What is like to be a software developer?

You might think that a software developer life is boring, you might think that we are looking at a computer screen the whole day. It is not true actually, I am a software developer myself, so I can tell you that software developer life is more colorful.

How I started my career as a developer?

The very beginning

Well, everything started 4 years ago, as I was fascinated by science. My brother who is a software developer too told me about “Arduino” and I was excited about it. So few days passed and I was already making my first mini-car robot which had external lighting. It was able to navigate itself and was controlled through an Android app from a phone through “Bluetooth”. It was an amazing project at that time. After some time I lost my interest in “Arduino” Developing. Days passed and after a few months and I got interested in programming again. I thought hmm, “Arduino” things cost‘s some money, but why I can‘t just code, it won‘t cost anything. So after some time, I started programming in C++, but I like visuals more, I‘m more front-end developer than back-end. I like to see stuff that I develop. So C++ bored me fast and my brother gave me some ideas about developing in JAVA.

And guess what…

I think then I found what I was always looking for. As I remember the first thing that I searched was, what can I do with JAVA and found that Android is based on JAVA. After a little thinking, I got an idea that I could make Android Apps and see whatever I code in my own phone. I was amazed at how much information about Android Development you can find on the internet, the community of Android developers is huge. After some months of learning Android Development, I started my first project. It was a super simple app in which you can measure GPS speed, pretty accurately measure 0-100km/h speed and some more functionality. I worked on my own projects for 2 years, until I started studying.

How I started working as a programmer

So I studied for about 3 months and thought maybe I could start to work as a programmer? I posted my CV and… Only a day passed before I got a few offers. I was so excited. I went for a job interview and they hired me. What I can tell is actually, in studies you get a piece of very basic knowledge about software development but when you work your learning curve jumps up like bitcoin stocks at the end of 2017. So I can assure you, to work as software developer studies are not necessary, however, they will give you the most important thing the basics.

How to get ready for a job interview?

If you want to guarantee yourself over other competitors, make sure to prepare for a job interview as much as you can. What I am personally doing before a job interview is studying requirements for that position. Preparing for every point in requirement is not necessary, just prepare for main requirements. You will learn other skills while you will work. Analyze their product find drawbacks and think about how you would fix it. What I have done in my second company was analyzing their product, I found a lot of bugs and cons of their products and made a list of them, I wrote them on paper and when I went to a job interview I gave it to my recruiter before leaving a room and next day they hired me.  Moreover, be confident, don’t show fear or they will rush you with questions. Confidence in a job interview is one of the most important things.

What you should expect while trying to get into software developer position?

Of course, you should expect a lot of challenges. In my practice, every company has its own culture and its own challenges. They will make you stronger and more competitive. Don’t think that programmers are so in-demand that you will be accepted after the first job interview, don’t waste recruiters time if you are not prepared for an interview. Most of the recruiters give tests to do. Most of them include of course a coding test and most of them are logical. You could pass that test, but expect more to come. Because sometimes companies give you more than one test before hiring you to be sure about your competence.

Mistakes a lot of software developers does

Sticking in the same job for too long

A lot of software developers sticks in the same job for too long. Why is it bad? A simple answer would be: you are not learning anything new anymore. As I said earlier, challenges make us much stronger competitors, but staying in the same job won’t give any new challenges for you. Moreover, your salary won’t change dramatically, of course, you can go for salary negotiations, but these will change your salary only a little. Job changing is like salary negotiation itself, you can actually go to a job interview and say this: I got 1000€ in the previous job why should I work for you if I will get the same? Well, they will have to offer you a bigger salary or better perks.

Not writing good documentation or not writing it at all

Good software documentation helps not only others to read your code, but you too. Writing good code is just half of the job. A well-documented code and software show that you clearly understand what you are doing and how the system works. This, of course, increases your reputation as an employee. I have seen that a lot of people ignores this fact. They write code, comes back after a couple of months to their own code and don’t understand how everything works.

My advice for every developer

  • Make sure you know how to use source control, my favorites are GitHub and Bitbucket. There are plenty of tutorials about them, so take the time to learn how to use them.
  • Plan your time, of course sometimes there is less work. But don’t push your deadlines further, because you will get more and more work and they will stack together and you will be out of time. Of course, the software developer is not very intensive if you have a good team lead, but you must plan your time. You can use various tools and methods to plan it so you will know what is left to do, what is done and so on. My most favorite method to plan my time is “KanBan” in which you can clearly prioritize your jobs in one table, one of the best tools for that is “Trello” it is super simple to use and it has a lot of features.
  • If you have free time, go back to your code and upgrade it (don’t forget to keep source control of it), there is always where you can upgrade. Maybe you still haven’t written documentation for your code? Write it! It isn’t neat? When rewrite it! There is always a space to upgrade.
  • Spend your free time creating your own projects this will not only help you to be a better software developer, but you could sell your products or publish them publicly to be better known, it will help you to get a better job in the future.

My own career as a developer

I started my career at a small company in Kaunas. They hired me as an android developer, I worked for 6 months there and got a lot of valuable experience. I worked alone in that company, I mean I was the only one working on Android Projects then. Other employees were PHP, .NET developers. I learned a lot of things, however, the salary was below average for a software developer even for a junior developer, so I lost motivation to work in that company pretty fast. While working in that company I got at a lot of job offers. Only after 2 days, I got hired in another company it was a pretty fresh Lithuanian startup. In this company I felt what is like to be a software developer, you shouldn’t feel constrained in your work environment. Our CEO’s always invited us to play foosball, Xbox games, and many other things.

New connections

During my work in that company, I gained a lot of new connections and this is very important because building a circle of connections grants you a job in the future. You need to take note that every connection is a potential recruiter. It was an outstanding experience to work in that company, but after 6 months I divorced with my girlfriend and felt very upset, it even distracted me from work, so I had to leave it. After a couple months of recovery, I got back on track and sent my CV to another company.

Exactly what I needed

Strangely enough, I got hired even though I could pass only 2 requirements. Well, my confidence could have brought me my success, I felt no fear of being rejected because it was not exactly as I was looking for. In spite of that, I love to work at this company, because it grows me not only as a developer but as a leader too. Currently, I’m attending to various work meets and preparing various tutorials for other employees and these skills are crucial for team-lead. I hope to stay here for about 3-4 years to strongly build my Leadership skills before going forward as I want to get in higher positions.

Conclusion

Software developer life is full of challenges, in spite of that working as a developer is an outstanding experience. To get most of it you have to think forward, never stay in the same place, always seek for a better position, always learn and after some time you will see how your life changed. You will never ever think about software development as a boring job again.

Additional sources about software developing

  • If you would like to know what is a software developer day hour by hour you could read this blog: Toppr Blog
  • A very useful article about what you should know before being a software developer: Ana Ulin Article

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