It seems almost impossible to imagine you can go from zero to hero in a period of six months. Surely it takes longer than that to become a programmer? Not necessarily. Yusuf Isaacs, a HyperionDev graduate, became an Android App developer within that time period. Straight after his course, he landed a job at Injini, Africa’s first edtech incubator.
Yusuf says: ‘I completed the Mobile Developer Bootcamp. I took this course because I wanted to get a better understanding of Android and I was also interested in working as an Android Developer. The job demand in mobile development is high and I knew I would command a much higher salary.’
Where did successful programmers learn how to code?
Yusuf is not the only success story – there are many others. A Reddit thread about the success rate among self-taught programmers makes this clear. Interestingly, the success stories seem to fall into two categories:
- Those who are entirely self-taught: This group of people seem to have taught themselves a specific language, for example Python or Java. (Python is actually a relatively easy computer language to learn; it’s also the fastest growing language in high-income countries such as the US, UK, Germany and Canada.) In fact, 86,7% of developers say that they taught themselves a new language, tool or framework, according to 2018’s Stack Overflow Survey.
- People who have signed up for online courses: It seems that a Full Stack Web Developer bootcamp is a popular option for those who chose a more formal method of learning, because you cover many languages. You would, for example, cover the basics like HTML and CSS, as well as intermediate languages like Python, SQL and Java.
Even though bootcamps “are typically perceived as a way for newcomers to transition into a career as a software developer,” states Stack Overflow’s 2018 Survey, many professional developers, 45,5%, were actually developers before they started the bootcamp. Why? Quite simply, many developers decide during their career that they need to learn new technologies or upgrade their skills to retain relevancy.
The bottom line
If you’re looking for a bottom line, it’s this: you might not be able to become an expert programmer in 6 months, but you can certainly reach a basic level of competency. This is a point frequently made on many online forums like Quora.
In fact, as pointed out by the Stack Overflow Developer Survey of 2018, a common misconception about developers is that they’ve been programming since childhood. Although there is a wide range of experience among developers who work in the industry, a full third of professional developers only learned to code in the past five years.
And you don’t need to get to 100% – i.e. knowing everything about your selected programming languages – before moving onto the next stage of your life as a professional programmer. ‘For most skills,’ states a piece in Medium, ‘including programming, the closer you get to 100%, the longer it takes to get there.’ You rather need to think about the 20% that will get you 80% of the results.
Tips for succeeding in the developer job market
So what should you be doing to pick up the sufficient skills to land you a programming job as soon as possible? Here are some ideas:
- Learn HTML and CSS first. Buy a domain and put up a website, which will be your portfolio. Edit and update it as your skills increase.
- Put up small projects on GitHub, a software development platform that allows you to manage your coding projects. Employers could well check out your GitHub profile. Read more about GitHub here.
- Learn to use Stack Overflow, which you will most likely use for research and to get solutions to your programming problems.
- Use a command line to do stuff like automating specific tasks or diagnosing and even correcting some Windows problems, or, for example, finding all the files you worked on last month. Try using it instead of a GUI (graphical user interface).
- Attend local meet-ups and hackathons. Start networking and learning the lingo.
- Apply to recruitment agencies early – here’s how to ace the tech interview.
- Create a LinkedIn profile – make it look professional.
Lastly, when people ask what you do, tell them you’re a programmer. Part of forming a new identity is convincing yourself. Read more HyperionDev success stories here. You can become a programmer in 6 months; remember, others have done it before. You can also check out our newly released Graduate Outcomes Report, where we dive into the employment and career outcomes of our graduates, as well as their salary increases and job opportunities after completing their coding bootcamp.
Editor’s note: This was post was originally published 19 March 2018 and has been updated 18 February 2019.