A Guide For A Career Change To Programming (Plus Tips)
Updated 20 March 2023
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A change in your profession may result in a more fulfilling career. If you find technology interesting or enjoy using computers to solve problems, you can consider pursuing a career in programming. Understanding how to switch to a coding career can help you identify if it is the right job for you and expose you to different potential programming jobs. In this article, we explain how a career change to programming can be beneficial, provide steps you can follow to become a programmer and offer tips you can refer to when changing careers.
Benefits of a career change to programming
Some benefits of a career change to programming can include:
Software engineering can be a high-paying field. The national average salary for a software engineer is ₹49,883 per month. The pay range may differ depending on your experience, employer or work location. You may experience lower pay if transitioning from a senior role in your current career to an entry-level programming position. You can earn a promotion to a senior programmer role if you work professionally, typically paying more than a junior one.
Most of your work as a software developer may only require a computer and an internet connection. Therefore, you can efficiently work from home or anywhere else you prefer. Some employers may offer the option to work remotely during certain days of the week and work from the office for the rest of the week. You may also have the flexibility of choosing your work schedule and work outside the usual business hours.
Related: What Is Remote Work?
Diverse job options
As a programmer, you can work for a company or provide your services independently. Offering your skills as an independent contractor can enable you to choose projects that most interest you. In tech companies, managers may also allow software developers to switch between projects within the company. If you enjoy experimenting with various projects, this job diversity can enable you to work on multiple programming tasks simultaneously.
A transferable skill is usable in various occupations and fields. Because coding languages are universal, you can code from any country and for any company. As a programmer, you can transition to different industries such as healthcare, finance or education.
Related: Computer Skills: Definition And Example
Continuous opportunities for creativity
As a software engineer, your job may expose you to various issues. Depending on the issue's scope, you may consider multiple solutions and choose the most effective one. Creative problem solving may involve understanding a problem, researching techniques that may apply to the issue and exchanging ideas with team members on how to best address the matter. For every software you create, you can decide how to design the application to be cost-efficient and friendly to its users.
How to change careers to programming
You can follow the steps below to change your career to a software developer role:
1. Confirm whether a programming role is right for you
Your core values and personality can significantly influence how much you like your job. For example, some software engineering jobs may require you to keep learning new technologies and abandon some of your old knowledge. If you prefer an environment with minimal learning, you may find a programming role unfulfilling. Thinking about why you are switching to a coding career can also be helpful. For example, a science teacher may work as a developer to enjoy working remotely from home.
As a new programmer, you may start in a lower position than your current role. Your boss may also be younger than you. Willingness to listen and learn from others in the field can help you adapt to such experiences at the start of your career.
Related: What Is Coding? A Complete Guide To Coding Languages
2. Explore programming career options
You can choose from many programming positions, such as front-end designer, back-end developer or mobile developer. Depending on your interests, you can research various roles, their responsibilities and what technologies they use. For example, if websites interest you, you can learn more about what a web developer does. This research can help you choose a programming area you are most curious about and willing to learn.
You may also contact software engineers in roles that interest you or you wish to learn more about. You can send them a friendly message or an email requesting to chat with them. Some questions you can ask to understand different programming roles better include:
What do you like about your role?
How did you start working at your current company?
Is there something you dislike about your job?
What does your typical day as a software engineer entail?
Is there any advice you can offer me about learning what you do?
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3. Learn how to code
It can be easier to learn to code by understanding the fundamental principles and technologies. For example, if you are learning web design, knowing HTML and CSS can enable you to work with more complex web technologies. You may watch video lessons, then write the instructor's code yourself. If you prefer books, you can also read programming textbooks and follow the written examples.
You can understand many programming concepts by completing coding projects. For example, if you want to be a mobile developer, you can build a small mobile application and share it with your friends. You can freely access most of the tools you choose to develop your project online, such as coding editors and programming frameworks. Future employers may also show an interest in projects you have created.
Related: HTML Interview Questions And Answers For Professionals
4. Meet other programmers
Once you have some experience writing software, you can attend software engineering meetings, conferences or seminars. You may learn alternative approaches to programming problems by interacting with other developers. Meeting other programmers can also help grow your network by exposing you to others with similar programming interests. When looking for developer positions, programmers in your network can help you contact companies willing to hire you.
5. Find a programming job
You can find a job by asking software developers you know about programming opportunities. Because they are familiar with your skills, they can assist you in identifying the roles in their companies that may suit you. You can also contact technical recruiters in companies you wish to work in and talk to them about open positions. Recruiters can help you get an interview faster.
Identifying a job related to your past profession can help a hiring manager find you better suited for the role. Your expertise in the field can make you more efficient than other programmers. For example, if you were previously a teacher, a programming role that creates software for school teachers may suit you.
Related: 20 Best Computer Science Jobs In India (With Salaries)
6. Keep learning
The tools and adopted practices of software engineers can rapidly change over time. You may change jobs and have an employer who wants you to learn a particular technology. You can keep learning by reading programming blogs, listening to technical podcasts and attending software development events.
Related: Top 60 Coding Interview Questions (With Sample Answers)
Tips to help you change to a programming career
The following tips can assist you with a career change to programming:
Create projects with other software developers. Most software engineering jobs can involve a lot of teamwork. Working with other programmers on a project of mutual interest can be a way to get experience coding in a team.
Improve your communication skills. As a programmer, you may work with stakeholders, customers and managers who may be unfamiliar with programming. Communicating clearly can help them understand how you plan to solve a technical problem.
Prepare for interviews. Technical interviews can assess your knowledge of programming principles and problem-solving ability. Preparing for them can give you higher chances of success in the interview and getting the role.
Apply to multiple companies. Some hiring managers may prefer the experience of other programmers to yours. You can continue applying for positions you meet the requirements of until you find a company excited to hire you.
Identify ways to improve the organisation. You may identify a technique that can benefit the organisation, such as improving the customer support process. Informing your manager on how your team can adopt the technology can show that you have great initiative.
Find a technical mentor. As a programmer, you may encounter a lot of new concepts and different ways to handle technical problems. A mentor with more programming experience than you can offer advice on critical issues you may experience when starting your career.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are associated with Indeed.
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