The Self-Taught Developer’s Guide On How to Code on Their Own

Step 1: Pick a niche

When choosing what to excel in, remember the adage “If you want to succeed, limit yourself.” There are many skills that recruiters are hiring for and these trends will stay for a while. Trying to learn everything at once will only overwhelm you. So, start by getting an overview of what software programming involves. Understand what a backend engineer’s life looks like versus what a blockchain developer does daily. If you have an interest in a particular field, say fintech or gaming, then factor that in, too.

Step 2: Find online resources

There are a host of resources online that suit every style. If you’re a complete beginner, you can try out sites that offer introductory courses. CodeSchool and Treehouse are good examples of interactive websites. You can also find many YouTube ‘learn to code’ tutorials if learning through videos is your preferred mode.

Step 3: Build, break, build again

There is a ‘tutorial hell’ reserved for those developers who get stuck in the ‘learning’ phase and forget to translate that expertise into experience. A developer is only as good as their code, so try to iterate along with learning. Always remember to keep a repository of your builds on GitHub or similar platforms. A good way to practice is to add new features to your project after learning a new module.

Step 4: Practice for interviews

Once you have gained suitable mastery over your chosen language or tech stack, it’s time to look for a job. You can choose to freelance or find a full-time job. For either, you will need to showcase your coding skills and some other ‘softer’ skills.

Step 5: Read, learn, and network

Software development is a rapidly shifting landscape. The only way to hold your own is to always stay ahead of the curve. I recommend reading and following tech blogs from the best brands (the Netflix tech blog is one name that pops to mind).

In conclusion

The pandemic has brought skills into sharp focus, and recruiters and tech managers are looking for talented developers at a rapid scale. Expertise has started to truly trump other traditional hiring criteria like academic pedigree, and previous experience. If ever there was a time for self-taught developers to come out of the woodwork and grab their moment in the sun, this would be it.

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