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How to start a career in coding

Blog, Bruntwood SciTech,
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With competitive salaries, high job satisfaction and the opportunities to work at the heart of some of the most exciting tech companies in the world, starting a coding career is a decision brimming with plus points.

It is undoubtedly a lucrative and rewarding career…so why aren’t more people interested in programming careers? With a global shortage of software engineers, there has never been a better time to start upon the coding career path – and that’s where we come in.

In celebration of National Coding Week, a week dedicated to inspiring the next generation of programmers and championing the talent in the industry, we wanted to provide some top tips to set you on the path to a successful coding career.

Continue reading, below, to find out how to start a programming career.

1.  Research the reality

Before you start scoping out salaries and bookmarking video tutorials, you need to ask yourself one very important question: are you suited to a programming career?

We’re not talking about the idealised programmers seen in TV shows and films but the realities of coding jobs that you may not have previously considered. For example, while it’s a given that coders are computer whizzes, did you know they must also possess flawless communication skills to explain complex concepts to non-coders?

To ensure your skillset and talents are suited to a coding career, browse job descriptions on recruitment websites. These helpful guides tell you everything you need to succeed – and potentially highlight the required abilities you perhaps do not possess.

2.  Choose a coding discipline

Once you’re satisfied that you’re suited to a programming career, the next step is to choose the programming path you want to take: front-end or back-end development?

Front-end coding jobs are all about bringing the visual elements of an app or website to life and improving the user experience. This includes creating features such as animated banners, navigation tools and interactive buttons.

In contrast, back-end coding careers are focused on all the elements of a website or app that users cannot see. Also known as the server side, your job as a back-end coder is to ensure the website is running as smoothly as possible, typically achieved through troubleshooting, data-based management and, of course, creating code.

While both concern coding, front-end and back-end development are two very different disciplines that require different skills to succeed. Pick the path best suited to you.

3.  Learn your trade

With the difficult decision out of the way, you’re free to throw yourself whole-heartedly into learning everything about your intended software developer career path.

For many, this involves studying an undergraduate degree at university. However, this academic route is just one of many ways to train yourself up for a coding job – you could also apply for an apprenticeship. Ada, the National College for Digital Skills, for example, offers programmes that help to bridge the gap between education and industry, improving both your theoretical and practical understanding.

There are also free or cheap coding courses online to whet your appetite, if you want a little taster of programmer concepts first. From there, you can then book onto longer, more expensive programming courses to expand your knowledge. If you are re-training or switching careers, then consider taking coding courses with Northcoders, which offer specialist bootcamps for those looking for a completely new challenge.

4.  Start a personal coding project

Itching to put your new-found coding skills to the test but still waiting to hear from job applications? Consider starting a personal coding project.

Don’t worry, you don’t need to build an ambitious app from scratch (although feel free to spread your wings). Creating smaller, bite-sized projects, such as Twitter bots, blogs or even meme generators, are just as conducive for your programmer career path.

Plus, not only do these personal projects allow you to experiment and learn more about your skills, but potential employers are also very impressed with candidates who show the passion for a coding career in their spare time.

5.  Network with other coders

Just because you might not yet be sat in an office full of other coders five days a week, that doesn’t mean you can’t immerse yourself in the coding culture.

Join coding forums, follow coders on social media or just reach out to established coders in the industry. You can also join digital membership groups, such as Manchester Digital and Women in Leeds Digital (WiLD), to find more like-minded individuals to talk all things coding. Just think of these resources as bottomless wells of knowledge that are
just waiting to be tapped for advice.

You could even ask these contacts for feedback on your latest personal project, which could offer perspectives that you would never have previously considered. If nothing else, these interactions will help improve your coding vocabulary, which will come in handy for any interviews.

Need a professional workspace to jump start your coding career? Here at Bruntwood SciTech, we offer flexible and affordable office space to the science and tech sector. Take
a look here to find your
local Bruntwood SciTech location.

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