In this way, programming is a lot like learning an instrument. If you are new to software development, whether starting as a professional or even just learning as a student, you probably find the culture intimidating. You probably expected me to lead with this advice, and indeed it’s both the most common and the most valuable suggestion for improving programming skills. What is less evident are the reasons that reading others’ code is so important. This level of work may not be obvious when you look at the work of the best developers. Throwing away code and starting over can be a powerful way to include “make it better” into your personal workflow.
Use the table of contents below to jump to a specific section. Or, if you’d rather jump right into training, check out our Back-End Engineer Career Path. After you’ve learned the required skills, built a portfolio, and created a resume, you’ll be well on your way to a career as a Back-End Developer. If you need help getting started, take a look through our programming courses to start learning any of the languages listed above.
Include A List Of Projects
A career summary briefly introduces your technical skills, work experience, and interests. It’s the first thing hiring managers will see after your contact information, and it’s a great way to highlight your desire to work in the industry. Or, if you’re looking for more guidance on your journey, check out our Back-End Engineer Career Path. You’ll also earn a certificate upon completion that you can feature in your resume.
The whiteboarding exercise allows you to solve problems and showcase your technical skills. Again, it’s more about the process, not the solution. In other words, it’s more about how you got to the answer than the answer itself. Think of this as being similar to conducting a job search. Just as you type in certain keywords to look for specific positions, recruiters search for developers with certain programming skills.
Focus on the programming fundamentals, because the basics never change; pay more attention to architecture than to programming. If you feel certain that there’s only one right way to do something, it’s probably time for a reality check. Dogma can hamper your ability to learn new things, and make you slow to adapt to change.
Learn How To Debug
Search for these questions online, write them down, then practice your answers. This will spark your thought process and help you sound more confident when faced with those questions during your interview. The length of time it takes to become a Back-End Developer varies from person to person. If you’re already familiar with a couple of programming languages, you’ll progress quicker than someone new to programming altogether. So let me share eight actionable guidelines that can act as a flowchart to improving your programming skills. These can be projects you completed during your coursework or on the job.
Include A Skills Page
A great way to deepen your abilities is to purposefully try to break your own code. This post was updated from a previous version published in February 2016. Code,learning, reading, and collaborationimages courtesy of Shutterstock.com. Practicing this helps you get into the head of the person who wrote the software, which can improve your empathy.
Part of that process is defining what “better” means. The answer varies with each application, but the process doesn’t. Answer questions out loud just as you would when preparing for a presentation. Get friends and family members to ask you questions and ask them for feedback. This will help you avoid making unnecessary mistakes that could potentially cost you a job. Potential employers and clients who view your portfolio need to know how to contact you.
But to stop once it’s “done” is like taking a snapshot and expecting it to be a work of art. Great programmers know that the first iteration is just the first iteration.
Committing a set amount of time to your learning can accelerate the process, so set a goal for how many hours you’d like to dedicate to your coding each week. These goals can always be adjusted as needed. Let’s take a closer look at the skills you’ll need as a Back-End Developer.
Add your technical skills just below your career summary. This will make them more visible and improve their chances of matching the keywords searched for by recruiters’ software. The exact requirements to become a Back-End Developer will vary between companies, but generally, you’ll need a solid understanding of programming concepts and technical skills. Below, we’ll explore a Back-End Developer’s role and required skills, then show you how to become one without a degree.
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You’ll want to include your name, address, email, and phone number, along with any professional social media accounts. Remember, back-end development is a very competitive field, so you’ll want your resume to stand out. Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to include in your Back-End Developer resume. Mid-level Back-End Developers have between four and six years of experience and can expect an average of $92,237. Senior developers with over six years of experience make about $123,077.
Practicing an instrument diverges from programming, because you can pick up a piece of music and play that same piece over-and-over until you get better. Programming doesn’t work quite the same way, because once you’ve solved a problem, you can, at best, iterate on that solution to improve it. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of New Relic. Any solutions offered by the author are environment-specific and not part of the commercial solutions or support offered by New Relic. Please join us exclusively at the Explorers Hub (discuss.newrelic.com) for questions and support related to this blog post.
When you come across a problem you can solve in your head, find a new way to solve that same problem. Don’t even worry if it’s not the best way, just expand your skills with new ideas. I think this is the most important step, and the most important skill to learn. Every time you practice, practice until you make a mistake. Basically keep your eyes open in your own life for things that you would like to work better, or try to improve on something you already use.
- Make your cover letter short and to the point.
- You might be lucky enough to find a personal mentor whom you can trust to guide you in everything from coding techniques to career decisions.
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Throughout your career, you’ll often find yourself working on a team with other developers. To do so, you’ll need to know how to share ideas, accept and delegate responsibilities, and perform collaborative technical practices like pair programming and code review. Write out your answers, whether in a personal journal, a blog, in a code review process, or a community forum with other developers. It’s all part of that introspection I mentioned earlier, helping you to dispassionately judge your own strengths and weaknesses.
If you include it with a resume, format it in block style like you would a business letter. If you’re sending it as an email, be sure to include an opening salutation like “Dear,” followed by the recipient’s name, and a complimentary close such as “Sincerely.” A cover letter is what introduces you to a recruiter or prospective employer.
You don’t even need a degree, as employers are primarily concerned with candidates having the knowledge and skills they’ll need to succeed in the role. Now that you have some ideas, get out there and start practicing! The longer you wait, the longer before you’ll feel confident enough to take the next steps in your developer career. When you have tried everything, and preferably after you have a working solution, now is the best time to seek advice. Look to peers and senior developers to review your code.
Agile Development Skills
Add your email address and links to any of your social media profiles. Make sure these are pages you frequently update to show that they’re still active. Rather than writing everything out in complete sentences, concentrate on actionable items or terms that briefly describe your experience like those used in the example above. The best way to learn is to find a problem you want to solve, and try to solve it yourself. Maybe you want to automate something, or calculate some value regularly. That’s an important step, but to really expand your knowledge, you need to regularly find new challenges.
A common recommendation is to look for Open Source projects you can help on. I definitely recommend digging into the FOSS culture, as it will expose you to a wide and varied set of skills and viewpoints. You might be lucky enough to find a personal mentor whom you can trust to guide you in everything from coding techniques to career decisions.
If you are learning how to play an instrument, it’s no question for most people that you can’t get anywhere until you pick up the instrument and try to play it. Instrument practice is something most musicians do every day. Programming languages, tools, and methodologies come and go. That’s why it pays to get as much experience as you can with as many languages and frameworks as possible.
That’s an easy career improvement goal to give oneself, but “become a kick-ass programmer” is not a simple goal. For one thing, saying, “I want to get better” assumes that you recognize what “better” looks like. Plus, too many Studies of Code for Better Practices people aim for improvement without any sense of how to get there. Be creative when building your portfolio website. It should look professional while showing off your personality. Make your cover letter short and to the point.
Your initial interview can take place either over the phone or in person. You’ll likely speak with the hiring manager or the leader of the team you’d be joining. Here’s where you can tell visitors a little about yourself. Include how long you’ve been working in the industry, why you chose this field, and past employers or clients.