Computer programming, or simply programming , is among the most in-demand and sought-after skills as technology is driving the world. Every digital device we use, from mobile phones and applications installed on them to smart wearables and automated cars, programmers make them operable. So, we can say that programmers are digital architects.
For many, programming may seem fun; however, it is a challenging skill to develop. Also, developing programming skills is time-consuming. But, once you master the skills and land a job as a programmer, you will unequivocally feel like the time you invested was worthwhile.
The conventional path to becoming a programmer is pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree in computer science (CS), information technology (IT), or any other related discipline. However, people with limited budget, time, and resources for full-time study, opt for another path, i.e., enrolling in an online course or a Bootcamp. Platforms such as Udemy, Coursera, codecademy, LinkedIn learning, etc., offer a wide variety of free as well as courses to learn programming .
Are you from a non-technical background? Or want to switch your current job and are interested in becoming a programmer? This article is for you.
This blog post is a complete guide on how to become a computer programmer. Also, we shall have a brief discussion on what does a computer programmer do.
So, let us start our discussion!
What is a Computer Programmer?
A computer programmer, or simply programmer , is a skilled professional who has proficiency in writing, testing, debugging, and maintaining computer programs , which are a sequence of instructions fed to computer systems. They leverage high-level programming languages, such as C++, Python, Java, and others, to transform program designs into a set of instructions computer systems need to follow.
The term ‘programmer’ is a generalized one. A programmer is a coder, developer, or engineer. More precisely, a computer programmer is a term we can use to refer to software developers, mobile application developers, web developers, software analysts, and so on.
So, the roles and responsibilities of a programmer entirely depend on the job title. For example, software developers are in charge of taking designs from system architects and converting them into a set of sequential instructions using programming languages . On the flip side, a web developer is a type of programmer responsible for designing and creating websites and web applications.
Nevertheless, here are some common duties of every type of programmer:
- Write and test the source code of new computer programs.
- Update and optimize existing computer programs.
- Identify and fix errors in computer programs.
- Write computer programs for different platforms.
- Implement security standards to protect computer programs against cyber threats .
How To Become A Programmer? A Complete Guide
The field of programming is very exciting that brings challenges every day to programmers through which they hone their skills and gain new knowledge. Along with professional growth, the programming domain is rewarding financially. Also, it is flexible as it lets you choose either to work in an organization or be a freelance programmer offering services on demand. With all these benefits, many students and non-tech professionals are paving their way toward a programming career.
Becoming a programmer is pretty challenging as you need to develop a wide variety of skills. Hence, it is a time-consuming process. However, you can ease the process if you follow the right path, have the right resources, and possess strong will and determination.
Here is a complete guide on how to be a programmer. Though the below one is not an easy way to become a programmer, it can serve as a general outline for you. To become a successful programmer, you need to take an effort each and every day to build new abilities and hone the existing ones.
1. Know why you want to Start Programming
The very first thing you need to think of is why you want to become a programmer. Do you possess any idea that you want to turn into something real? or Is it just that you want to learn to program because it is trendy and cool?
You need to consider these questions because the programming languages you need to choose depends on the answers to these questions.
If you are building your career in programming because it is trending, you can opt to learn trending programming languages. Otherwise, you need to choose the languages your idea requires to come to life.
Furthermore, if you really like to code, are strategically minded, and enjoy solving problems, you can undoubtedly go with programming.
2. Decide Your Field you Want to Specialize
As discussed earlier, a programmer is an umbrella term that entails a variety of job titles, like software developer, software engineer, web developer, and so on.
Now, there comes another question you need to ask yourself. What kind of programmer do you want to become - a web developer, data scientist, software engineer, AI engineer, system engineer, or something else?
This is the primary decision you need to make before starting your learning journey to becoming a programmer. The reason is you need to learn programming languages and other technologies in accordance with the professional title you choose.
Let us explore some popular types of programmers below.
Web developers specialize in designing and developing responsive websites and web applications. However, a web application or website has the front-end and back-end.
Individuals having proficiency in creating the front-end or user interface of web applications are front-end developers. Back-end developers, on the other hand, are professionals who write business logic, manage data, and make the front end of a web application operable.
There are developers who can do both creating the front-end and back-end of web applications. They are referred to as full-stack developers.
Check out: How to Become a Web Developer?
Software developers are skilled individuals who write, test, run, and debug source code to create top-notch software applications. They leverage different programming languages and other technologies, like libraries, IDEs, frameworks, etc., to build a variety of software applications.
Check out: How to Become a Software Developer?
A data scientist is a professional who is proficient at collecting, analyzing, and interpreting vast volumes of data to uncover hidden patterns and meaningful insights that can aid business decisions.
You can think of becoming a data scientist if you enjoy researching and analyzing and love mathematics and statistics.
Check out: How to Become a Data Scientist?
Mobile App Developer
A mobile app developer is a programmer who designs, builds, tests, deploys, and maintains mobile applications. As there is a lot of demand for mobile applications, becoming a mobile app developer would definitely be advantageous.
Check out: How to Become a Mobile App Developer?
A database administrator is an information technician in charge of performing all the activities required to upkeep a secure and healthy database environment. They ensure that all databases and associated applications within an organization function correctly.
3. Learn Programming Languages
After deciding on what type of programmer you want to become, the next step is to learn and champion programming languages associated with that programming role.
Here are some popular programming languages that you can choose to learn based on your career:
Python is a general-purpose programming language used for software development, web development, data visualization, data analysis, and task automation. So, if you want to become a software developer, web developer, or data scientist, you can choose to learn Python.
HTML and CSS are both essential languages for front-end web developers. While HTML is a markup language for creating the structure of web pages, CSS is a style sheet language to style HTML web pages. Together, HTML and CSS, make web pages more presentable and appealing.
Another language that web developers must be proficient in is Ruby. It is a full-stack web development language. Besides creating web applications, you can use Ruby for data processing, web scraping , crawling, and creating servers.
SQL is a must-have skill for every developer and data professional. It is a structured query language for storing and manipulating data in relational databases. So, this language helps you manage data of your applications and websites easily.
Like Python, Java is also a general-purpose, versatile programming language. It is used for creating an array of software applications, such as GUI-based desktop applications, web applications, mobile applications, embedded systems, and so on.
If you are planning to become a mobile app developer or back-end web developer, you must learn Java programming.
Check out: What is Java Used for?
If you wish to become a blockchain developer, Solidity is a go-to language to learn. It is an object-oriented, high-level programming language for developing smart contracts .
4. Practice, Practice, and More Practice
Once you choose your programming language, the learning process begins. Start with the fundamentals of the language, such as the syntax, data structures, data types, etc. After you learn the basics of the language, try writing simple programs to master those concepts.
Further, move on to advanced concepts, such as file handling, exception handling, etc. Similarly, practice these concepts as well by writing small programs.
Besides the programming language, you need an in-depth understanding of databases, operating systems, text editors, IDEs , frameworks, libraries, version control systems, and other development tools.
After you learn everything you need to create software applications or web applications, try creating a few simple projects to understand the concepts practically. Later, shift to developing complex projects or you can simply convert your raw idea into reality through a software solution.
5. Build a Portfolio of Work
When you develop projects for practicing, collect all those projects and create a portfolio of them to demonstrate your skills to employers. Make sure to add every small project you created.
Having a good portfolio can increase your chances of getting hired as it showcases your practical knowledge and command over different technologies you used while creating projects.
Along with a portfolio, make sure to keep your resume updated. Add any certification or course you took while learning or practicing. You can add achievements related to the job role you are applying for. In addition, make sure to mention only those skills that you excel in.
6. Apply For Jobs
Once you are done with a portfolio and resume, you are all ready to apply for job positions. Start applying for entry-level positions through various job portals, like LinkedIn, Indeed, etc.
While you wait to get a response from employers after applying for jobs, you can prepare for interviews. Keep practicing and revising concepts. Also, you can opt to appear for mock interviews. If you don't have prior experience appearing for an interview, you should definitely go with mock interviews first.
In addition, you will find a plethora of resources on interview questions that you can expect in your interview for the job role you are applying for.
Check out: Top Programming Interview Questions
Along with all these, you can even take up a few freelance projects to enhance your skills and make sure that your knowledge does not get rusty.
Computer Programmer Salary and Job Outlooks
As the need for digital solutions is increasing, the demand for computer programmers is increasing. So, when you acquire all the essential programming skills, you open up yourself to a lot of career opportunities. Not only in the IT industry but also computer programmers play a vital role in other industry verticals that use software solutions to streamline their operations.
Computer programmers are among the top professionals who receive the highest salaries. Here are the numbers to support this fact.
The following table provides insights into the average salaries of computer programmers in India and other countries:
Average Salary Per Annum
The United Kingdom
Here we have approached the end of our guide on how to become a computer programmer. Though it is a long process and requires a lot of effort, it is worthwhile as you get to learn new technologies and hone your skills constantly.
Any specialization you choose in programming brings benefits both in terms of skill growth and financial growth. You just need to make the right and wise decision in choosing the specialty. While doing so, prioritize your interest.
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