Programming is a fantastic career path with huge potential for growth, and financial fulfilment. The field of software development is vast and fast-growing. There is no telling how many beginners enter the field annually. This implies that as a beginner in the field, you need to gear up and put yourself out there.
Programming encompasses a lot of fields which ultimately share one thing — code writing.
TAKE ON SIDE PROJECTS — I can’t stress this enough! Side projects allow you to get your hands dirty and apply all the things you have learnt. You can never be sure of how well you know something until you have put your knowledge to practice.
There are lots of projects to do, and I can assure you that they have probably been done before, so choose a project that agrees with your skill level, and add your flavour to it by making some tweaks and modifications. It could be a new feature, an innovative user experience or simply making provision for users to switch between a light and a dark theme.
One great thing about building side projects is that you can showcase them on your portfolio site.
Here is a great article to get you started — betterprogramming.pub
PUBLICISE YOUR PROGRESS AND JOURNEY — Your leverage for this is social media. Regularly, post about that new exciting project you just started working on, or a challenge you faced and how you remedied it.
This is also a way of providing accountability and documenting your journey.
HARNESS COMMUNITIES — Both online and offline— Communities serving as support systems can never be overemphasised. With a growing number of languages, tools, frameworks and libraries, communities give you the opportunity of connecting with people who share the same experience as you and have scaled through the challenge you may currently be faced with.
Some of the most prominent developer communities are —
BUILD A PORTFOLIO — Showcase your achievements, be it a side project you worked on, an internship you completed, or a contribution you made to an open source project, make sure it adds a star to your rank. A portfolio site to display all of this will surely make you stand out.
For beginners using a free hosting service like Heroku or Vercel is absolutely ok.
ATTEND MEETUPS — Meetups allow you to identify with your local community of developers as well as establish connections with people who might be instrumental to your career growth. Google DevFest is one of such meetups.
TAKE ON CODING CHALLENGES — Platforms like Frontendmentor provides you with a variety of UI challenges to take on, and on submission of the challenge, they grade your performance.
Similarly, platforms like Codility and Hackerank challenge you with problems to test your code functionality and performance.
LEARN ALGORITHM AND DATA STRUCTURE — I believe that if you only know one language, no matter how well you know it, you’re not a great programmer.
Programming languages and frameworks might differ in syntax and semantics, but concepts such as algorithms and data structure will always remain the same across languages and these concepts make you understand programming before understanding a language. That is to say that transitioning from one language to another might just be all about learning a new syntax.
GET CERTIFICATIONS — Enroll for online courses that earn you certifications and nano degrees on completion.
There are several fully funded scholarships that will reward you with certificates from platforms like Udacity and Coursera. Also, some online courses make provision for financial aid.
APPLY FOR JOBS — even when you are not ready or do not need them, still apply for jobs because it helps you understand the current industry requirements at an early stage, just as it helps you build your skills and experience with interviews.
In time you become well versed in writing compelling applications and going through the rigorous process some recruiters employ which usually involves applicants carrying out technical tasks.
Additionally, this affords you an opportunity to start receiving rejections, but you will not always get rejected!
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In a bid to curb the under-representation of the female gender in the tech ecosystem, the ecosystem has become more welcoming to women by offering opportunities exclusive to women such as trainings and scholarships, and opportunities. Seize every opportunity you find, if you are female.