Last month we explored the first steps of How to Become a Software Developer. We reviewed thoughts on career charting, and the benefits of various education options to get you started. There's plenty to look forward to as you develop your career. According to Glassdoor.com, software developer salary averages $107k per year, with those with greater experience tending to take home even more.
Ready to take your career to the next level? Below are three more steps to furthering your career as a software developer.
Software Development is a broad field with an endless array of applications. As you begin to make a name for yourself, it's a good idea to have an area or two that you truly specialize in. This allows you to differentiate yourself from other candidates and choose work that you're particularly drawn to.
The most obvious way to do this is to choose a favorite programming language or two to focus on and become especially adept at using. Not sure where to start? Computerscience.org offers this list of 12 of the most important programming languages. The page also offers information on the most common uses of each language as well as the professions and industries that favor them.
2. Get Certified
Traditional degrees aren't the only way to show your proficiencies. Certifications provide a fantastic avenue for demonstrating your skills in a standardized way. There's a myriad of certifications available, and whether you're looking at senior software developer jobs or just starting out, it's never a bad time in your career to add another to your resume.
Certifications might focus on particular languages, skill sets, or tasks. Many of them are run by major employers, so they're not only letting you know exactly what skills are hirable, but they're also providing an avenue for coders to learn them and prove their capabilities.
Focus on the ones that are most in-demand in the direction you'd like to take your career. Below are just a few places to look:
Often, employers value the skillset of a developer above and beyond any degree or certification, and the best way to demonstrate that is a strong portfolio of previous work. Building a portfolio and gaining experience may seem daunting early in your career, but there are many opportunities available. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
If you're like most developers, there's a good chance that an idea for a personal project drew you to the field in the first place. Whether you were enticed by a passion for creating games, apps, software plug-ins, or something else, don't underestimate the career value of these projects just because they're something you did for yourself. On the contrary – well-executed personal projects have immense value in a portfolio. Not only does excitement about a project tends to draw out the best work, but it's also a great opportunity to showcase your interests, initiative, and personality, and to showcase yourself doing exactly the type of work you'd most like to be doing.
At hackathons, groups of programmers get together for a short (but often large!) programming event. They're given a challenge or competition and a short time frame (often just 24 hours) to work with their team to come up with the best possible solution. They're great opportunities to gain experience working with other developers, network, learn, have fun, and sometimes even compete for prizes. Best of all when it's over you'll have collaborated on an achievement that you can share with others – including prospective employers.
Not sure where to find one? Devpost.com maintains an ongoing list of online and in-person hackathons here.
Volunteer Work and Internships
There's no shortage of good causes in need of volunteer coders, and there's nothing better than knowing that you're not only building your career but helping others in need, too. Code4good offers opportunities through the American Red Cross, and donatecode and codesquad help developers connect with a wide variety of causes. Or better yet, simply reach out to a local charity you admire and ask what you can do to help. You may be surprised at their willingness to give you opportunities, and the added benefit of local networking provides a powerful boost to your career development.
Armed with specialized knowledge, the credentials to back it up, and an impressive portfolio, there's no telling what doors will open to you in your career as a software developer.
Thousands of full-time and remote jobs in every industry. Search jobs.
We'll find you the right candidate, fast. Get started.
Our recruiters connect people with great opportunities and help our clients build amazing teams. Learn more.