4 steps for how to become a self-taught software engineer

As a self-taught developer myself, I quit twice before getting it right! Coming from a PhD in Life Sciences, with no previous programming knowledge and way above the average age of a college freshman, I started again from the ground up. I made the best out of my failures and learned valuable lessons along the way.

self taught developer

The Self-Taught Programmer is now available as a Udemy course. You can also find more about what I am doing on my blog. In whatever venture you choose, don’t ever forget to take good care of yourself.

AR, VR and Game Dev

Software development is a really complex job that can give great satisfaction to those doing it with passion. I deleted most of my local repositories (thank God there’s Git), I didn’t touch my computer for days, and I just wanted to quit my job. I had to take two weeks of holidays because I didn’t want to code anymore.

Can I become a developer in 6 months?

Learning to code is a marathon, not a 100m sprint.

But (there's a but), if we're talking about changing careers, I think it's totally possible to become a Software Engineer (entry-level or junior) in 6 months or less. You just need to quickly acquire a good set of entry-level skills.

This is where you watch tutorial after tutorial without ever getting your hands dirty. In the tech-sphere, there’s always a shiny new object – something new to learn. Don’t get carried away or overwhelmed, that’s why you’ll be needing a lot of focus. One completed tutorial is better than 10 sampled tutorials.

Switching Careers into IT

Especially if you don’t feel your credentials are going to make you stand out among your competition, your GitHub portfolio can. I’ve had several job interviewers comment about my code in GitHub. Giving that visibility to your work shows others that you’re capable of building tangible things with what you’ve learned.

How long does it take to become a self-taught programmer?


Teaching yourself is the cheapest and most flexible option. It can take as little as 3-6 months or over a year to learn how to code this way, depending on how much time and money you have to dedicate to your education.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of things I needed to know but hadn’t learned yet. My journey learning to program and my experience at my first job as a software engineer were the inspiration for this ASP NET MVC Developer Job Description Template book. Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash.There has been a lot of talk about how everyone defines good developers. They strive to get better and better despite all their achievements and experiences.

Key Takeaways From Self-Taught Developers

Then they leave you with the word without actually explaining how it works. They tell you to go to conferences, meetups, and events. I’ve worked as a software engineer at several companies in Silicon Valley. Most of my work has been focused on data pipelines and full stack web development. To use the method effectively, keep in mind that it’s not just about writing the code for yourself. Soon enough, when you leave your job, there will be other developers who will be handling it.

  • Last but not least, you’re required to join and connect with the relevant online communities of software developers and related ones.
  • Since I started to learn React.js back in 2014, I’ve started to get attracted by the Functional Programming paradigm.
  • What this means is that you can still excel without a formal education.
  • Letting go of the desire to understand everything can help you be more effective with your studies.
  • A year ago, I wrote a small Redis implementation in Node.js, and I needed a fast way to store and retrieve data in vanilla JS.

Join a community of more than 1.7 million readers. A free, bi-monthly email with a roundup of Educative’s top articles and coding tips. Whether you’re an aspiring or experienced developer, we all need to know how to be self-taught in our industry. I was a self-taught developer at 15, and I still am in my 30s.

But for software development, there is a widespread myth among many that you need a degree to work as a developer. The thing with computer-science and software-engineering degrees is that they’re just one of the many entry pathways into a technology-based career. It’s not like the medical sector, where institutional training is required to become a doctor or a nurse. I took an introduction to programming class my freshman year but dropped out because it was too difficult. I learned to program once I graduated, and I found it was easier to learn outside of school because I was free to learn what was most important in practice, not theory.

You can explore various open-source code available over the web to grasp some crucial insight and grow your knowledge. However, reading others’ code not only means taking a look at it instead you’re required to examine and run the code, review the code, do code refactoring, and other practices. Meanwhile, you can opt for platforms like GeeksforGeeks, GitHub, etc. where you can find a huge variety of codes that can help you to gain more learning exposure and enhance your knowledge. Here are 2 good resources to give you an overview of what programming and software development careers are all about.

Upload your projects on GitHub and keep them up-to-date. Most self-taught developers make two common mistakes at the beginning. John got a developer job after having worked as a guitar teacher.

During the interview process, I may be asked to solve some Leetcode or HackerRank problems to show my knowledge about algorithms and data structures. It’s about how descriptive you can get about your projects and tasks in approximately 20–30 words. Don’t bother on the hobbies section unless it’s related or supplements your experiences or the job application in some way. In these cases, you’d want your doctor to hold a relevant degree in medicine from a reputable place.

Tech News & AMA #7

However, what you’re looking for is those one or two connections that you can sustain as a professional-level friendship over the long term. In this episode of GeeksBlabla, we discuss with self-taught developers about their experience, how they get started and how they made it professionally. This could mean several things, whether it relates to the main structure of your app or dividing the modules that are easier to understand. I’d rather have an extra few lines if it means readable and understandable code than a couple of lines that the other developers can’t read.

How do I start coding at zero level?

  1. Figure out why you want to learn to code.
  2. Choose which coding language you want to learn first.
  3. Take online courses.
  4. Watch video tutorials.
  5. Read books and ebooks.
  6. Use tools that make learning to code easier.
  7. Check out how other people code.
  8. Complete coding projects.

Through these communities, you can meet and collaborate with various minded developers across the world that can help you to grow as a developer and master the development skills. It will help you to stay updated with the latest trends in the domain, provide code feedback, share project ideas, and various other aspects. There are various online communities for developers such as Developers Forum, Experts-Exchange, GitHub, etc. that can be taken into consideration to connect with others. As mentioned above, the self-taught learning process doesn’t constrain you to not attend any training programs, etc. And with the same concern, you can consider attending Coding BootCamps as well for your Self-Taught Developer journey. Meanwhile, these coding boot camps enhance your tech skills and make you proficient in coding to solve real-time problems and make a career as a software developer.

What languages and technologies are used in this field? Make a list of the minimum you need to learn to achieve your goal from the previous step. The emphasis is on minimum here, simply because you shouldn’t wait to learn everything in your chosen field before taking the first step towards your goal. This doesn’t mean that you can’t try out new fields or experiment later on in your career, but get started with one. Unfortunately, not everybody who wants to learn to code can afford the money and time commitment that a bootcamp requires. It’s easy to let your learning drag on and on if you don’t have any external pressure pushing you.

This gives you more exposure and could open up a lot of opportunities for you. Here is a list of some global remote tech communities you can join by Bolaji Ayodeji. „The difference between you and those with talent is practice; a lot of it.“ What do you want to know or be able to do at the end of the month? How will you structure your learning per week to be able to achieve that? Web , mobile , desktop, embedded, data analytics, and so on.

self taught developer

The team I am referring to is usually composed of non-tech and tech individuals. Even though not everyone can read code, everyone must be on the same page. For being a proficient Self-Taught Developer, you are required to analyze your skills and knowledge at various stages. And, this can be done through participating in Programming or Coding Contests as it allows you to showcase your development skills and compete with the best minds across the world. There are various renowned platforms that offer these contests such as TopCoder, International Collegiate Programming Contest , Geeks Coding Challenge , and many more.

self taught developer

I’ve also seen developers who are already content, meaning they are good with using C#, C++, and .Net, but they don’t care about the new stuff. They’ve mastered them and become senior developers. https://forexaggregator.com/ For project ideas, check out these fun ones or sign up on DevProjects. DevProjects is a free community where people can learn programming by working on curated projects from different stacks.

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