Logically, the goal of most people learning to code is to land an awesome job in a big firm or maybe a startup where they are going to appreciate your expertise and pay accordingly. It is not a secret that programmers are some of the best-remunerated professionals, right there with lawyers and doctors but with one huge advantage.
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Mobility is the name of the game, lawyers, doctors, and most other high-paying jobs are tied to a specific place. To practice law, you need permits that work only in your country or sometimes only for your state, the same thing with medicine. Programmers get to choose where to work because the code you write is universal, it will work in New York just as well as in Buenos Aires, Bali, or wherever else. Moreover, you can work for an American company while living near a Caribbean beach and enjoying the sun.
The Big Question, Where to Get One of Those Awesome Programming Jobs?
The openings for experts in this field are plentiful but the number of candidates grows constantly and it can be quite challenging to land a job, even an internship. A misunderstanding that most people get is that companies should pick you up for an internship any day, after all, they are not paying you, right?
Not quite, to have an intern working, the company should be sure that this intern shortly will start bringing good value and money to the company. When companies hire an intern they invest a lot in that person, a computer, a space in the office, a manager to look after the intern, and many other factors can get very expensive. Companies are very picky about interns because getting the wrong one can cost a lot of money.
What to do? I hear you ask, everyone wants people with experience and even getting in as an intern is very hard! Well, as for any job you can get creative. Having a good CV with tons of projects is something that will make you stand out of the crowd (GitHub account works just as well so get one of those and start filling it up with your projects).
The best part is, you do not need to work somewhere to get projects on your CV. Start writing programs, look for interesting projects online, start creating your code so once the interview comes you will have tons of great stuff to show.
A great way to start with those little projects for your CV is https://codegym.cc, in their courses, they have little games you can create with step-by-step instruction and you end up with quite the little programs you can then use in your job interviews. With a good handful of projects under your belt, you are more likely to get that opening and start your journey as a programmer.
An Unpaid Internship Is Not My Thing, I Need Money to Eat!
The life of most programmers indeed starts with an unpaid internship, where this is awesome for students and people just starting their life. What if you already have rent to pay, or a family to feed? This is a very real situation. Lots of people want to leave their current jobs and enter the awesome and very high-paid world of IT, but what if they cannot stop paying rent or feeding their families while studying how to code and finding their dream job?
The solution is much simpler than you may expect, you do not need to turn everything upside down, burn bridges and leave your current job “Fight-Club-Style” (If you don’t get that reference, do yourself a favor and watch the movie, you are welcome.)
Learning to code is not that difficult and does not take as much time as you may think. Tools like CodeGym and their courses can get you writing programs left and right in about a year from now if you put in somewhere around two hours a day for studying.
A year from now you could be entering your new job as an IT specialist if you start learning today. All you need to do is cut back your TV or Youtube time and invest two hours a day for learning, the course will guide you and make sure you get where you want to get. There is no need to leave your job right now, you can gradually learn and build your CV. Who knows, maybe you could land a paid job right away, it is all up to you and how bad you want it.
An unpaid internship is also a very good option, mainly because those last a couple of months tops. As I mentioned in the first paragraphs, companies invest a lot in inters and it is in their interest to get you up to speed as fast as humanly possible. Your internship may last a couple of months and then you get an offer from the company, if you have a little bit of money saved then you can afford that. Keep in mind, after that internship you are very likely to start making much more money than you were before, so it is worth it.
I Want to Be a Developer, Which Language Should I Choose?
This is a very important question in the life of every developer, which language to pick? After all, that will shape your job opportunities, salary, and potentially your further development as an IT specialist.
Programming languages are a lot like regular languages, each one serves a purpose. If you want to go to France, it would not make sense to learn Chinese, but some languages are more universal and ‘useful’ than others. You could very well communicate in English, for example, whether you are in France, China, or most places on earth.
This is where JAVA comes in, it is not by accident that JAVA is, and has been, one of the most popular languages for decades. Not only is it easier to learn as a first language but the job opportunities with this language are plentiful and Java programmers usually get higher pay-checks. Java gives you a lot of freedom on what you can do. With this language you can solve virtually any program, you can write games, automatize functions, create frameworks, etc, the possibilities are endless.
Besides the fact that Java is such a great language for coding, it also sets up a solid base for future development for you as a professional. Good developers usually know more than one language and Java sets you up for success in that endeavor.
The Logic, frameworks, and overall setup of JAVA are easy enough for anyone to enter and start learning but stretch far enough that after learning it you can easily look at other languages and right away get a very good understanding of how to work with them.
Java Sounds Great, but What Do I Need to Know to Land a Job?
Java, just like any language (programming or human) is a whole universe, and learning it to its fullest may take you several lifetimes, so the logical thing to ask is, how much knowledge is enough to start working as a developer?
Well, we could start with a simpler question, what does it mean to “Know Java”. Pretty much, if you can solve a problem by using Java then you have a good understanding and “knowledge” of it. Based on how complex the problems you can solve with Java are, you can tell how high your level of knowledge or mastery of this language is.
Now let’s cut to the point, what a company will ask you to know to employ you? The short answer is that you should be familiar with the latest versions of Java (it gets updated every once in a while so you need to keep an eye on that). As of summer 2021, the latest version we have is Java 15. A little caveat here, the latest version is usually not the one being used broadly, you should check what the standard is because new versions take some time to be fully adopted.
Right now your best bet is Java 8, so you need to be a master in this version’s Stream API, default interface methods, Lambda expressions, Java Time API, and other major features before applying for a job. You can find a lot more information on that via this link https://codegym.cc/groups/posts/how-long-does-it-take-to-learn-java.
Being a programmer you may need some help with coding assignments. You can pay someone to do your programming homework in any language.
I Am up to Speed With the Latest Java Versions but How Do I Nail My Job Interview?
Tricky question, whether or not you nail your job interview depends on you as much as it depends on the company you are applying for. There are two very big camps when it comes to developer job offerings, and they could not be more different if they tried.
The first camp is those big corporations you dreamed of working at so you can brag to your friends, big-name companies with thousands of employees, and expensive stocks. Companies like that have pre-written procedures and a whole department dedicated to hiring people, HR if you will. The problem is, HR people have no idea of what a developer does or what should be expected of one so all they do is check if you have a computer science degree and how charming you are.
It can be very frustrating for someone passionate about software and coding to go from interview to interview with people, who couldn’t name one programming language, tell you you are not a good fit because of your degree.
This is the reason developers are usually happier and more inspired applying, and working for smaller companies and startups. The hiring process in those companies is much more personal, you will be talking with the people you will be later working with and they appreciate your actual knowledge, initiative, and willingness to learn.
There are great resources if you want to read a little more on this topic, here’s an article where they go in more depth about startups https://www.kevel.co/blog/getting-first-programming-job/
For those who are more into lists and step-by-step instructions, here are a handful of tips for you https://coderanch.com/t/626734/tips-entry-level-Java-developer
Learning to code a creative endeavor, one that requires commitment but is also fun, extremely rewarding, and in high demand. If you want the best chances of landing a job and then further developing your skills, starting with JAVA is your best bet, resources like CodeGym can help you with that (their courses also teach you how to approach Job interviews and help you build an awesome resume with interesting projects so you can land a job quicker).
Once you feel ready to tackle the job market and trust your coding abilities, remember, applying for jobs is a number’s game, apply to as many jobs as it catches your eye, you to interviews and get experience in talking with people, just do not forget to have your GitHub account ready and full of interesting projects to show on the interviews.
Try different companies, big and small, startups, or if you already have some experience you can just pick some projects on the side as a contractor. In any case, what you need to land an awesome job is to love coding, practice a lot, and have a positive mindset.
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