I’ve been asked a few times over the years how to break into software development as a career. About nine years ago, I switched careers from Technical Writer to Software Developer.

Here are a few things that I reccomend doing to become a Software Developer:

  1. Attend meetups to network. Nine years later, I still correspond with people from my first programming meetup (the Dallas Ruby Brigade).

  2. Pick one high-level language and UI or web framework and go really deep on both. For a first language, I really liked learning Ruby because the Ruby community tends to pick one style and stick to it, which made it easier to learn. It also has an amazing book: “Practical Object Oriented Design in Ruby.” The Ruby on Rails framework is really easy to learn the basics and find jobs. If you already know a dynamic programming language, learn a statically-typed programming language like Java or C#.

  3. Learn some C programming. C is the ancestor of many modern languages. I read “C Programming Absolute Beginner’s Guide” a few years ago and liked it.

  4. Practice coding fundamentals. Entry-level programming interviews will probably expect some demonstration of using an algorithm to solve some well-trod problem. The book “Cracking the Coding Interview” is invaluable and it has a timeline for beginning a coding career. https://codewars.com is great for self-paced practice in a variety of languages. https://adventofcode.com is fun and very challenging. There’s also https://projecteuler.net/.

  5. Read about trends in programming languages, architectures and frameworks. https://news.ycombinator.com is a good source for daily trends, but I also like to read blogs and tech radars. My favorite blogs include https://martinfowler.com and https://blog.codinghorror.com.

  6. Launch a personal project. Don’t think you need to know everything to start your career. Start interviewing as soon as you have a personal project that you can show off. A common first project is a todo list app.