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Old 12-02-18, 11:02 AM
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How to become a qualified software developer?

I am 27 years old and have been into PCís for around 8 years. It started with just gaming as I moved away from consoles so I could run mods on Bethesda games. That led to writing mods and learning basic coding in Papyrus. Those coding skills led to me designing Visual Basic powered Excel systems for my job; I am a Quality Management Administrator for a small manufacturing company in Somerset, UK. Basically itís my job to implement various standards such as ISO 9001 and BS EN 9100 into the company to achieve certification; this of course includes system design.

Iíve now successfully developed a variety of systems for my workplace. These range from advanced Excel sheets with automated reporting structures to full blown interfaces more akin to real software. Of course what Iíve done this far isnít really that advanced and itís all Excel/VBA based but Iím at the point that I want to broaden my skills in a qualified manner. While I have a lot of experience itís fairly niche and all self-taught. I could get Visual Studio or similar and start playing but it wouldnít actually improve my position. As my HR Officer keeps reminding me Iím not actually qualified for much as I walked away from school with some decent GCSEís (mostly A* to B) and some AS levels not worth mentioning. I didnít go to university due to the insane debt.

My work place is reluctant to send me on any computer based courses as itís not seen to be particularly important. Iím making do and achieving success with what I have and the company works so why spend money, right? I canít even get basic statistical analysis and process control training which would be hugely beneficial when going for things like aerospace standards. Anyway Iíve decided to take matters into my own hands so I can eventually leave this company and start doing something I actually find interesting and fun with the correct tools.

So, what qualifications would I need to be recognised as a qualified software developer? Whereís a good place to start? As Iím going to be self-funding money will definitely be the primary bottleneck to my advancement but I just want to get this ball rolling. Iíve spent too long stuck in a rut of routine and depression. Something needs to change, and fast.

Many thanks in advance.

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Old 12-02-18, 11:22 AM
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The term "qualified software developer" is somewhat of an outdated term IMO. Sure you still need some qualifications for enterprise level jobs (mainly because employers trust that scheme) but at the end of the day you don't need any qualifications to be considered a professional software developer, you just need to be paid for it.

If you want to become a professional dev rather than "qualified" then the best way is to do just do stuff. Make a portfolio, start helping out on community projects, try interviewing for junior dev positions at companies that don't enforce a strict degree requirement (they are out there). You may take a salary hit for joining at a lower position due to lack of qualifications for a couple of years but they may be on par with current salary, I don't know. Once you have experience qualifications barely matter, who knows maybe your current experience is valued enough at some software houses to get you into a job straight away. I'm more familiar with the games industry than software.

There are other courses out there such as Udacity which you can study for free and pay to get one of their "nanodegrees". I'm unsure how much employers value them so I'd opt for the free option. You may be able to go to Uni, you'd have to work it out based on your current qualifications, debt isn't a massive issue in this country as you only pay back when you can afford to.

Also, don't listen to HR, of course they'd say that, they don't have to pay you as much then.
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Old 12-02-18, 02:00 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I’ve taken a look at Udacity and it seems to be a good place to start. I’ll give the “Intro to Computer Science” course a whirl as a measuring stick of where I’m currently at and go from there.

I’ve got myself on some alert lists for junior software developer jobs as well. I doubt I’ll have the confidence to actually go for any until I’ve built some personal projects. I’m one of those people that absolutely underestimates themselves and their ability; I assume I can’t do anything if I’m not a perfect master at it. What it will do though is give me an idea of what qualifications these positions are looking at, or least skills they want so I can guide my self-education.

Time to start mixing learning into my gaming time.
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Old 12-02-18, 02:49 PM
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Some jobs just want people who know how to code, have experience working professionally and have used source control. It sounds like you've done most of them but I would definitely look at learning C# proficiently as this is heavily used in the software industry. Python is a scripting language that's used a lot. Decent experience in both of these would be a good start.
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Old 12-02-18, 11:20 PM
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Java/C#/Python are very popular in the current trends of programming for software developers.

If you plan on doing Web Development then you need HTML/CSS(both of which are not programming languages) and Javascript with some sort of framework knowledge to integrate backend of websites. You could do PHP which is a purely web based OOP language, or a Node.js framework, or even Python.

Since you like gaming if you want to do that then C++ is easily the language to learn.

Should also note for your work it sounds like you could really benefit from SQL. You would also need to know C# but both of them combined is powerful for massive databases with large spreadsheets in Excel.

I'm not a developer, just a student in Computer Science so this is based off what my professors say and research.
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Old 13-02-18, 01:32 PM
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Good call on HTML/CSS, thank you. It’s been a good 15 years if not longer since I looked at web-design properly (had a small project when I was in year 6 at primary school) so it’s a glaring hole in my knowledge base. I spent a week looking into PHP/SQL a few years ago but it never went anywhere in my workplace so I had to drop it in a professional capacity; I never followed up on it on a personal level.

The “Introduction to Computer Science” Udacity course I’ve started introduces Python but I’m hoping my current knowledge will allow me to walk the course without any hassle and give me a confidence booster to get into the major languages I’ll need. It’s one thing being able to write a spell for Skyrim in Papyrus or automate some Excel work with Visual Basic and whole other level to use Java/Python/C# to generate a piece of standalone software. At least, that’s the way it feels right now.

I’m still not sure of whether I want to go down the game design/development route or not. I love gaming and the modding community but I worry that making that my job will take away from the ability to enjoy it as a hobby. It started getting a bit that way when attempting more complex mods for Skyrim, to the point I can’t really play Skyrim anymore as I spent so much time modding and testing (not to mention dealing with ignorant/rude/entitled users). I just cannot properly appreciate the game for what it is any more.
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Old 13-02-18, 02:20 PM
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I would decide if you want to do web development or software development. Sure having an understanding/exposure to both is great but you don't need to master both to get a job.

Honestly it's easier than ever to write programs now. I'd recommend searching YouTube for C# tutorial series getting the basics down, see how they differ from VBA then do another one that is "How to make a ... in C#" there are lots of them and you'll learns loads. Once you've got a solid understanding of C# you can start writing your own apps. You could also look at making games in Unity (because it uses C#) if you have some ideas you want to try out. If you're proficient in 3D maths and understand how to make games you could be employed as a Unity developer, some indy studios will use this engine exclusively. However, I think start with the basics first. Let us know how you get on.
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Old 13-02-18, 03:07 PM
NeverBackDown NeverBackDown is offline
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I agree with SPS in which you should really decide what area of expertise you'd like to focus on. Web Development is very different from Software Development. While technically both are the same they do have pretty different ways of working out.

Web Development is easier and therefore you don't make as much. However it's far easier to just start your own business and be a freelancer and work from home. So it's a trade-off but you can still make good money.

Software Development as in programs that run locally or massive projects like games is much more complex. So you get paid more but you pretty much have an office job. Some people like it others don't. Up to you. If you want to do game development you need math. Lots of it too. For 3Dmaths like SPS said you would need Calculus and Physics and linear Algebra. I'm not sure about linear algebra but still all of it is high level math.

If you want to use Python which is becoming very very popular yet again you would have tons of jobs. You could do AI, ML, Deep Learning, and data analysis which btw is a massive growing industry that pays insane money.

There's never ending areas. Just focus on one imo
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Old 13-02-18, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeverBackDown View Post
I agree with SPS in which you should really decide what area of expertise you'd like to focus on. Web Development is very different from Software Development. While technically both are the same they do have pretty different ways of working out.

Web Development is easier and therefore you don't make as much. However it's far easier to just start your own business and be a freelancer and work from home. So it's a trade-off but you can still make good money.

Software Development as in programs that run locally or massive projects like games is much more complex. So you get paid more but you pretty much have an office job. Some people like it others don't. Up to you. If you want to do game development you need math. Lots of it too. For 3Dmaths like SPS said you would need Calculus and Physics and linear Algebra. I'm not sure about linear algebra but still all of it is high level math.

If you want to use Python which is becoming very very popular yet again you would have tons of jobs. You could do AI, ML, Deep Learning, and data analysis which btw is a massive growing industry that pays insane money.

There's never ending areas. Just focus on one imo
Hmm I'd revise the following statements a bit differently IMO.

Quote:
Web Development is easier and therefore you don't make as much
Sure it's easier to learn at the start but I would not say it's necessarily easier at a professional level. Both have their equally hard challenges.

Quote:
So you get paid more but you pretty much have an office job
In the UK I'm fairly certain the highest paid programming jobs are PHP developers, mainly due to the demand and the business that require them are probably more profitable.
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Old 13-02-18, 05:02 PM
NeverBackDown NeverBackDown is offline
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Originally Posted by SPS View Post
Hmm I'd revise the following statements a bit differently IMO.



Sure it's easier to learn at the start but I would not say it's necessarily easier at a professional level. Both have their equally hard challenges.



In the UK I'm fairly certain the highest paid programming jobs are PHP developers, mainly due to the demand and the business that require them are probably more profitable.
I'm not saying either is easy. Just in comparison. For example making a webpage like an online store is quite a challenge as is making a game. The complexity would probably still go to the game if it was something like PUBG or other large game.

For web development the geography/location for where you work is extremely important for salaries as that is what it's based off of. In some areas you may have 0 jobs so demand and pay will reflect that. Whereas in your example PHP is in high demand so they pay more in the UK, but maybe they don't have a need for Python, so Python pay will be less(example). In the US where I live web devs don't get paid much but go SouthEast to LA and you get paid a massive amount more even though it's only about a 12 mile change of scenery.
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