My Experiences Working as a Programmer
Category : General
One of the reasons so many people go into computer programming is because of the healthy job market. I learned programming for the same reasons.
I did have a passion for the subject matter, but it helped that a healthy job market was waiting for me when I graduated. But no matter the health of the job market, getting started in the industry is a challenging process.
Here is how I went from not knowing how to code to landing my first job.
Put in the Hours and Find a Teacher
Learning computer programming is not an easy process. Anyone who thinks they can learn a programming language in a few weeks is kidding themselves. It takes a lot of hard work, overcoming frustration and long nights.
When I first started, I will admit that I encountered many struggles. Even when I was making progress, I felt it was too slow. What changed for me was getting a teacher.
Sure, it is possible to learn programming through a self-taught process. Many of my colleagues learned that way. Bu it takes longer and is not for everyone.
If you are like me, then you may prefer when someone is guiding you through the learning process. It certainly helped me. With a teacher, I was learning far quicker and making great strides.
Understand Good vs. Bad Jobs
It is tempting to apply for every single programming job available. I started doing that at first. I was sending my resume everywhere that I had a chance of getting an interview. But that was a mistake.
Like any industry, there are plenty of bad programming jobs. Avoiding those jobs is a great way to begin a career in this profession.
There are too many digital agencies that hire programmers to churn out websites by volume. So much bad code is involved in that process, because it is all about getting the job done quickly.
It is how my first job went. I worked for a fairly large digital agency. I was so excited at first. But I quickly realized that we spent less than two months maintaining a single website project, which meant lots of bad code and little time to learn.
Find jobs where the company will be working with fewer clients. The work is more in-depth, as you end up spending more time on a single project. When I worked at such companies, I found that I was learning so much more about coding.
If there is one bit of advice I can give to someone who wants to find their first job in programming, I would tell them to avoid freelancing. Unless there is an urgent need to make money when in between jobs, coders should not go into freelancing.
Most clients pay very badly and expect perfect work, while finding clients can take up as much time as working for them.
I wish I had been more patient. I spent too many months working bad programming jobs where I barely learned anything. It is great to feel wanted, but it is better to wait an extra month for the right opportunity.