"Programming is a skill best acquired by practice and example rather than from books." -Unknown
Whether you're learning how to cook to become a chef or writing short stories with the aspirations of one day becoming a published author, one thing is sure: practice is required. No matter what you are doing, trial and error help you learn new things and makes it possible to iron out the kinks of potential issues.
In many cases, practice is much more valuable and relevant than years of studying theory, and that's how it is with computer programming. A grand majority of the most successful computer programmers working today have expanded their professional lives by frequently practising the basics of computer programming and coding regularly.
Nonetheless, it is essential to mention that although practising writing code and program computers on your own time is a brilliant way to equip yourself with the necessary skills, many employers want on the job experience before hiring an amateur coder.
So, the question arises, it is possible to get a high-ranking coding job without any previous work experience in that relevant field? In today's article, we shall answer that question by discussing the distinct learning pathways a student can take to learn the basics of coding and the possible ways to find coding jobs without having relevant experience. Let's get learning!
Disclaimer: the experience we will talk about in this article has to do with on-the-job experience and NOT understanding acquired through professional studies.
Potential Learning Pathways to Become Skilled in Computer Programming
Programming computers and learning how to write code are incredibly complex tasks that require a lot of experience and instruction to effectively get better at and be qualified to work in the specific sector. However, since computer sciences are in high demand due to the rapid advancements in technology, there are many distinct ways to study and learn the basics of computer programming. Such as?
Let's look at the three most commonly selected learning pathways to become skilled in computer programming and coding.
The most prestigious way to receive qualifications relevant to a career as a computer programmer is by studying for a computer science degree at a UK-based university. A Bachelor's degree in computer science lasts approximately three years and prepares aspiring computer programmers with skills that cover topics more than solely how to write code.
Studying for a Bachelor's degree in the UK isn't cheap; however, if you are sure that you want to dedicate your entire working life to a career in the computer sciences, it's worth the money and time dedicated to studying and preparing for exams. Why's that? Well, employers in the tech world are more at ease hiring university graduates with no previous on-the-job experience than other programmers who do not boast fancy diplomas.
It's important to state that it's very rare to find a Bachelor's or Masters degree that focuses solely on computer programming and coding; that's why we mention a more general undergraduate degree such as computer sciences.
Also, the starting salary at most entry-level jobs for computer programmers will be higher for those who have a Bachelor's degree from a registered university.
After UK-based universities, the most reputable place to acquire the skills to work as a computer programmer is at a learning institute. Thankfully, since the United Kingdom is a nation that values education, many post-secondary academic institutes focus on equipping students with the necessary abilities to become job-ready.
The beauty of learning institutes is that students can often choose between part-time or full-time study programmes.
What about short-term courses in computer programming at academic institutes in the UK? Many institutes in the London area, and other major cities, focus solely on topics relevant to computer sciences, such as coding. The Coding Bootcamps at these learning institutes are open to individuals of all ages and backgrounds. They specialise in providing aspiring computer programmers with all the tools they need to apply for jobs.
The coding and programming courses at UK-based private learning institutes usually last six months. They sometimes provide on the job training to prepare students for what the technology workforce looks like.
The final most commonly practised learning pathway is teaching yourself the basics of computer programming and coding. The self-taught method is best for dedicated individuals who don't need extrinsic motivation to keep themselves going and are independent learners.
Programmers who have taught themselves have created their curriculums of what needs to be studied and learned at a particular time.
Autodidact learning consists of reading informative books, watching helpful YouTube tutorials, and asking experienced programmers for tips and tricks on code. If a learner decides to study code, we highly recommend that they hire a professional tutor to guide their learning experience once in a while.
Nonetheless, after you've prepared yourself with all the knowledge to start work as a computer programmer, you might struggle to get hired. Why's that? Keep on reading to learn more.
Possible Ways to Find Coding Jobs Without Experience
Since the computer science and technology job market is teeming with individuals who want to work as computer programmers and claim they have the right qualifications and experience, many employers are wary of hiring new coders who don't have any previous on-the-job work experience.
It's a frustrating experience for amateur programmers since it's a paradox: you need a job to get relevant work experience, yet you need work experience to get a job.
The complete experience of searching online job boards, applying for dozens of employment positions, and getting no answer back is not only felt by aspiring computer programmers but all other persons new to the workforce who are applying for entry-level jobs.
Employers want to hire persons who have experience so that they don't have to train them through every step of the job and so that they don't have to engage in an employee search within the next six months if the candidate they chose didn't fit the mould.
Nonetheless, since many new computer programmers have been in the same boat, specific ways to get hired as professional programmers or coders without previous job experience. How's that? Let's take a look at five brilliant methods that all amateur coders should put into practice to get hired.
Offering to Work for Free
Of all the suggestions, offering a potential employer the possibility to work for free is by far the riskiest; however, it could land you a job much more quickly than other methods if successful. How's that? If done correctly and on time, there is virtually no way the employer will not want to hire you, and they will admire the confidence you possess in your abilities.
However, the downside is that if you fail, you will leave a bad name for yourself at the company you are applying to, and that could spread to others in the field of technology.
If you display the appropriate charisma and confidence, sometimes just offering to work on a project for free in the interview shows the employer that you mean business and that you shouldn't be viewed as solely a newbie.
Effectively Prepare for Interviews
Preparing for interviews is something that all people should do, especially those who lack on-the-job experience since employers will judge them more harshly. We remarkably suggest doing your homework about the company you are interviewing for, preparing yourself by having a friend/family member conduct a mock interview and recording yourself to see how you sound.
Also, even though it is true that your coding and programming skills should be what shines during an interview to work as a software engineer, no employer wants to hire a grouch, so make sure that you lay the charm on thick and be your best self at the interview.
Apply for Freelancing Gigs
While freelancing might not seem like an attractive option for new programmers who want the job security and benefits of working for a regular company, it should be viewed as a stepping stone on the road to landing your dream job.
Applying for freelancing jobs on sites such as UpWork, Fiverr, or Wix is a perfect opportunity for new computer programmers to get on-the-job experience while at the same time testing their skills. Though you shouldn't expect to get rich landing freelancing gigs, you can offer low prices to persons who need programmers to complete simple tasks for them.
Freelancing jobs are best for individuals who are fresh out of school.
It's important to state that the successful completion of small gigs looks excellent on a resume, and they equip you with the confidence to apply for full-time positions in computer programming at technology firms.
Have an Online Presence
In today's digital age, it is indispensable to have an online presence that highlights your work experience, academic qualifications, and professional skills; this is especially true for new employees.
Call attention to the past coding jobs you've completed via freelancing gigs on your online profile and let the potential employers see the code you've written and the programs that you've created. It's a brilliant idea to have a profile on LinkedIn since many companies and industries use it.
One of the most successful ways to land a job as a beginner software engineer is through networking. How's that? There is a lot to be said about convincing someone to give you a chance because either they know and like you or they know someone who will vouch for you unconditionally.
If you attended classes and courses to become a computer programming, you might have already had chances to network; however, it's essential to participate in events in the field of technology, such as meetups or developer functions that large tech companies have organised.
Build a network with individuals who work at distinct companies so that you are never without options.
In conclusion, we can guarantee that you are prepared with the necessary tools to find computer programming and coding jobs without experience by following the advice in today's article. Let the job search begin!