What are the prerequisites for becoming a computer programmer in 2022?

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Becoming a computer programmer is one of the most stable and solid career choices in the world. It has pulled many individuals out of poverty, and the demand for good programmers is ravenous.

Almost every appliance and device have a microchip nowadays, and that microchip needs to be told what to do. A sense of logic and pattern recognition is essential to being a good programmer, and you have to coordinate multiple logical conditions to make programs do what you require of them.

What do I have to do to become a programmer?

Computer programming education varies depending on where in the world you live, but the bar isn’t that high currently. For example, it arguably takes about two decades to become a successful doctor that earns a lot of money (college years included). Meanwhile, a programmer with 5 years of experience can demand a decent salary far sooner.

In terms of minimum requirements, again, it depends on the country and several other factors. For example, large corporations are far stricter with requirements. They will rarely call you back unless your CV specifies that you are a college education in some IT-related field.

Meanwhile, a start-up can give someone who only finished high school a chance, if they can demonstrate the required skills.

Programming?

Saying the word “programmer” is like saying the word “doctor.” It is a generalized term that says nothing specifically. What kind of doctor are you? Cardiologist, orthopedic surgeon, or oncologist?

Something similar can be said about programmers.

First, you have to pick a programming language, as you cannot learn them all before your first interview. The word “language” here is indicative, as their function were similar to languages. They have their own grammar-like rules and syntax that you have to memorize.

Once you get the basis of procedural and object-oriented programming for your first language, your second will be much easier. Programmers’ education gets easier and easier, with the hardest part being at the start.

It will be like knowing Spanish and trying to learn Portuguese. Sure, they are not the same language, but they are so similar that the process will go by fast.

And even after you choose a language, there can be specializations that branch out. As an example, web developers can focus on front-end, back-end, and full-stack development. Each of these alone can be its career, but there are web developers who can do all three.

If you are wondering where to start, you just found out. Most people start with web development, out of a perception that it is the easiest path. It is not much easier than others, but the learning curve is not so steep.

There are 160 IQ wizards who know Java and Angular like the palm of their hand, but there are also beginners who just play around with HTML and CSS. Web Dev is by far, the most well-rounded and beginner-friendly path.

However, it is also the most popular, meaning that you won’t lack competition. Depending on where you are, the salaries are also relatively low compared to other specializations.

If you are interested in programming machines or working for an oil or automotive company, then other languages will serve you better. C++ is arguably the hardest to learn, but also very powerful and meticulous.

Java is the best all-around language, as it is used across the world in various fields. Even the remote-control rovers on Mars were programmed in Java.

Soft Skills and Time Management

You should not focus on technical skills alone. One of the requirements to be a computer programmer that is often overlooked is the ability to deal with other people.

In a start-up or small company, you may be able to get away with a lot. However, if you want the stability of working for a larger corporation, then you have to brush up on your soft skills.

The current HR climate is indeed a minefield, and you need to measure every word that comes out of your mouth. In addition, even the way that you write your emails can show an experienced reader if you have adequate soft skills.

Also, if you are used to freelance work, then your time management skills may not be on-point. There will be days when the volume of work is very large, and you have to use each minute of that working day wisely.

It can be easy to forget tasks when you have 25 emails in your inbox, so a basic to-do checklist program is priceless. This will let you keep track of each task. In addition, try to get the hard work done in the morning when your mind is fresh, and handle emails and meetings in the afternoon.

The Interview Process

Depending on the market, some companies will call you because they need people. Meanwhile, others have strict application processes.

If you are inexperienced in how to construct your covering letter and CV, you can always pay someone to save time. There are cheap essay writing services that can help you out.

I have the opposite problem where I tend to ramble and make my cover letters too long. When I’m in a hurry, I use the hired writer as a glorified essay shortener to trim down the content and make it condensed and catchy.

Institutional education

As mentioned, some companies think that the best education for computer programmers is experience. As long as you can do the job, you’re in. Yet, some require formal education.

Of course, the best option, but also the costliest in terms of time and money, is going to college. If you are working, there are also online colleges, depending on where you live.

An even shorter option is to attend a programming crash course. The market is flooded with companies that teach programming in just a couple of months, for a mid-range fee. In the end, you will get a certificate, but not all employers will recognize that certificate.

To increase your chances, you can also do some freelance work just to add it as experience on your CV. Some sites specialize in connecting freelancers with employers.

Programmers’ education can take many forms, but be sure to look at what the market wants.

Conclusion

Before you begin, you have to establish what kind of programmer you want to be. Then, you have to learn to code, in addition to enhancing your soft and time-management skills.

If you can, try to go to college. That diploma will be your best shot of being called for an interview. Other less costly solutions