Build a successful coding career in 10 steps


6 min read

In need of a crash course on how to build a coding career? You’ve come to the right place. We’re bringing you the 10 essential steps you should follow to build a successful career in software development.

new coding career coder at his desk

If you want to change careers and start a coding career, hats off. You’ve chosen a future-proof industry and a lucrative profession – in terms of benefits, salary and great job opportunities.

Still, there must be a ton of question marks in your head. What does it take to become a developer? How can you realize your dreams, and where should you start?

We broke down a simple plan for success into ten steps. Follow these and you’ll have every chance to start a successful coding career.

Table of Contents

Who can build a coding career?

Two main reasons why people think they won’t be able to build a coding career: 

  1. They don’t like math or consider themselves to be bad at math.
  2. They don’t have any previous IT or coding experience.

But you don’t need to be a math prodigy to code. Nor do you have to have multiple years of IT experience. Actually, half of our students start Codecool without knowing anything about coding. Cool, huh? And they’ve all found a job in IT after our Full-Stack Development course.

What you really need, though, is motivation to start your career change and to keep pursuing your dreams. Plus, some basic logic and creative problem-solving skills will come in handy. But more on these later. Let’s start with the first item on our list. To build a coding career, you need to…

coding career, woman works at table

1. Get ready to start from scratch

Even if we don’t know where you are in life right now, dear reader, we know that you’ll benefit from a beginner’s mindset

Starting fresh in any field requires patience. So even if you’re on top of the food chain in your current role, prepare yourself mentally for the change that’ll come with your decision.

Get in the right headspace and prepare to learn and grow personally. And take your strengths and past learnings into account. How could they play a role in your new coding career? You’d be surprised how much value your experience has, even if it’s not directly related to IT.

2. Brush up your English

To have a coding career, you’ll have to have some English skills. Why?

Because programming languages are designed to be used in English. Also, most resources, documents, commands, configuration files, error messages, and conversations with other developers will most likely be in English, too.

Moreover, if you know English professionally, you won’t be geographically linked to your home country in the job market. Consider that at least medium-level English will be required so that you can cope with daily challenges in your new job as a programmer.

coding career community vibe

3. Find your community

You’ll need a support system to navigate work-life in your new coding career better.

So try and find your community – mentors, who can answer your questions, and students, who’re on the same path as you. Otherwise, the road can get quite lonely.

We recommend you begin to learn to code with mentors and choose a training where you have a great community vibe. But it’s up to you to decide. What’s sure, though, is that it takes work to get started in IT alone. So it’s better to find your tribe in time.

4. Own your learning journey

The more work you put into your own learning, the better the result will be. This is one of our pivotal philosophies at Codecool.

When you’re used to a traditional school system and a frontal teaching method (hence lectures from teachers and a grading system), you can get used to outside forces pushing you to tackle challenges.

However, changing careers, and picking a more practice-based training will mean that you’ll need to become your own motivator. There won’t be teachers chasing you. And there won’t be bad grades that you need to “fix” to move forward.

The outcome will all be up to you and the work you put in. So get ready to be your own cheerleader, and start to build a growth mindset. You’ll make mistakes and start from scratch, but if you own your learning journey, it will all be worth it in the end.

coding career success

5. Stack up programming languages

It seems as if a new programming language pops up every day, so it can get frustrating to decide what to begin with.

A good beginner’s tactic is to go for a full-stack programming course where you’ll learn the most in-demand ones. Programming schools put together tried-and-tested curriculums, and know what employers are looking for.

Look for courses and schools where you can pick a specialization in the process. By the time you’ll get to pick, you’ll already know which language or IT career interests you best.

6. Build a solid project portfolio

HR people will be interested in your project portfolio for tech jobs besides checking out your CV. But while writing a CV takes hours, building a solid portfolio takes much more time, effort, and planning.

You may wonder how to create a project portfolio while learning to code. How come even juniors are expected to have experience?

The trick is to work on projects during your learning journey and document them. Even if they are not real-life projects. Involve real, lifelike challenges, and carry them out professionally. Later on, these beginner projects will give you significant advantages.

coding career agile work

7. Go agile

Most IT development projects are carried out in an agile environment, by agile teams, following agile ceremonies, and building on agile frameworks. You may have heard of Scrum already. Well, that’s one of these agile methodologies or frameworks, actually one of the most popular ones.

If you want to be successful in your new job, you better be familiar with agile by the time your start.

You can find a ton of resources on the topic online, but reading about it will never be quite like actually doing the thing. So we recommend finding a training where you get to practice agile software development, or incorporating agile into your learning journey and projects.

8. Boost your soft skills

You could be a programming prodigy and still miss out on great job offers due to missing soft skills. So focus on improving them right from the start!

By soft skills, we mean things like effective, assertive communication, great time management and presentation skills, and the ability to give and receive feedback well. These are all key to becoming successful in your career because employers rarely look for lone coding superstars. They want great team players, who can represent their companies well.

So great soft skills mixed with the necessary technical knowledge will make you stand out from the crowd in the job market for sure.

coding career soft skills

9. Take a job guarantee

It’s one thing to get ready for a new programmer’s job, and it’s a totally different piece of cake to find and land it.

You can choose to do it on your own, and do all the research, selection, preparations, applications, interviews, waiting, and follow-up by yourself. Or you can decide to save yourself from the trouble and pick a programming course with a job guarantee. This way, you’ll only need to show up to interviews, perform well and accept the offer you like best.

Research and compare available opportunities, offers, and guarantees in advance. Then go for the best one that fits your means and needs.

10. Play it wise with the financials

If you plan to go for an immersive full-time programming course you’re planning a serious investment. If you could use financial help, consider your options before committing.

Check out available student loans and government programs. Look out for scholarships and flexible payment options offered by programming schools. A smart post-payment setup, for example, will let you pay your tuition fees only later when you’re already earning a programmer’s salary.

On top of post-payment, look for the option to pay in installments. This way, you’ll be able to finance your studies afterward from your monthly income.

Ready for your new career?

Check out our 10-month Full-Stack Development course.

You’ll learn in-demand programming languages, the most important technologies, and even valuable soft skills from our pro mentors while working on your kick-ass project portfolio.

You’ll become a developer that will impress at interviews and in your new job from day one.

Ready for the ride and the application? Hit apply.

Got questions? Reach out! Can’t wait to talk to you soon.

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