I have been asked a particular question before and it came up again recently in a conversation. One of my friends asked what he could do to become a developer. The advice I gave him was the most practical advice I could muster but alas, he has not listened to my advice. What he expected was for to recommend to him a course or boot-camp that would “turn him into” a developer but instead I gave him the following 6 steps he could take immediately to start on the path to becoming a developer. I firmly believe that one becomes a developer not on the day one lands his/her first job but on the day one decides that this is what one really wants to do. So is it what you really want to do? Here are 6 steps you can take today to start on your path to becoming a developer.
Stop Procrastinating, Start Coding
The very first thing you can do today and the best thing to do is to start developing/coding immediately and not wait another day. You will find many free courses, books and communities online (Google is your friend) that will help you in this endeavor but know this; all you really need is a laptop and you can start coding today. Do not wait for some far off day when you will understand how to code and on that day you will start coding. You can and must start today.
Talk To Someone You Trust
Say “Hello World!” and Push Code to GitHub
This is kind of a repetition of the first point above but I have heard many technical managers say that they no longer look at resumes to judge a candidate but at their GitHub profile. For those of you who don’t know, GitHub is a platform for collaboratively developing open-source software and you can also use it as a repository for storing any code you write as well.
In your search for a position, there will be two invaluable tools at your disposal; LinkedIn and GitHub. With GitHub you can showcase any projects your build, any code you write while taking a course or even contribute to open source projects. Also, any code, documentation or discussion you contribute to in an open source project will become evidence of your experience. So please go ahead and create a GitHub profile and use the following tutorial to create a “Hello World!” program in Python and publish it to GitHub. What are you waiting for? The best evidence you can present of your ability to code is code you have already written. If you don’t know what GitHub is or how to commit code to it, do not worry, GitHub can provide with you a beginner/starter tutorial on how to upload your code to GitHub. Again, do not hesitate. Write your first program and publish it to GitHub. DO NOT WAIT.
Create a LinkedIn Profile
For this next step, first go ahead and count how many social media profiles you have and estimate how many hours you spend on each. If Linked is not in your top 2 social media platforms then you are wasting a tremendous opportunity. LinkedIn gives you the ability to show case your skills, to talk about business problem and solutions in a network of professional and is slowly replacing traditional resumes. I get anywhere between 6-7 very targeted job offers every month in my LinkedIn inbox despite the fact that I am gainfully employed. It is because I am active on LinkedIn and I post regularly and participate in discussion that my profile ranking has gone up significantly and new opportunities are coming may way every week. So one simple step you can take to is to follow this guide and create a LinkedIn profile that will open new opportunities for you.
Lead With Discipline, Not With Money
Have you ever purchased exercise equipment and never used it? Well, the reason is that you are not leading with discipline but with money. You are hoping againt hope that by spending the money, it will somehow give you the motivation to exercise but you are working backwards. No exercise equipment will ever motivate you to exercise and no course nor university will ever motivate you to learn (with certain rare exceptions. MIT comes to mind.). You must lead with discipline. You must be disciplined about writing code everyday and you must START TODAY. If you pay for an incredibly expensive course or go back to school without first being disciplined about your learning, your classes will turn into your exercise equipment that you likely will not use. If you lead with discipline, you may come to some juncture when you will realize that you need an instructor or professor to guide your path so do enroll then. However, if you start from that point, you will likely not even get started.
So what does this discipline entail? It entails making sure your are learning every day by taking courses online (don’t owrry most of them are free), by reading blogs and watching YouTube videos on programming, by following tutorials and WRITING CODE.
Perhaps this post came off as a bit preachy but the reason I wrote this article that I have had multiple friends of mine ask me this question and I am hoping that this guide will help someone. Please lead first with discipline and start writing code today. Be diligent about updating and maintinaing your LinkedIn profile and start treating GitHub as a second resume while LinkedIn as your first. Finally, I believe you become a developer the day you decide to take action on becoming a developer and when you make a firm commitment to stay the path, not when you finish a course, get a degree or even land your first job.
Thanks for reading and do comment below if you need any guidance I will be happy to respond.