Time to face the facts and debunk the myths about becoming a software developer. You’ve probably picked up many things about what it’s like to be a software developer, but there are lots of myths floating around. Let’s look at five of those myths about becoming a software developer and we’ll tell you the real deal.
Myth #1 I Need a Computer Science Degree to Learn to Code
This is a common misconception. Becoming a software developer doesn’t entail putting your life on hold for three to four years. In fact, a recent survey of over 1000 Human Resource managers conducted by Indeed, a well-known job site, found that 72% of graduates from bootcamps are ‘just as prepared’ and likely to be high performers as those holding degrees. In addition, 12% of HR managers surveyed thought bootcamp graduates are more prepared and more likely to be high performers than those with Computer Science degrees.
Also, remember, a bootcamp is much shorter than a degree (compare a six month programme with three to four years) and the sole goal of a bootcamp is ‘to take in students with minimal coding knowledge and shoot them back out a few months later as employable software engineers,’ according to Business Insider, whereas a degree at a University or College would still be a stepping stone to securing a programming jobs, but the goals of the degree are likely to be more abstract and theoretical.
Myth #2 I’m Too Old to Learn to Code
This is a well-worn myth. You’ve heard the saying, ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’. Actually, that’s not true either! Adult dogs are actually easier to train than puppies, because they have the ability to focus for longer periods of time. The same could well hold true for developers.
You can see from the Stack Overflow Developer Report 2018, which surveyed over 100 000 developers, that 25% of programmers are over the age of 35. Becoming a software developer is possible at any age.
Myth #3 It Will Take Ages To Learn to Code Properly
You may have heard of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10 000 hour rule. According to Gladwell, ‘in an incredible number of fields … you need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 hours before you get good.’ But a new Princeton study says that it depends on the domain, and in some domains – like chess, tennis or classical music, where the rules remain static – this is more likely to hold true than in others.
Software Development, luckily, appears to be a field you can enter any stage. A full third of professional developers on Stack Overflow only learned to code within the past five years. In fact, almost 12% of developers who work in the industry only learnt to code in the past two years.
Image Source: https://insights.stackoverflow.com/survey/2018/#developer-profile-years-since-learning-to-code
Myth #4 I Won’t Be Able To Afford To Pay For A Bootcamp
You’re thinking, ‘I won’t be able to afford to learn to code.’ However, a university degree might be expensive, but bootcamps and online courses are likely to be a lot more affordable. Also, here are some useful strategies to help you pay for your bootcamp:
- Try for a scholarship – many bootcamps actually offer scholarships if you come from an under-represented group, such as women or persons-of-colour, in tech. Check out some bootcamp scholarships on Coding Report.
- Think about crowdfunding your bootcamp. Here are some of the best crowdfunding sites online including Indiegogo and GoFundMe.
- Many bootcamps offer different funding plans, from paying a reduced amount upfront to paying off the course fees over a long duration. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Speak to your employer about a work sponsorship. You will need to show how becoming a software developer will offer direct advantages to your company.
(Read about some other ways you can prepare for an online bootcamp.)
Myth #5 I’m Going To Be Bored. Tech Jobs Are About Sitting In Front Of A Computer All Day
This is a common myth, perpetuated by movies: the computer geek sitting behind his screen tapping away on a screen with old pizza boxes strewn around his desk.
Don’t be fooled. The 50 Best Jobs in America report, published by Glassdoor, found that 40% of those jobs are in tech. The report looked at factors such as salary, job demand and job satisfaction. Of those jobs in tech, many of them involve training, marketing, dealing with people or organisational skills.
Think about an Analytics Manager, job #7 in tech, who uses an understanding of the industry as well as customers and tech knowledge to make multiple business decisions such as which products to sell to which customers. Or a front-end engineer, job #5 in tech, who well definitely use code but will also deal with a wide variety of people from customers to content writers. Tech work is as varied as you want it to be. Every company uses tech and needs tech-savvy people in their workplace.