How learning to program can change your life

Software developers are in high demand in the job market and are well paid, but how do you get into that industry?

For Hannah Blair, going into the technology business was complicated.

She attended a girls ‘school that did not offer the computer and programming course she wanted, although the boys’ school offered the discipline.

“The girls’ school had computer science, while the boys’ school had a real computer course, even though both are under the same roof, so I moved to the boys’ school to do this,” says Hannah.

Her determination paid off and she graduated in Computer Science from the University of Surrey (England) in 2018.

The young woman got a spot in the graduate program at the German bank Deutsche Bank and has since worked with startups as an independent developer. Currently, she works as a senior developer on the Hopin virtual events platform.

It was a smart career choice, as software development is an industry with many opportunities.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the United States Department of Labor Statistics, predicts a job growth rate of 22% for these developers between 2019 and 2029, compared to 4% for other occupations.

And wages are good. According to the pay comparison website PayScale, the average salary for a developer is about $ 80,000 (about $ 450,000) a year.

Career change

Carl Mungazi studied journalism and worked as a reporter in Luton, England, for four years, before becoming a developer in 2016.

Carl Mungazi left journalism to study programming

Image: Carl Mungazi

His desire to pursue the profession resulted from his desire to build a local news aggregator, something he had already seen in national publications.

“Basically, I wanted to find a way to track the news published in Luton,” says Mungazi.

A developer friend helped him build the “back-end”, the technology needed to achieve his goal, and Mungazi learned to use Javascript, a programming language to build websites.

The choice of which computer language to actually learn depends on what you want to do.

Python is a powerful general-purpose language and is often the first language taught to university students on computer courses.

Is it widely used in business? YouTube, for example, is largely written in Python.

Ruby is another versatile language, popular with startups.

Os “bootcamps”

Regardless of the language a novice programmer chooses, there are vast resources online to help self-learners. In his case, Mungazi says the freecodecamp.org website was particularly useful for him.

Another popular option is to attend a bootcamp (training center), which is of great help for those who change careers. Many of them have emerged in recent years, offering intensive courses designed to teach participants the skills necessary to get their first job in this sector.

Brenden Thornton chose this path, enrolling in a course offered by the Flatiron School, when he chose to stop being an NBA (professional basketball league) cameraman in the United States.

Brenden Thornton says the professional advice he received at the bootcamp he attended is invaluable - Brenden Thornton - Brenden Thornton

Brenden Thornton says the professional advice he received at the bootcamp he attended is invaluable

Image: Brenden Thornton

“A great advantage of going to a bootcamp is having a customized curriculum for you. I did not have to make conjectures when deciding which technologies to learn and how I would learn them myself”, he says.

The support that comes with participating in these bootcamps was also critical to your decision.

“They really take the time to build a support team around them, not only through job opportunities, but also through career consultants who help you navigate the job search process.”

A disadvantage of bootcamps is that they can be time-consuming and prohibitively expensive for many. Many courses exceed US $ 10,000 (R $ 57,000).

A partial grant helped ease some of Thornton’s financial burden, but he still had a tiring schedule.

His Monday to Friday routine consisted of waking up at 5 am to work on Uber and Lyft until 9 am. So, I studied until 4pm and then went back to work on the ride apps until 9pm.

Skills

Regardless of which path you choose to follow in programming, it is essential to ensure that so-called soft skills (or behavioral skills) are not neglected.

In face-to-face courses, skills in addition to programming and computer science are learned - Flatiron School - Flatiron School

In classroom courses, skills in addition to programming and computer science are learned

Imagem: Flatiron School

“The skills that employers look for are often more than technical,” according to Barry Cranford, CEO of recruitment firm RecWorks.

“The main thing that really makes a difference is whether you can put them into practice as part of a team.”

Having a public profile to highlight your work can also help when applying for jobs.

The online platform Github is particularly popular with employers. “It’s like a portfolio of photographs, you can dive into it and see what people have done,” says Barry Cranford.

Finding a mentor who supports you is another element that can give you a boost, he says, and can be a “secret weapon” for your career.

Professional networks

As with many sectors, networking (professional networking) can also help to build those crucial first contacts.

“Attending any meeting can greatly increase your chances of getting a job,” says Thornton.

However, the challenges of getting your first job should not be underestimated, especially for those who are changing careers.

Hannah Blair had to transfer to a boys-only school to study computers - Hannah Blair - Hannah Blair

Hannah Blair had to transfer to a boys only school to study computers

Image: Hannah Blair

It took Carl Mungazi 14 months to get his first job, as he faced a problem common to many candidates.

“One of the interviewers told me that he had a proposal, but they wanted me to gain more experience.”

Ultimately, whatever path you take in this industry, you must demonstrate a clear interest and passion for programming.

“It is a very challenging process that will really increase your mental stamina, but if you are able to move on, it will seriously change your life,” concludes Thornton.

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