How to become a programmer?

published in Android Development, iOS Development, Tutorials, Web Development
by Paweł Kuźniak

The fast development of modern technology has caused an incessant growth in the need for programmers. As a consequence, more and more people have been becoming interested in this field. If you, as others, are trying to answer the question of “how to become a programmer”, this article is for you.

Practically every day, I meet people who ask me how I learned to do what I do when they find out that I work in a mobile application development agency. How did I get the practical skills? How do my applications work? This article is the answer to all these questions. In five points, I’ll talk about my path to working as iOS developer, which can help you in making your first or successive steps on the path to web or mobile development in Poland.

1. Motivation: do you really want to be a programmer?

There are people who work as Android or iOS developers just because they can earn a lot in the profession. Every day is more tiring than it is pleasing, which is reflected primarily by their skills and the quality of the mobile applications they create. Anyone can program, but not everyone is suited to doing it. It is very hard to be good at something you do not like. Especially in this field, where the dramatic pace of development in technology pushes us to constant development in our continual attempt to meet the newly emerging requirements of customers. Those who do not have the heart, quickly burn out and give up.

How to become a programmer?

How many years does it take to be a programmer? Definitely too many for you to devote your time to it if you are not sure. It is better to start by asking yourself two questions:

  1. When you are playing with your smartphone, do you wonder how the mobile apps you use work?
  2. Do you feel great satisfaction when you create something that works?

2. Practice. In other words; the more the better

Well, now that you know that you want it, it is time to practice. The principle is the same as everywhere: Practice makes perfect; that is, the more time you spend on software development, the better.

How was it for me? I am self-taught and I became interested in application programming at the age of 15. I read a lot of guides with names like: “What is Coding on the Computer?”, “All About Web Software Development” or “How to Become a Programmer Fast”. I wrote trivial programs whose sole function was to the display text, but nonetheless, brought me a lot of joy. I tried to discover constantly greater potential and to connect everything together. I mastered the basics pretty easily and further strengthened my knowledge of software programming.

When I was in technical classes for programming, I quickly realized that I wasn’t learning anything new about software development. Everything I already knew had been transferred to the class in an inelegant and impractical way that was even discouraging. That pushed me even more to work and learn on my own.

I participated in national competitions, which were fairly closely connected with algorithms. I learned a lot there. In the competition organized by the University of Szczecin I got up to the final stage and, although I did not win anything, I met many future mobile programmers. At that time I became convinced that in the future I wanted to be part of a dedicated development team Poland.

3. Knowledge; that is, studies, courses, organizations

If you really want to become a programmer, even if you do coursework related to computer science, I encourage you to also learn on your own. Studies will provide technical knowledge and it will be even more advanced than just any guide on the Internet. Unfortunately for me, that is not enough. The knowledge taught is quite outdated and usually conveyed in such a way that it forces you to think about software development in schemes that were fashionable 15-20 years ago.

Technology is constantly moving forward, yet college courses teach you rather how to reinvent the wheel instead of showing you that you can use wheels that have already been invented to solve a problem or implement an idea. In the software outsourcing industry, there is no time for standing still, and even less so for regression.

Start acquiring knowledge on your own now, and it will certainly pay off. Practically everything, from how to start through the study of more complex issues and on to the most difficult, has been repeatedly reproduced and published. This knowledge is at hand – you just have to want it and to sacrifice a bit of your time.

4. What’s new; that is, constantly search, ask and learn

What kind of knowledge do you need? What is really important is the ability to search and utilize the information that is available on the Internet. The professional literature, in this case, becomes dated very quickly. Fortunately, the Internet community surrounding mobile application development is very strong, open to sharing knowledge and helpful.

OpenCV

OpenCV in advanced Android development: drawing a histogram tutorial

You can always find someone who is able to solve your IT problem. A huge number of diverse and practical iOS or Android app tutorials can be found on the web. Remember to be confident. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Dig deep into a topic that interests you, until you understand it completely.

5. Social networking; meaning, people!

The community surrounding IT organizes many free events during which iOS or Android programmers with several years of practice in mobile app development talk about their work and answer pervasive novice questions: “I want to be a programmer. Where do I start?” This is an ideal opportunity to exchange experiences and find an internship or job in your dream company.

iOS Developers

LET SWIFT Wroclaw – iOS Developers Meet-up. Wroclaw, 2017

For example, two good events, in which I usually participate in Wroclaw are TOAST – Android Developers Meetup and LET SWIFT Wroclaw – iOS Developers Meetup.

How to become a programmer? It’s your turn!

These tips are based on my own observation of the software outsourcing world. I invite you to discuss your experience in web or mobile application development in the comments to the post.

Most of the steps that you need to follow to become a programmer, can be adapted to other professions or interests. Mostly it comes down to one question: Are you sacrificing your time, to be able to do what you want?

Paweł Kuźniak Mobile Developer

Paweł is an iOS developer at Zaven and a committed Rubik's cube aficionado. He can solve a 3x3x3 in a matter of seconds and you can find more complicated ones lying around on his desk (solved, obviously). His problem-solving attitude is reflected in his work, as he likes to keep himself busy with non-trivial puzzles.

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