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How to Become a Software Developer

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A career in software development can be very lucrative. According to a recent survey done by Computer Careers, software development was rated as the #1 career in regard to salary and benefits.

Talented employees were easily paid in the six figure dollar ranges and enjoyed many perks like company shares, paid vacations, royalty fees, and other forms of compensation. However, it’s not as easy as it seems.

Technology is a rapidly evolving field; programmers have to be hardworking and constantly learning to keep up with the rapid pace of changes in the industry.

Programmers and software developers have to be thorough in their fundamentals, but at the same time they should be open for new suggestions and innovative ideas which could revolutionize the industry.  If you have a talent for software and are seriously interested in a career in software development, here are a few tips you should follow.

Basic Education

A knack for computers is absolutely essential. If you have the necessary skills in computer programming, then it’s time to hone those skills by taking up as many accessory computer courses as possible.

Support these computer courses with optional math and science classes which will help you to complete your college education.

Please note that talent alone is not enough. In the early years, most software programmers honed their skills on the job. Most of the early pioneers in the field did not even complete their college degree but still managed to set up world-class computer corporations.

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However, nowadays most employers will check your basic education. After completing your high school, you can then enroll for related degrees which focus highly on physics and math. Most bachelor’s degrees are for four years.

You can choose a course depending on your software preferences. For example, you can choose from a computer science degree, a management information system degree, or an engineering degree.

Most of these courses will have subjects that deal with computer programming, engineering principles, C/C++ and computer hardware, linear algebra, calculus, and differential equations. While you are learning, it is essential that you take on as many projects as possible.

You can pick up projects through online forums or by collaborating with trained software programmers. Not only will these projects help you to learn on the job but they will also teach you to apply the concepts that you are learning about.

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Internships during study are also great ways to learn on the job.  It is also advisable to continue your education in the form of a masters or a doctoral degree.

Certification for Trained Software Developers

Candidates who have completed their software programming courses can take up additional certification. Certificate programs are offered by product vendors like Microsoft, Apple and IBM to train candidates in their products.

Most of these programs are geared towards particular technologies and the exams are conducted by testing agencies contracted by the product vendors. For example, Microsoft offers six different certifications through their online learning center by which candidates can acquire MCA, MCM, MCITP, MCPD, MCTS, and MTA certification.

Another type of broader certification is also offered by the IEEE. This organization has certified more than 575 software professionals since the year 2006. Candidates must have four years of software programming experience before they sit for a four hour certification exam.

Certified candidates are awarded a ‘Certified Software Development Professional’ title. This title is industry accepted and is a distinct asset for candidates.

Software Developer Careers: Job Outlook

The job prospects for trained candidates are excellent. On an average, a trained candidate can earn as much as $42- $50 per hour ranging to an annual salary of about $91,240 $105,480. This will vary according to the geographical location of the employer and the niche area that the candidate has specialized in.

For example, candidates with Internet and Intranet development skills or with electronic data processing skills are going to be paid much higher than other candidates due to the demand in the field.

However, the field has always had a problem with outsourcing. Most companies preferred candidates who could work online as it cuts down on their in-house expenditure.

Computer programmers did most of their work on the Internet and they could work from anywhere in the world. This led to companies outsourcing jobs to minimally-trained candidates anywhere in the world in different time zones.

However, in recent years, this trend has reversed. Companies are now willing to source jobs domestically to local workers who work from home resulting in the same cost savings for them.

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Paschal Okafor
Paschal Okafor
Paschal Okafor is the founder of NaijaTechGuide. A Graduate of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Paschal is passionate about Technology and since 2006 has written over 4000 articles covering Mobile Devices, Consumer Electronics, Digital Marketing, Mobile Apps, and Online Services. Over the past 16 years, he has managed to turn a blog that started life on a Google Blogger subdomain into the Largest Technology Blog in Nigeria and quite possibly the largest in Africa. Paschal has been Building, Analyzing, and Maintaining Websites for over 17 years and also shares his wealth of knowledge and experience about building and managing websites on NaijaTechGuide.

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