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How to become a coder

It’s a common myth that you need to have a Computer Science degree or been programming since you were 10 to become a coder. Thankfully, with widening skills gaps in the industry there are plenty of opportunities to join the exciting world of technology.

Here are some of the key things to remember if you’re working towards a career in coding:

1. Research the area that interests you most

Perhaps you fantasize about designing your own mobile apps? Or maybe the idea of protecting companies from cybercrime excites you?

  • Search job sites for roles to see what they entail
  • Read blogs on coding fields (Medium is a great place to search for these!)
  • Chat to people working in those fields (see point 5)

Once you’ve found an area that you think you’d enjoy working in, research the skills you’ll need to enter it. Which languages are employers looking for? Which skills are in demand? How did other professionals get started?

Employers want someone who is enthusiastic about their field, so picking an area you’re passionate about will boost your chances of landing that role.

2. Practice… and then practice some more!

Learning to code is like learning a new language – if you want to become fluent, you need to keep at it! The key to success in the world of programming is persistence.

Set aside some time each week to practice your skills, and don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. You’re not going to become perfect overnight!

3. Put together a portfolio

Showcase your work to potential employers! Developing a series of projects – such as websites or apps – is the ideal way to prove you have the skills they need.

As well as working on your own projects, you can also benefit from joining forces with other coders and building programmes together. GitHub is the perfect place to find an open-source project to join and many employers expect you to be a member.

4. Read other people’s code

Have a look through GitHub (see above) and try to understand how other people code. Work out how their projects are put together and reverse engineer them to learn how to create more advanced programmes of your own.

5. Join a community

Learning to code can be tough, which is why finding a group of like-minded people can make a huge difference. If you get stuck or don’t understand something, this support network will soon set you back on the right path.

You could choose to find a group in your local area through Meetup or head to a virtual community like Stack Overflow or Coding Forums.

6. Find some work experience

When we think of work experience the image of spotty sixteen-year-olds making tea comes to mind. But there is no age limit to going to try out a job. In fact, it not only shows that you’re serious about making a career change but can also be the perfect opportunity to network.

Find companies you admire and contact their HR Department on the phone or via LinkedIn. Tell them about your experience and your motivation for wanting to learn. 

7. Keep up to date

In such a fast-moving field, it’s essential to embrace lifelong learning. Keep in touch with other coders and professionals, and sign up to industry updates from sites such as Slashdot and CNet. This will ensure you never fall behind on the key trends affecting your work.

If you're considering a career change, we have developed a series of helpful articles for career changers:

Get a head start

Did you know you can study to be a Full Stack Developer online through e-Careers? Our Diploma in Full Stack Development is a university accredited course that covers all popular coding languages and provides you with a dedicated mentor. Plus, you’ll finish with a portfolio of work you can take to employers.

Call us on +44 (0) 20 3198 7700 to speak to one of our Career Consultants today, to discuss your career goals or get started.

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