitte’s Alan Jue Liu believes it is important for someone who wants to be a software developer to understand what software is there for. “It is to make people’s job easier, to allow people to do more,” he said.
“When designing software, tackle complexity by distillation and tackle simplicity by thinking holistically. Design better software by always focusing on the needs of your users who will use, maintain, deploy and interact with your software.”
When it comes to software development, upskilling, self-learning and personal development are major parts of your career. According to Donal Byrne, a software developer at Jaguar Land Rover, you need to be aggressive about your own learning.
“Getting good grades in a relevant degree isn’t enough. Go out and start building real pieces of software. Take what you have learned and apply it,” he said.
“Being able to do your own independent study/research and then implement it in a real project is by far the best way to improve and display your skills.”
Steven O’Kennedy, a technology architecture lead in Accenture, said it’s important for a software developer to know that it’s not their job to write code, it’s their job to find answers to problems.
“As a developer, understanding when to use technologies or techniques, knowing which are best for what, and knowing what the trade-offs are will make you a better developer, more valuable to your team and more confident in your decisions,” he said.
“Don’t be a technology fundamentalist who always tries to fit the problem to the tool they know. Just because your favourite technology/technique can fix a problem does not mean that it’s the right one to use!”