Table of contents
You don't need a computer science degree to land your first developer job. Even though I have a computer science degree, I've met many people with a non-computing degree (or no degree at all) who landed a developer job. With the right skills and approach, you can break into the tech industry and start your career as a developer. Here are ten steps to help you get started.
This article contains affiliate links. This means I may get a commission after a purchase, at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
1. Pick a high-in-demand programming language
If you intend to land a developer job, picking a high-in-demand programming language is smart.
Choosing a highly requested language means more opportunities are available and, therefore, more chances for you to land your first developer job.
Statista created research on the most used programming languages among developers.
2. Find resources to learn programming
The Internet is full of paid and free resources to learn programming.
To list some:
I compiled a list of YouTubers for software engineers to help you along the way.
Learn Git and GitHub
Git and GitHub are widely used tools in the real world. Knowing them is a MUST.
Learn how to open a pull request and merge a request on GitHub via an IDE.
If you're interested in landing a job as a backend or full-stack developer, SQL is a database language prevalent in the real world.
StackOverflow is the leading go-to for developers who need help solving a technical problem. Use it wisely, and don't be afraid to create an account to ask a question (ensure you've searched thoroughly to avoid duplicates).
ChatGPT is a great tool you can use to solve problems. However, don't over-rely on it and question the results ChatGPT gives you.
Find community channels
Programming is a lonely activity, and being surrounded by other people, you can ask for help to make a difference in your journey.
Each programming language and framework has a Discord server or Slack channel where people bounce off ideas, share their projects, etc.
Search for "language + discord servers" or "language + online communities".
3. Create a routine
Learning how to program needs focus, patience and perseverance.
Creating a routine will help you make small, consistent progress toward your goals.
If your goal is to land a developer job:
Assess your situation: everyone has a personal life story. You may have a family, a parent to care for, etc. Only you know how much time you have available.
Based on that, identify a few high-quality hours per day (or per week) where you know you can focus and practice. You may want to use a calendar to manage your time.
Block out distractions: put your phone in another room and turn off notifications.
Remember to take breaks.
4. Practice. A lot.
Practising is how you get better at coding. There's no other way around.
However, you can diversify how you practice and learn to code:
Build side projects.
Contribute to open-source.
Participate in hackathons.
Do coding challenges.
Join a local coding community (such as a Coding Dojo).
5. Learn a framework
Once you know the fundamentals of your chosen programming language, you can learn a framework.
Companies use frameworks to build software.
Familiarise yourself with the mechanics of the framework first.
Then, you create a project using the framework.
6. Learn a testing framework
Developers test their code once they write production code.
Testing is challenging, but you can add some tests to your project.
I wrote an article on the types of testing developers do on their jobs.
7. Learn how to use a cloud provider
Over 90% of companies have adopted cloud computing.
Organizations have discovered that it's possible to use a computer system without direct management by the user. In other words, they don’t have to own any data centers and can also pay for services like storage as they can go.[TechJury>]
Cloud is a big topic. However, it's great to have some familiarity with it.
Amazon Web Services, Azure and Google Cloud Platform are the most popular cloud providers.
8. Network with other people
Networking with other developers is a great way to learn about job opportunities and get your foot in the door.
Attend local meetups, conferences, and other events where developers gather to share ideas and collaborate.
Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and start building your network.
9. Create your CV
Your CV needs to have the following:
Name, surname, phone number and email.
A link to your GitHub, your blog, and a YouTube channel (if you have any).
A highlight of your side projects: describe the problem you solved.
Hard and soft skills.
10. Apply for jobs
You'll never be fully ready to apply for jobs. Apply when you think you have enough to demonstrate to employers.
After reading this article, you know the steps to take to land your first developer job without a computer science degree.
If this article is helpful to you, you'd definitely benefit from subscribing to my FREE weekly newsletter.
Until next time!