Career Advice

Two posts in one day?!?!  Look at me go!

So this post is to try to give a little career advice for those of you looking to get into the software industry, but don’t have the experience or the degree to help get your foot in the door.  This advice is born out of my own career path and won’t work for everyone.

First, I’m not going to lie, it’s going to take some time.  And you’re probably going to need to get a job that’s not necessarily in software development to begin this journey.

Here is what I did:

  1. Got a job at a software company.  Any job, hopefully in a technical field (support, networking, testing, etc…).
    • This was fairly easy for me to accomplish because of my background in IT.  I started working in technical support for our platform, not as a developer.  Also, software companies tend to be great to work for (good benefits, “startup” vibe, etc…).
  2. Start fiddling around with some basic programming to help your day-to-day.
    • After I was on the job for a few months, I found a handful of things that I was doing constantly so I wrote a few basic scripts to help automate parts of my job.  This was done heavily with the help of google 🙂
    • Ex: I pulled app/event/registry exports from customer servers constantly.  This was a pain to do manually so I wrote a script that would create a folder with a specific name ([hostname]-[date]), grab each item, name it appropriate ([hostname]-[date]-[logname]), and then stick it in the folder.
  3. DO YOUR TIME!
    • Can’t stress this one enough.  You don’t have years of programming experience, or a degree in Computer Science/Programming, so don’t expect to move to a dev role within a few months to a year.  Spend your time perfecting your job, while doing #2 as often as possible.   This should help gain some basic programming knowledge and build up a foundation with the company so they are more likely to help you out/take a chance on you.
  4. Be social and get to know people in the Dev department.
    • This is what ended up landing me my new job.  I was in support and interacted with dev from time to time to help with issues.  I would bring the dev team I worked with donuts every once in a while and spend time chatting with them (actually getting to know them).
  5. Make your move!
    • Fifth and final step is to let your peers in development know that you’re interested in a position if one comes available.  Remind them of your experience supporting the software and your work ethic while at the company.  I approached my position as a “6 month try it out phase.”  Give me 6 months in the actual dev position with some simple projects during that time and I’ll take my knowledge from the last few years at the company and apply it with gusto!

 

So there you have it, 5 super easy steps to becoming a software developer without a degree or tons of experience… NOT!  I told you it wouldn’t be fast or simple.  This is just an outline of how I approached the subject and isn’t the end-all of career advice.  But it did work for me, so hopefully it can work for others as well.

Good luck fellow knowledge seekers!

 

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