How to Develop Coding Skills and Start Your Career
Employers are clamoring for people with skills in coding, software development, computer systems, and data science. In a survey of 4,000 technology recruiters from recruiting platform CodinGame and technical assessment firm CoderPad, 53% of recruiters reported having bigger budgets for recruiting developers in 2022, but nearly 50% of them also reported challenges in finding people who had the right skills to fill positions.
Now more than ever, cultivating, enhancing, and keeping coding skills up-to-date are some of the most valuable actions a person can do to stay competitive in the job market. People with coding skills can pursue a variety of rewarding careers. One of the best ways to gain skills in coding is to attend a bootcamp. Fullstack Academy’s live online coding bootcamps, for example, are a great way to learn in-demand coding skills that can help you launch a fulfilling tech career.
Why Coding Skills Are Important
Sometimes it’s helpful to step back and consider the many reasons coding skills are important. For example, as employers focus more on technology and become increasingly data-driven, the importance of skills in programming and digital literacy will continue to grow. Having strong coding skills can also accelerate an individual’s rise through the technology career ranks and pave the way to more advanced and lucrative positions.
What Can You Do With Coding Skills?
Having coding skills can be advantageous to people who are looking to enhance their career prospects. Career outcomes for individuals with coding skills include software developer, web developer, and computer systems analyst. Individuals with coding skills and experience in the field can also pursue senior or management roles such as senior data analyst or IT manager.
When you acquire skills in coding, you’re building technical knowledge, but at the same time, you’re developing a host of other skills. What you can do with coding skills extends beyond learning programming languages. For example, developing coding skills builds resilience. Successful coding requires determination and a willingness to keep debugging and learning from errors. These experiences help build resilience that individuals can put to work in any challenging environment.
Learning to code also enables individuals to develop skills in areas such as:
Thought processes and attention to detail. The act of coding involves planning, troubleshooting, and identifying potential problems, all of which can enhance individuals’ thought processes. The specificity associated with coding also improves attention to detail and heightens the ability to identify even small errors.
Collaboration and interpersonal skills. Coding isn’t done in isolation, and it often involves working with others, incorporating their input and views, and responding to requests. These encounters enable people to enhance their interpersonal skills and their ability to work in collaboration with others on a team.
Problem-solving. Coding helps people view problems from different perspectives, which can enhance their ability to solve problems. Breaking tasks into smaller segments, a hallmark of coding, is an approach that individuals can also apply to solve difficult problems.
Networking. Coders frequently communicate with each other to share skills and coding advice. This represents a good opportunity to cultivate networking skills.
Types of Coding Skills
Acquiring the skills necessary to code in today’s popular programming languages is critical to success in coding. Coding skills also extend to hard and soft skills that can enhance a person’s ability to craft good code.
Skills in Common Programming Languages
Building valuable skills in coding involves learning programming languages, such as:
Structured Query Language (SQL). SQL is one of the most popular programming languages. Database administrators use SQL to manage relational databases, data analysts use the language to conduct analytical queries, and developers write scripts for data integration (moving data between applications) with it. Learn more about what SQL is.
Python. Python is an efficient general-purpose language that’s great for beginners. The Python syntax is very close to that of the English language, and developers can use it in everything from web development and scientific computing to machine learning.
Java. Java is another popular programming language that has the advantage of portability. For example, Java code written for a notebook computer can easily be moved to code for a mobile device. Programmers use Java to develop modular programs and reusable code; this helps reduce development time and can enhance applications’ longevity.
C. C is a versatile, efficient general-purpose language. The language provides programmers with a great deal of control, and programmers can use C in operating systems, game development, and device drivers.
Hypertext markup language. HTML is a frequently used technology for creating webpages. Its primary purpose is to organize the structure of a webpage.
HTML5. The fifth version of HTML enables coders to use built-in browser features, so they don’t have to develop certain functionality from the ground up. HTML5 also has features that make it easier to incorporate multimedia into webpages.
Cascading Style Sheets. CSS is another technology for webpage creation that focuses on the style of a webpage and page features such as colors and fonts.
Key Hard Coding Skills
No matter what programming languages a person learns, it’s also good to refine certain hard skills. For example, it’s helpful to develop skills in:
Data structures and algorithms (DSA). A data structure is a specific way to organize data so that programs can use the data easily and efficiently. An algorithm is a group of instructions to use data to find the solution to a problem or produce a specific output. Algorithms can search a data structure; they can also do things such as sort, delete, insert, or update data. DSA knowledge can enable programmers to write more efficient and effective code.
Testing. Testing software is crucial in identifying bugs, elevating performance, and reducing the cost of software development. Knowledge of various testing types (for example, stress tests, functional tests, and user acceptance tests) can enable programmers to perfect a product before customers start using it.
Cloud computing. Cloud computing offers a range of benefits, such as scalability, efficiency, security, and cost reduction. Programmers who have cloud computing expertise can bring that advantage to any cloud computing project.
Key Soft Skills in Coding
Developing soft skills can enable programmers to develop good code. Soft skills such as the following are important:
Creativity. Honing creativity can enable a programmer to form new ideas and look at situations from a different angle, both of which are critical in coding.
Analytical thinking. People who think analytically can accomplish tasks efficiently and identify optimal approaches to problem-solving—an ability that’s vital in coding.
Communication. Programmers who can share ideas well and convey information in a compelling way can make great contributions to an organization’s success.
Patience. Building patience can help programmers calm their minds and approach challenges in a composed manner. This can help in overcoming obstacles to constructing good code.
How to Improve Your Coding Skills
Knowing how to improve your coding skills can expand your potential and help you stand out to employers. Many avenues are available to strengthen and expand your skills.
Attend a Coding Bootcamp to Improve Coding Skills
Enrolling in a coding bootcamp can help individuals refine their coding expertise in an immersive, accessible way. Fullstack Academy’s live online bootcamps offer features such as:
Live instruction and real-time demonstration of concepts
Paired exercises in which students collaborate on coding sessions
Opportunities to build a portfolio of projects (for example, an e-commerce website, a hackathon project, or a capstone project)
Career services in areas such as interview preparation, resume writing, and LinkedIn and GitHub profile optimization
SQL-related databases, which include PostgreSQL (also referred to as Postgres), an open-source database system that creates databases that are both easy to administer and scalable.
Node.js, which is both a library and a runtime environment that developers use to run web applications outside of a client’s browser. Using Node.js can accelerate development projects.
APIs (application program interfaces), which enable two pieces of software to communicate, usually through requests and responses. For example, developers can use APIs to integrate new applications with other, pre-existing systems.
Git and GitHub, both of which can aid in software development. Git is a version control system that developers can use to keep track of changes to code, while GitHub is a cloud-based hosting service for Git repositories that developers can use to share code.
Bash, which is a tool that developers use for tasks such as compiling, debugging, and testing code.
VS Code (Visual Studio Code), which is a software editor that can do things such as check code syntax, debug code, and check code into a repository.
Chrome developer tools, which are web developer tools in the Google Chrome browser that developers use to debug, edit webpages, and improve website loading speeds.
A 2022 report by software firm Meratas highlighted some of the greatest advantages of attending an online bootcamp, including the following:
Offers intensive training with a focus on career skills
Is more affordable and takes less time than a traditional college degree program
Provides valuable opportunities to network with peers and instructors
Is available to students in any location
Prepares students to apply their skills in the real world
How to Improve Coding Skills on Your Own
In addition to attending a bootcamp, it’s helpful to know how to improve coding skills on your own time. For example, you can:
Enroll in a prep course
Watch online video tutorials
Read books and e-books about programming languages
Use code editing tools that assist in creating clean code
Review others’ code available through sites such as Searchcode and GitHub
As with many endeavors, practice makes perfect in coding. A 2022 ZDNET article noted that websites such as CodeChef, Coderbyte, and Codewars give people the opportunity to practice coding, offering:
Coding problems to practice solving
Coding challenges and exercises
Coding games and competitions
Code testing and debugging opportunities
Computational problems that combine coding skills with mathematics
How to Include Coding Skills on Your Resume
Most people are building their coding skills with one primary goal in mind: getting a job. To get that coding job, it’s important to know how to include coding skills on your resume.
Resume writing firm TopResume offers this advice for coders:
Prevent your resume from being tossed out by resume bots by keeping it readable and simple, and avoid complicated headers and graphics that the bots can’t translate.
Identify keywords (for example, specific hard and soft skills) in the job description, and include those words in your resume.
Remember to include transferable skills and experience in areas such as time management or attention to detail.
Link your resume to your personal website or online portfolio and to your LinkedIn and GitHub profiles.
Remember to include relevant certifications and completed skills assessments.
Employment website Indeed suggests that when programmers create their resumes, they should do the following:
Place skills at the top of the resume and organize them by positioning the most advanced skills first.
Instead of simply listing skills, categorize them into groups, such as programming languages, operating systems, and tools.
Consider specifying years of experience associated with each skill.
Make it easy for potential employers to follow the resume by formatting information with simple bullets or basic tables that list skills and level of experience.
Incorporate soft skills by noting experience in areas such as working on teams or applying creativity to solve coding problems.
Be honest and transparent, and avoid exaggerating qualifications.
What Jobs Can You Get With Coding Skills?
When you’re working on your resume, it’s helpful to consider what area of information technology you’d like to pursue. Jobs you can get with coding skills span areas such as:
Front-end development, which involves programming what a user interacts with on an application
Back-end development, which involves programming processes that occur in the background or on the server side of an application
Full-stack development, which incorporates both front-end and back-end development
Information security, which entails creating systems to provide security for an organization’s software and networks
Machine learning, which concentrates primarily on developing algorithms for machine learning and artificial intelligence applications
Cloud engineering, which encompasses all facets of cloud computing and cloud development
Career Opportunities With Coding Skills
The extensive career opportunities with coding skills make it possible to work in a wide array of roles in technology. Discussed below are just a few of the positions you can pursue.
Junior developers use their skills in programming languages, databases, and operating systems to write and maintain code, apply software patches, and fix software bugs. They typically work with more senior developers to acquire and expand their skills and experience.
LightcastTM reports that entry-level software developers earned a median annual salary of $83,000 as of January 2023. LightcastTM also projects 17.3% job growth for software developers between 2022 and 2032.
Software developers use their skills in programming, creativity, and analysis to ascertain the needs of users and create software that meets those needs. They also develop models and diagrams to show other programmers what the code for an application should do, suggest software upgrades, and perform maintenance on software.
LightcastTM reports that midlevel software developers with six to eight years of experience earned a median annual salary of $106,300 as of January 2023, with 17.3% projected job growth between 2022 and 2032.
Indeed summarizes the position of web developer as a role in which an individual uses coding skills to design and create websites that are both functional and engaging. Web developers use their skills in areas such as coding, application documentation, and troubleshooting to create websites that are efficient, meet stakeholder goals, and encompass specific style points.
LightcastTM reports that midlevel web developers with six to eight years of experience earned an average annual salary of $102,500 as of January 2023, with 8.4% projected job growth between 2022 and 2032.
Data scientists apply their skills in areas such as coding, statistics, and machine learning to create algorithms to answer questions about business or employ data to better describe business activities and situations. For example, they can make forecasts about business using predictive analytics.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that data scientists earned a median annual salary of $100,910 as of May 2021. It projects 36% job growth for the position between 2021 and 2031.
Computer Systems Analyst
Rather than creating applications and systems, a computer systems analyst examines an organization’s existing systems and designs ways to strengthen and improve them. Using their skills in areas such as data modeling and design, as well as their expertise in computing power and memory, computer systems analysts look for ways to improve how systems serve an organization and how they can operate more efficiently.
The BLS reports that computer systems analysts earned a median annual salary of $99,270 as of May 2021. It projects 9% job growth for the position between 2021 and 2031.
How to Keep Your Coding Skills Current
Technology is always changing, so learning how to keep your coding skills current is critical. GeeksforGeeks, Indeed, and TINYTiny Technologies suggest the following:
Conduct research by reading blogs, newsletters, and information on technology websites. Getting in the habit of devoting about 30 minutes each day to reading about trends and changes in technology can help you stay up-to-date.
Read books about programming languages that you’re already using or you’d like to learn to explore these languages in depth.
Pursue online courses and training that will cover topics you have an interest in, and maintain a plan for future courses or training that will keep your skills current.
Take part in meetups, conferences, and other technology-related events to connect with other coding or tech professionals.
Work on side projects in your spare time to stay active, keep your skills in coding current, and try new technology.
Join a professional organization to become aware of new trends in the field.
Find a mentor who’s knowledgeable about the technology in which you have an interest.
Listen to podcasts on the latest news and advances in technology.
Monitor what startup firms are doing in the areas of technology you’d like to pursue.
Read results from surveys of developers, such as StackOverflow’s annual survey of developers on the tools they are using and the technologies they are learning.
Search job postings on sites such as Indeed and LinkedIn to identify the skills that prospective employers require.
Coding Skills Could Be Your Pathway to a Rewarding Career
Learning to code and continuing to expand and enhance your coding expertise can lead to a host of fulfilling and challenging careers. People with the right technical skills and knowledge have the opportunity to work on the cutting edge of technology and forge advances in the field.
If you have an interest in developing and enhancing your coding skills, explore Fullstack Academy’s live online coding bootcamps to learn how they can help you pursue your professional goals. With engaging instruction, skill-based training, and job-search support, a Fullstack Academy bootcamp could be the key to starting or advancing a technology career. Start on your journey toward a fulfilling career today.
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