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10 Steps to Starting your Programming Career


Do you want to get a job in an area that’s set to only expand in the future? Well, if so then programming could be the perfect option for you.

Here’s how to get a career in programming.

1. Prepare for your interviews:

There are usually some coding exercises included in interviews for programmers and software engineers.  Employers want to know what you are able to do in a jam, so make sure that you practice different scenarios.  Being able to demonstrate your problem solving skills and showing flexibility during your interviews can make a significant difference in landing a job or not.  

2. Obtain the right tools:

  • There a couple of things that programmers need to have for their careers.  Make sure you learn them early on. 
  • Free libraries are frequently relied upon by advanced programming.  UNIX makes them easier to deal with.  Get a computer running on a UNIX base, such as an Ubuntu machine or Mac.
  • The standard editor for UNIX systems is Vi.  You will need to learn how to use that as well.
  • Fundamental to the success of any programmer is source version control.  Familiarize yourself with a program such as SVN or GIT as soon as you can.
  • Don't stop with those couple of tools - continue to expand your coding kit by adding new online resources, programs and languages to help you become successful.

3. Leverage your success online:

No matter what it happens to be, whenever you are stuck on something the internet is an excellent place to find help.  There are numerous digital communities where you can to, such as Experts Exchange, to ask questions and receive answers from other programmers.  Find a community that you like, get your account set up, and become an active user there.  

You will be very happy that you did. Set up a portfolio online as advised by Amiqus here and showcase your abilities to your potential employers easily. 

4. Leverage your success in person:

You also want to have a personal network in addition to a digital one.  Mach friends with tech professionals and fellow programmers.  They can provide you with invaluable advice, and in return you can help them.

Make friends with your peers if you are a student.  You will be working on group projects, and it is easier to do that with people you like and know.

5. Accept criticism:

As both a professional and student, your code will be criticized at times.  It is very easy to take negative feedback that you receive on your work personally, so make sure you break yourself of that habit early on.  Many times it won't be programmers who are criticizing your work, and they really won't understand everything that is involved. Accept their criticism and move to working to make the necessary changes. 

6. All code is not perfect:

Coding revolves around efficiency.  However, that doesn't mean that all of yours will be perfect.  At times deadlines will be more important than having the time to write the perfect piece of software in the world, and that is perfectly fine.

However, you also need to be able to recognize when there is a better idea.  If a more efficient way is discovered to accomplish something, don't hesitate to dump bad code.

7. Read your error messages carefully:

It is very easy getting into the habit of just glancing at your error messages and not really fully understanding what they are saying. Make sure you take the time to investigate them to determine what they are saying - this will make your bug hunt much easier. 

8. Make sure to sweat the small stuff:

When it comes to programming it's all about the details.  Therefore, make sure you get used to paying close attention to them.  A key part to your success is learning to micromanage your code.  The minute you get lax is the time you will have to start chasing down tiny bug.  It can be very frustrating spending hours searching for one misplaced comma.

9. Don't let your work consume you:

Programmers are known for being workaholics, and that is very unhealthy.  Make sure to find a good life/work balance.  It should include hobbies spent away from the computer, spending quality time with family and friends, and get the right amount of rest. Remember that a tired programmer is more prone to make mistakes. 

10. Break things :

Are you having to rebuild a machine that you bricked? Was a program-killed bug accidentally left in? Did the code you wrote fail miserable?  It doesn't matter - these are all learning experiences.  

Conclusion:

Learning from your mistakes is the way of improving your skills.  And you will make mistakes. So don't beat yourself up.  Gain something positive from your mistakes instead.


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