Why Wouldn’t You Want to Become a Developer?
Ever since I started my career as a web developer, I’ve been trying to convince those around me to do the same. I just can’t keep quiet about it. The truth is, software development has a lot of potential, not only as a career, but as a tool for entrepreneurship. As a developer you have the ability to create anything that comes to mind with only the help of a computer. The skill to code anything by learning programming languages. The possibility to turn ideas into reality.
“A full-stack developer has all the keys to the house — there is no door that you cannot open” — Eric An
The freedom of thinking of something and being able to create it is unparalleled. And everyday there is better and better tools to make anything that comes to mind happen. Some people think software development is just for nerds that like math (like me) but there are other appealing aspects that make software development a great career choice.
You don’t need to spend any money to learn it.
One of the most amazing things about software development is that you can learn it on your own. No books, no teacher, just the internet. A portion of the engineers I know are self-taught and companies usually love it. But why? Because software development is continuous learning. If you don’t keep up with the latest technology, you are left behind.
Self-taught engineers have already learned the dynamic of teaching themselves so they can continue to do it throughout their careers. Not to say that other means of learning are not successful. Other people have a harder time learning on their own and prefer hands-on or group learning. Hence, the surge in “coding bootcamps.”
Coding bootcamps will dive you right in the deep waters of software development. In as little as 3 months of full time work and a few sleepless nights, you will learn the skills you need to become a software developer. However, if you can’t apply those skills when you’re done with your bootcamp, I’m afraid you won’t be able to keep up.
Another drawback to bootcamps is the price. Tuition ranges from $7000 to $15,000 and you receive no industry accepted form of certification (with some exceptions, some universities such as the University of Utah are incorporating them into their curriculum). So at the end it’s whatever works for you. I decided to try to learn it on my own and if that didn’t work I was going to try a bootcamp. Fortunately the former worked and I didn’t have to spend a dime . I would recommend you take this approach, too. You’ve got nothing to lose (stay tuned for my next blog on resources to learn programming).
You don’t need to know (or like) math, surprise!
One of the things people always mention when I’m telling them to get into software development is “I’m not good at math.” I haven’t had to use any advanced math since I got started with web development. I’m sure other types of software development do require it, but not web development. As long as you know how to add and subtract, you’re good.
When I got started, I was surprised to discover that a bunch of devs came from a music and/or literature background. I always thought that more of the math/scientific people would go for an engineering type job. But boy, I was wrong. At one of the tech conferences I attended this year, Catherine Meyers, a former opera singer, had a talk named “Mozart could have been an engineer,” describing the similarities of music creation to software creation. Her talk confirmed that, not only the developers I know but many others, come from different backgrounds and developing takes much more than knowing math.
You can make anything you can think of.
Software development gives you the ability to act on your ideas immediately. The tools are right at your fingertips and the possibilities are endless. Obviously, this is not applicable if your ideas are more along the lines of building something outside, knitting, crafts, etc. But if you find yourself constantly thinking “it would be nice if there was an app for this or that,” then yes, software development will give you the skills you need to build whatever you want. And you have the internet (thanks google, and stack overflow) filled with information to help you get unstuck and achieve your vision.
I’m one of those people that constantly writes her ideas down as soon as they originate. Maybe if you did the same, you would quickly realize that maybe half of the stuff you write down requires software development. Being able to program may be as important as writing in the future, so why not get started now?
You can take your computer anywhere.
If you’re the type of person that likes to be out on the field or constantly meeting new people, coding is not for you. You have to like being on your computer if you’re going to be a software developer. Your computer is your tool and without it, well, it would be like a lumberjack without an axe or a fireman without a fire. However, no one ever said that you can’t take your computer places.
A friend from work told me he knows a couple that are both devs, and they work remote and travel the world. They sit outside by the beach while they work, and in the evenings they explore the different cities they live in. Doesn’t that sound nice?
Not all dev jobs are remote but some of them will give you the option to work from home a couple of days a week. Would you mind being in front of your computer all day if it meant you could be home with your dog and in your pjs? There is obviously pros and cons to the situation and it depends on you if it’s a fit or not.
Data is the new oil = more jobs for devs.
Data is becoming one of the most valuable resources of our time. The first quarter of 2017, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft cashed in $25 billion dollars in net profits altogether and are listed as the 5 most valuable firms in the world. All these companies along with other data/tech companies hire developers. Don’t you want to learn the skills needed by the kind of companies who have the best prospects for the future?
Data is meaningless without structure, organization, and interpretation. Software engineers can develop applications that gather data and structure it so that business insights can be drawn from the collected information. They can also write programs to A/B test assumptions made from data to correct any deviations in the model (and machine learning!). Because of the rise on tech/data companies in the last few years, software development has risen to the top #2 tech job, according to US News best jobs, and #13 overall. The median salary is $98,260 and the employment growth 19%. Based on this, going into software development seems like a pretty good decision to me.
If you’re starting your career or trying to change your current situation, you should definitely consider software development as an option. I made the leap last year and haven’t regretted it for a second. I probably forgot to mention the most important part of all which is: software development is fun. IT IS SO MUCH FREAKIN FUN. You will enjoy it, hopefully as much as I do. So, do it.
If you’re interested on reading how awesome startup culture can be, checkout my previous blog (link below). Also, stay tuned for my next blog if you’re interested in finding out what resources I used to learn programming and get a job.