Uptime’s CTO: Want to become a software developer? Here’s how to start 

If you see that you could become a software developer – create new applications, develop automations or improve existing systems – then you need to acquire the necessary programming skills. 

Some people acquire these skills by trying to solve real problems and largely by trial and error, others like to focus on the theoretical foundations first and only then get their hands dirty. Both approaches are great for beginners and the right choice depends on the individual in question, so all you have to do is see what clicks.  

Raimo Seero, CTO of Uptime, shares his tips and recommendations to help you get started with programming. 

Don’t wait – do it! 

If you feel that programming is something you would like to do, it’s easy to get started – you just have to take the first steps. 

If you are still in the very beginning, i.e., you have never written any lines of code and do not exactly know what can be done with code, then it is wise to start slow. The easiest way to begin your learning process is to start understanding a single programming language and try to do something with it – make it show the phrase “Hello, World” or use it to make a ball bounce up and down on the screen.  

For beginners, the simplest programming languages are JavaScript, Python, and HTML / CSS. Seero would recommend the first of these for beginners, because JavaScript is a language with a very wide range of uses, and at the same time it is something that is really in demand in the job market. 

Once you have chosen your first language, you should start trying to understand it a little more. Here’s where the internet comes in handy – all you have to do is type “JavaScript beginner tutorial” into Google and you’ll quickly find thousands of study guides and tutorials to help you understand the essence of the language. 

Learn by doing 

In addition to the tutorials mentioned above, it is worth taking advantage of tools designed for beginners, which will help you understand the underlying logic behind the language.  

Visual materials, such as this tool to help you understand the basics of JavaScript, or this interactive game to help you understand the basics of web development, are extremely useful for beginners. You will also find a number of good options here. 

Also, during the learning process, look at someone else’s code – try to understand how it works and what happens when you change something. Here the internet comes to your rescue once again – type “JavaScript sample code” or “HTML sample code” into a search engine and find a code snippet you are interested in. 

Then study it, change it, and try to make it do something a little different. You can be sure that you will learn something new and get a better idea of how things work. 

Try to find a practical outlet 

After tinkering with code for a while, you will reach a level where you can make it do something that actually serves a purpose.  

Here, too, it makes sense to start gradually. For example, you can try to create a tic-tac-toe game or a small application that will help you calculate how much to tip. If you are working with HTML, try building a small website and try to figure out how to make it do what you’re trying to accomplish. 

However, if you feel that your skills are already at a level where you feel comfortable sharing your work with others, try to find a robotics or programming club. On the one hand, it offers an opportunity to learn from others and get feedback on what you have done, on the other hand, you can use them to develop a wide array of practical skills, especially in robotics.  

Repeat, get better, repeat, and get better 

Programming is something that takes time to master, and the strength of your skillset is based on continuous self-improvement. So, once you get to the points mentioned before, all you have to do is try to understand the finer details of the language and learn even more about the possibilities that the language offers. 

If you are already relatively proficient in one language, you will increasingly find yourself in situations where knowing another language could be helpful. In this case, you can use all the tips listed above to learn the next language or framework. Repeat this process until you feel that you really know what you are doing and how to accomplish a goal. 

If you see that this is something you would like to turn into a career, then there are several options open for you. If you feel that you can already do something on your own that someone would be willing to pay for, then explore the possibility of working as a freelancer on smaller projects. However, if you want to learn from other people, consider doing an internship with an IT company. You can be more than sure that it will take your skillset to the next level. 

Also, don’t forget school: learning on your own is something that can be easy for some, but if a slightly more structured learning process works better for you, find a course or school that suits you. 

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