Ali Moha
Coderway

Coderway

An FAQ + Resources to Navigate Your Way for a Solid Career in Coding ๐Ÿš€

An FAQ + Resources to Navigate Your Way for a Solid Career in Coding ๐Ÿš€

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Ali Moha
ยทJun 6, 2022ยท

8 min read

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Table of contents

TLDR: The goal of this FAQ is to help you figure out your career path in programming starting with the basic questions (and how to practically answer them for yourself). By doing your research before deciding on the route you will continue in, you will save yourself from tons of costly mistakes and you are highly likely to find the right path for you. Often times we get thrilled by the hype and high expectations only to regret it later. A lot of things are obvious without trying and we can find about them with a little bit of research. You can think of this FAQ as a tour guide for a career in programming, so you have a better chance at what you are going to try. During this tour, you will visit 3 important questions from different viewpoints.

Heads-up: Although this FAQ takes a few minutes to read, you will need a few hours to go through all of its content! The sequence in which the resources are arranged is intentional and is meant to be followed in that order.

Disclaimer: I'm not a writer nor is English my first language. Just want to share the value. Let's begin :)

1} Is programming right for me?

To find out, start by asking yourself what interested you in this field in the first place? The more your "Passion" and "Personality Characteristics" are aligned with programming, the better you will do. The sweet spot is to pursue a career you have both the passion and personality for. If you don't have passion for this field (aside from the money) or it's unnatural to your personality characteristics, the hard days will be harder!

Like everything else, commitment and hard work are non-negotiable to succeed. It's just that when you are naturally oriented towards programming, you will have an easier time absorbing the skill and coping with the challenges along your journey. Plus you will experience more fulfillment in the work you do.

First Discover Yourself

  1. Career Explorer Test

    • High-quality career test based on science and AI with surprisingly accurate results if you answer honestly (the best test among all I've tried)
    • Helps you learn about yourself, your core personality and the careers ideal for you
    • Takes around 30 minutes
    • Free with optional upgrades
  2. Truity Test based on Holland Code

    • Another career test if you want extra confirmation
    • Detailed Result
    • Takes around 10 minutes
    • Completely free
  3. Coder Foundry Quiz

Personal Recommendation: Take at least Test 1 or better both 1 and 3.

Then Reflect

Check this curated collection of videos from different developers to understand what programming is like and the qualities needed to excel in it.


2} Do I need a Computer Science degree to become a developer?

In short, a CS degree makes the most sense for someone who is a beginner and want to become an employee. In other words, someone who wants to find a full-time junior developer job in a company.

In that case, it's better to have CS degree than not to if you can afford the cost and time to earn one. It will give you access to more job opportunities and internships because a lot of employers screen out developers without a degree. However, it's certainly possible to get a developer job without it and many people have done that.

The skill of programming itself can be achieved without a CS degree, but the degree is very helpful for finding a job especially in the early stage of your career. Just be mindful that the degree alone is not enough to get you the job. Other factors come into play like your portfolio.

One important part is to consider where you come from and where you want to work because many countries have differences on this topic of university degree. Some are more lenient than others. Also, different types of businesses for example small businesses are more lenient than big corporates in that regard. You need to have some understanding of the job situation from experienced developers who have similar background to yours or from recruiters responsible for hiring developers similar to your background.

Another part is that some people who want to become developers do have a degree in a different field other than computer science. In that case, some experts suggest doing a Masters in a CS-related field instead of doing another bachelors if you want to take a degree nonetheless.

A lot of the content I see online on this question is geared towards the US market or from developers who started in the early days of the industry where there wasn't much vetting or competition to begin with.

According to Stack Overflow 2021 Developer Survey, a little over 80% of professional developers have completed some form of higher education while almost 20% of professional developers don't have a degree.

Developers education level stats.png

Source: insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2021#deve..

Here is a good mix of answers on this question and similar ones

Useful Platform

  1. University of the People
    • US-Accredited online degree program in a variety of fields including Computer Science and is open globally with affordable fees and opportunities for full scholarship
    • The program certification is not like those offered by Coursera, edX and others. It is an actual degree directly from the university.
    • This university makes sense for someone who doesn't have much of a budget or if their local education system is of poor quality and not widely accredited. Again on this last point of accreditation, that would depend on your career goal and if you want to work locally in your country which might not approve of this online degree. You have to double check on that, but generally speaking what is good for the US is good for many countries outside of it!
    • Review video from a career development mentor (open it in a separate tab to check the comments of students who have enrolled in this university)
    • Search about the university on YouTube to learn more details on how to apply and check other people's reviews of the program.

3} What developer role should I choose?

Familiarize yourself with the different roles available and the kind of work you will do in each field. Then choose something that relates to your interests and goals.

Here are a few other factors to consider:

  • Demand and accessibility of such roles in the work arrangement you want to pursue (employee, freelancer, business owner, remote, on-site)
  • Type of company you want to work for (startup, enterprise, small business, etc.)
  • Your background, country, and the markets you want to work in (initially and later on)

Get Acquainted

  1. CodeConquest list of developer roles with interesting questions on them
  2. Lorenzo Pasqualis comprehensive list of developer roles with brief explanation for each
  3. Top 10 most in-demand developer jobs according to CodinGame and CoderPad 2022 Tech Hiring Survey

Top in-demand developer jobs stats.png

Source: codingame.com/work/blog/hr-news-trends/top-..

Dig Deeper

  • Do your research on what's involved in different developer fields before committing to one. Here is a search example with good results that you can start with on Google and YouTube. Search term: What's it like to be a โ€ฆ.โ€ฆ (full-stack developer, mobile developer, front-end developer, etc.) do that for each field you are interested in.
  • Ask other developers (in communities or in person) who work in a similar field to describe to you what a week in their work life looks like, what tasks are involved in the job and what the expectations are. Try to talk to developers who hold the position you aspire to reach and have similar background to where you come from and where you want to work in.
  • If possible, speak one-on-one with senior developers who are responsible for hiring or training juniors.

Resources

  1. Codecademy Sorting Quiz (simple fun quiz to help you choose a developer field based on your interests)
  2. The Hive Index (directory of developer communities)
  3. Slofile (directory of public Slack groups for developers)

Mentors

  • I launched a small Mentorship Initiative as a side project to help the community
  • Get connected to a volunteer mentor for free
  • One-off sessions or long-term mentorship
  • Mentors span the US, Canada, UK, Europe, Africa, India and many other regions
  • Discuss your career or get technical help and feedback

๐Ÿ’› I'd love to hear your thoughts on this FAQ and feel free to share your feedback or questions. You can reach out to me by email on (). Happy to connect ๐Ÿ’›


Legal Note: This page and all content within it is for educational purposes only. Make sure to do your own due diligence before making any decisions. The author is not affiliated in any way with the websites linked to from this page except where explicitly stated. Opinions and content of third parties are their own.


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