How to become a software developer without a CS degree or Bootcamp

Jul 16, 2021

If you're not a fan of dressing corporately to work, you enjoy being your computer's best friend, you love working from home, and you want a high-paying flexible job, maybe it's time to consider software development.  Software engineers/developers are now the talk of the town, they create software we can't live without. Sure, they went to school to become developers, but it would surprise you to know that 69% of software developers are either partially or fully self-taught (by Washingtonpost)

This means you can be a software developer as well. While technical skills are the most important for you to be a software developer or get into tech, the ability, willingness and discipline to learn is definitely a must-have. You have to love learning and be committed to it. Software changes and moves fast so you have to be willing to be a life-long learner. We actually learn in some way every day, so why not make a living from it.   The journey to becoming a self-taught developer can be a lot, it requires a committed person and it can be a roller-coaster ride but you can totally do it.  

Get ready for the emotional roller-coaster;

You will sometimes feel like a superhero, I promise it's exciting and you'll love it.

You will feel like quitting, maybe even quit for a while.

You won't feel smart enough sometimes, that's totally okay.

Now that you've been warned, let's get into it

  1. Pick a language and stay committed: There are so many languages you can start with, depending on what you want. Python and Javascript are the most common beginner languages. The best way to pick is to decide on what you want to do and then do your research on how to do it. For example, I want to create websites for businesses so I can go ahead to find out what languages are best for websites, in this situation it would be to start with javascript. It is still the leading web development language and you can explore both frontend and backend. Now don't go-ahead to build your website; learn the basics of javascript. Functions, data structures, for loops, conditionals, array methods etc. Get familiar with them. Whatever language it is you choose, spend time loving the language, no libraries or frameworks, just the language. Youtube has a lot of free resources for this, if you're for javascript, Udacity has a free javascript course that is detailed.
  2. Be consistent: It's very easy to lose track if you're not consistent with your learning journey. Set out time daily and commit to learning during that period. No, you don't have to quit your job, about 2-4 hours daily is a good start to keep the momentum going.
  3. Be accountable: This definitely helps you remain consistent, you can try the #100daysofcode challenge and post regularly about your learning journey. This is something I wish I did. Apart from the fact that this helps you remain accountable and committed, it also integrates you into a tech community.
  4. Practice! Practice !! Practice!!! You have to get your hands dirty with code. Think of something and try to create it. Don't get stuck in cycles of tutorials, you need to be hands-on. Now is the time to work on those projects. Work on some by yourself, work on some with your accountability partners. Project-based learning is very instrumental in being able to master certain concepts so start now.
  5. Show off: Did you just finish a project? Post about it on Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook, basically share it with everyone around. Make sure there's a demo and it's published. That way people know what you're up to and it'll be easier for you to reach out when you need a job.  You might feel like you haven't done a lot, but trust me you have. Share it.
  6. Projects: Now you can move from one project to another project, learning what each project requires along the way. Learn frameworks, libraries, work on open-source projects, participate in hackathons etc. Anything to help you have an attractive portfolio when you start job-hunting.
  7. Give yourself time: You're going to have bugs, you're going to have errors that you don't understand, you're going to be confused and that's okay. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to get it right. Learn from your mistakes and don't compare yourself to others. Remember that Google and stack overflow are your friends. If you have friends that are developers, ask them. Join communities; these are super helpful. Check out Jack , Shaquil and Danny on Twitter, they share super helpful tips for developers.  
  8. Rinse and repeat: Congratulations, you're now a self-taught developer. Don't stop learning. Subscribe and lookout for a follow-up post on securing your first job/ internship.