“Computer: Alliance of an inexact science and a fallible human activity” - Luc Fayard
A study by Stack Overflow confirmed that 60% of software developers had taken a course and 87% had taught themselves a programming language. This just goes to show that you need more than just studies to become a developer.
So what kind of IT or software development education do you need? What courses should you take?
Let’s take a look.
Essential Studies for Software Developers
Software development or programming is a relatively new job. A developer's role is to devise, program, and test programs according to a set of criteria often outlined by their client. With the help of a programming language, they look to program and optimise an app or program.
These programs are very present in our everyday lives. From our inboxes to our smartphones, there are apps and programs everywhere.
Developers can be found in all sorts of companies nowadays. However, it can sometimes be tricky to find work and with so many candidates, getting started is the hardest step.
This is why becoming a developer without any formal training is a risky choice, but not an impossible one. A lot of developers start by teaching themselves a bit about coding. A few years ago, there weren’t many courses out there for them. They had to work it out themselves.
Training and education can help a lot and there are courses, internships, and apprenticeships out there.
Schools for Learning to Become a Software Developer
One of the best ways to learn how to become a software developer is by studying it at university. There are many universities offering courses in IT, software development, and computer science.
Some of the best include:
- University of Cambridge
- University of Oxford
- University of St Andrews
- Imperial College London
- Durham University
- University of Manchester
- University of Bath
- University of Glasgow
- University of Leeds
All of these schools offer computer science courses, IT, or software development courses. Oxford and Cambridge are probably the most well known.
More often than not, students will choose an undergraduate degree course that typically lasts 3 years. Software development is also sometimes referred to as software engineering. Either way, these degrees are worthwhile for those looking to work in the field.
You can always study a more general subject like maths before studying a more specific post-graduate course. Each student needs to think about the path they want to follow. In any case, you need to learn different programming languages like Python, CSS, etc.
Become a Software Developer on a University Course
University courses are the most obvious way to become a software engineer or programmer.
As we mentioned, they typically take 3 years. However, they aren’t the only ways to become a software developer. Other courses will teach you the necessary skills to become a software developer. You can learn more about just programming, too.
You can learn about finding work and moving into a career in software development. You’ll want to know what the field you’ll be working in is like and how to find jobs.
Don’t hesitate to start applying to jobs once you’ve finished and make sure you keep up-to-date with your training and skills.
Short Courses for Software Developers
Of all the types of training available for software developers, short courses are a very interesting option. These courses can teach you about programming and software development in a matter of months and are great for those looking to change careers.
Places on some of these courses might be in short supply, though. Of course, you won’t be able to learn as much on one of these courses as you wouldn’t during several years on a degree course. That said, they are a good way to get your foot in the door, learn the foundations, and give you options to keep studying or look for work. They aren’t necessarily a silver bullet, though, and some courses can be quite expensive.
Some of the courses are offered by universities, but there are also courses from other educational establishments and you can find courses that last a matter of weeks. From there, you’ll have a good idea of whether or not software development is right for you.
Teaching Yourself Software Development
As we explained earlier, you can always teach yourself about software development and engineering as there are plenty of online resources to get you started with programming. There are sites like OpenClassrooms where you can follow tutorials and courses that are open and freely available.
You can also learn with video tutorials on sites like YouTube and there are software developers with YouTube channels who’ll teach you how to code and develop apps or programs. There’s a lot you can learn.
After that, you just need to practise your skills by creating apps, programs, or websites as there are few better ways to learn than by doing. You can also learn with the help of a private tutor during the more difficult parts of your software development journey.
Why not learn in a group?
It can be useful to have the support of other students.
Gaining Experience as a Software Developer
In a lot of cases, experience can play a bigger role than qualifications for a young developer. In a lot of cases, an employer will choose someone for the role based on what they’ve done rather than what they’ve studied. They’ll also be interested in a developer’s personality, drive, creativity, etc.
While training and education are important, especially when it comes to learning the skills, your experience will likely secure jobs and projects.
Have you developed apps yourself?
Highlight them. This will show just how driven you are and how you can work on your own and how you can take a project from start to finish. Think about putting together a portfolio of your creations. Your portfolio could be printed with screenshots and explanations of your projects or a website where potential clients can interact with them.
What better way to show off your know-how to potential customers?
If you’ve got a website, make sure that it acts as your CV and shows off your qualifications and past projects. Don’t forget to also show off projects completed during your education if they highlight useful skills.
If you'd like to learn more about software engineering, web development, or computer programming, consider getting help from a private tutor on the Sueprprof website.
There are plenty of tutors around the UK and all over the world who can help you with face-to-face tutoring, online tutoring, or group tutorials. Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons so think carefully about which will work for you and your budget.
Face-to-face tutorials are between you and your tutor and can be tailored to exactly what and how you want to learn. As the tutors often travel to their students and spend extra time planning and adapting the tutorials, they tend to charge more than the other types of tutorials. However, they're often the most cost-effective type of tutoring since every minute is spent teaching you.
Online tutorials are useful if you can't find any suitable tutors in your local area. They're also great because the tutors tend to charge less than face-to-face tutors as they have less travelling to do and spend less time and money getting to their tutorials. While they mightn't be great for certain hands-on subjects, for academic subjects and skills like programming, they're excellent.
Group tutorials are a great choice for those on a budget as you can share the cost of the tutoring with the other students in attendance. While this means you won't get as much one-on-one tuition from your tutor, you will have other students to support you and learn from.
Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on the Superprof website offer the first session or lesson for free so you can try out several different tutors before choosing which one is right for you. It's a good idea to make a list of criteria before you start searching for tutors and then shortlist a few before you start contacting them and arranging taster sessions or free lessons.
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