Invest in your skills development

Software development is an industry still in it’s infancy. Technologies are continually evolving, and trend come and go. What’s hot today can quickly get replace by something new tomorrow.

It’s foolish to think that you can learn one thing and then be done with your learning and continue in your software development career for the next couple of decades without learning anything new. The past decades have already shown that what’s the hot in-demand tech skill now is likely to be in demand several years from now. That said, there have been programming languages that have stood the test of time: COBOL. C, and Java are some examples.

In order to stay relevant, it’s important that you spend time to keep your skills up to date. Make a commitment to learn something new (a new language, a new framework) every several months. As you gain more experience you’ll start to make better decisions on new trends that you think will stay around for longer, or those which seem like they’re likely to disappear within a few years.

Bottom line: expect and and plan to keep your tech skills up to date.

It takes time to learn your first programming language

New developers frequently post online questions like “how long does it take to learn JavaScript” or “how long to become proficient with Java”. The thing is, everyone is different, we all learn differently, we all learn at different rates. Don’t pay any attention to whether some other developer learned language xyz in 1 week or whatever time they say.

Rather than focus on fixed time goals, it’s important that learning to develop software is an ongoing and continuous activity. You don’t ‘finish’ learning how to code, there is always something new to learn because the industry is still evolving, or tools, libraries and frameworks are always evolving. Trends also change. What’s the hot new frontend framework today may be replaced with something completely new 6 months from now.

It’s impossible to give a precise answer to ‘how long will it take me to learn language xyz’. Instead of thinking about a finite journey, you need to accept that a career in software development is a career of continuous and endless learning, and to keep your skills relevant and up to date you need to commit time and effort to your skills development.

Getting started in software development: the majority of software development is not web development

Frontend dev gets a lot of traffic in software development online communities where new developers are just getting started. That’s understandable, since if you have a computer with a web browser, you only need a text editor of some kind and you’ve got all you need to start writing and running code. It’s arguably the most accessible area of software development to get started with.

The fact is though that the majority of software development is not web dev, and most is not even backend apis to support frontend apps either. If you think about the electronic devices that fill our lives nowadays, our phones, tablets, watches, laptops, even household appliances like clothes washers, microwave ovens, all these devices run software. Modern cars have multiple systems that are comprised of millions of lines code. And this is not even thinking about the business systems that are behind the curtain and invisible to most people, financial and accounting systems, payroll processing, all quietly running 24/7

There is no golden rule that says you should start your career by learning frontend dev first and then moving into other areas. Pursue what is interesting to you. Over their careers some developers may move back and forth between roles, some may only ever work on backemd dev and never write a line of HTML Find what interests you and go for it!

Think before you build

This should not be a surprise to any experience developer, but for new developers just starting out there is a tendency to sit down at your computer and just coding coding. Shortly following this, there are complaints that programming is hard, and why when they sit at their computer to they get a mental block and don’t know how to solve a problem?

The majority of time and effort in software development is about understanding a problem and then thinking ow ways to solve that problem. It’s not about sitting at a keyboard and typing code.Actually typing code at your computer is probably the smallest part of total time spent solving a problem.

If you find yourself sitting at your computing and wondering why you can’t solve a problem, take a step back and think about the problem first, and spend some time thinking of suitable approaches for how you can solve the problem.