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Want to become a developer? Here are some simple but essential steps

Skilled developers are some of the most sought-after candidates in the Irish jobs market.

THE NEW YEAR is the perfect time to reevaluate your career goals, set objectives for the next 12 months and think about how you want to do things differently. With increased automation replacing more and more elements of work it’s never been a better time to look at ways to upskill and retrain.

If you’re looking for a career pivot, you don’t need to look further than the tech sector for an in-demand and exciting new role. In Information and Communications Technology alone, Ireland employs over 37,000 people and generates €35billion in exports every year.

Skilled developers and programmers are some of the most sought after candidates in tech with demand for skilled talent continuing to outstrip supply in 2018. The average salary for a web developer in Ireland is €32,000 and around £25,000 in the UK.

Think a career in development could be for you? This is how to become a developer.

Learn a language

There’s no ‘best’ language to learn when it comes to web development, in fact each language serves its own purpose and you’ll often need knowledge of a number of languages to complete a project. For example, Javascript is a front-end language while PHP is used for back-end development. The most popular programming languages are SQL, Javascript, Java, C# and Python.

As well as getting to grips with the fundamentals, work on side projects to sharpen your skills and build a portfolio to show potential employers. Even if you don’t have a huge amount of relevant employment experience, hiring managers will be impressed with your passion and dedication to developing your technical abilities.

Stay current

Being a developer requires a constant desire to learn and stay on top of industry trends. Technology changes so quickly that you need to invest the time into researching the latest industry developments, attending conferences and following development news and updates.

A never-stop-learning attitude is key as you’ll need to constantly train and retrain in the latest programming languages and new versions of existing ones.

Read other people’s code

Open source projects where people from different disciplines work on a project together are a really valuable way to learn from your peers. You don’t have to be an expert coder to get involved in building software on sites like Github. There are a number of non programming roles such as testing or reporting bugs that play a valuable role and look impressive on your CV.

Grow your network

There’s a huge benefit to being part of a community of developers and other techies. For one you can share interesting insights, learn from one another and even hear about upcoming job opportunities. Stack Overflow is the world’s largest development community and hosts a number of interesting Q&As and discussions about relevant industry topics.

Attend meetups and tech events where you can get to know potential colleagues, employers, mentors and even clients. If you’re not into face-to-face networking, use sites like LinkedIn to connect with people you admire in development.

Build your interview skills

Learning the craft is only half the battle, to actually get a job as a developer you need to be able to convince a hiring manager you’re the right person for the role. Read up on the most common interview questions and prepare your answers beforehand to ensure you’re hitting the most relevant points.

After unsuccessful interviews be gracious in rejection, ask for feedback and leave the door open for future opportunities.

Work at a startup

A startup is a great place to develop your technical abilities and soft skills. You’re given a lot of autonomy over your work in comparison to at a larger corporation, and you get to see first-hand the impact your work has on the larger business.

As well as that, because there are less rigid structures and processes in a startup you get to improve your communication and collaboration skills.

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About the author:

Aoife Geary

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