How to become a Developer


Becoming a developer is one of the hottest career paths you can take up right now. With software and technology eating up the world, app and web development are highly sought-after skills, in fact, there is a severe shortage of developers globally.  So, if you’re looking for an exciting, flexible and financially rewarding career path, becoming a developer is definitely worth pursuing. But how do you go about it? Read on to find out more...

Step 1: Decide on what type of developer you want to be

The first step to becoming a developer in Australia is to do your research. There are several different pathways that you can take, and it’s important to find the one that’s right for you. For example, you can focus on web development, app development, or hardware development. You can even specialise in different sub-domains like accessibility, security and API coding. There are many disciplines you can choose from, and it pays to speak to people already in the industry to get a feel for the jobs in the market. Once you have identified your areas of interest, you can further refine the steps you need to take to pursue that profession.

Step 2: Build up your skills

There are plenty of great options when it comes to studying software or web development - from basic training courses to undergraduate degrees and even postgraduate qualifications. It pays to do your research and find a course that suits your needs and interests best. Most developers will complete a degree in Computer Science at a major University. If you want to follow a non-traditional but still very popular pathway, another way to build your skills is by taking short courses or attending seminars that can help you develop specific skills that will be useful for developers in Australia. For example, there are plenty of coding bootcamps offered by providers such as General Assembly or Le Wagon, that can give you a crash course on programming languages like HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React and more. No matter what route you choose, having the right knowledge is key to success as a developer.

Step 3: Create a portfolio that shines

Once you have the necessary qualifications under your belt, the next step is to start building up your portfolio. This means creating projects that showcase your skills as a developer and demonstrate why companies should hire you over other candidates. It’s also important to start expanding your professional network by joining relevant groups online or attending industry events where you can meet potential employers and make valuable contacts in the field. Remember, your website is your shop front, so if your website itself doesn’t show off your skills, potential clients will be put off. So, make sure it’s well designed, the navigation is easy to use, and information is laid out neatly.

Step 4: Do a development internship

You can augment your training and education by doing an internship with a company that specialises in software development. Could places to try can include startups, agencies and development consultancies. This will give you the opportunity to learn from experienced developers and gain valuable industry experience. Many companies offer internships on a part-time or full-time basis, so be sure to check with your potential employer about their requirements. In most cases, getting an internship is about being persistent and networking. If you go the extra mile to stand out, potential employees will notice.

Step 5: Register a business or do freelancing

Depending on your business or financial goals, you now need to decide whether you want to start a development agency, or just sell your own services as a freelancer. Both have their pros and cons, and it really comes down to you, your personal situation and whether you want to take on the extra burden (and financial reward) of building a company and hiring other staff. You may also find naturally that you transition from freelancing on your own, to creating a development agency as you build up more experience. It’s quite common for people to meet other developers when working together, and then decide to join forces. With developers highly sought after around the world, being a developer also means you can work remotely or from any city you want.

Step 6: Pitch for business

Once you’ve undertaken all the above steps, it’s time to start pitching for work. Identify businesses that need your skills and connect with them online or via networking events. There is no point targeting businesses that use a different tech stack or coding language than what you specialise in. Being targeted also allows you to personalise your pitch and put the maximum effort into getting the best deals available. At the start, you’ll likely need to pitch at a cheaper budget than you would once you have a track record but focus on winning the work when you are beginning and less on the amount you will earn. Once you have some clients, you’ll find that they will naturally refer you to other clients if you do good work. Once you nail the first few jobs, you should be well on track with your new business.

Step 7: Stay informed and attend meetups

Conferences, hackathons and meetups are great opportunities to network with other developers and learn about new technologies and trends. Events are held frequently in most major cities, and you can follow what's on by signing up for email updates. Corporates, government bodies and universities often host events throughout the year.  Keeping up with industry news and developments is another important way to stay ahead of the curve as a developer. There are many great sources of information online, so make sure to bookmark your favourites and check back regularly for new content.

Step 8:  Find a mentor and do some mentoring

Finding a mentor is another great way to accelerate your career as a developer. A mentor can provide guidance, advice, and support when you need it most. Many mentors are happy to help those who are just starting out in their careers, so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help. Once you have built up your experience, being a mentor is also a great way to stay in touch with new trends. Mentoring upcoming developers will keep you motivated and get you across the latest trends coming up through the industry.

Becoming a developer in Australia is an extremely popular path and with some dedication and savvy networking skills, you can build a very strong business. With developers in demand all around the world, you’ll be sure to have a service that people want. Make sure to get the right education first then focus on developing your portfolio and building up your network before starting to look for job opportunities. With enough effort and determination anyone can become a successful software or web developer.

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