Ways of becoming a professional programmer

professional programmer
Programming is one of the lucrative jobs globally. Nearly 80% own mobile phones and the highest percentage of this population access internet on their phones. The statistics push organizations to build their online presence through customized websites and applications. Consequently, the demand for professional programmers increases every year. If you are thinking of building a career in this field, you are thinking in the right direction. Here are some of the ways of becoming a professional programmer.

Learn the basics of programming

If you have not studied programming, the first step is to learn the basics including programming languages such as HTML and CSS. Learn different types of programming, and programming technologies or tools as well. You can register for crash courses in a local college or take online lessons. Most online tutors offer video lessons to help beginners understand the concepts fast.
Browse websites and applications

Familiarize yourself with different types of websites including social, personal, data mining, corporate, and informational websites among others. View the design and structure of each website. View the design and functionality of different desktop and mobile applications as well.

Take a graphics design course

Clients expect a complete website or application from a professional programmer. Learning graphics design enhances your competitiveness as a programmer. Learn how to use graphics software.
Learn internet protocols

Your clients will access your websites and applications online. Professional programmers require knowledge in internet protocols and structures including HTTP, POP3, and SMTP among others. Learn how web browsing software and servers work. The knowledge will help you build functional websites and assist your clients when websites develop technical issues.

Practice with simple websites and applications

After learning the basics of programming, internet protocols, and graphics, start creating your own websites. Put the knowledge into practice. You will understand most of the concepts perfectly when you apply them to a real website.

Learn client scripting language

The most popular client-side scripting language is JavaScript. The language is compatible with most browsers. Familiarize with this and other scripting languages.

Take advanced courses in programming language

Do not settle for the basic programming languages. Once you master the basics and apply them on your website, take advanced lessons. Remember your goal is to become a professional programmer. Basic knowledge qualifies you for entry jobs and projects. Apply the advanced concepts on your website or pilot applications to test your understanding.

Learn the concepts of visual programming

Visual programming concepts apply to desktop applications. You need this knowledge to create functional applications. Familiarize yourself with desktop applications or software and learn their functions. Start with event-driven programming since visual programming in most cases relies on events.

Create pilot software or applications

Similar to web programming, you will understand the concepts of applications programming when you apply them to real applications. Create pilot software and apply the visual programming concepts you have learned. Start with simple projects and move to advanced software when you have mastered all the concepts.

Explore game programming

You do not have to follow the same trend as other programmers. You can differentiate yourself by learning game programming. In addition to accessing websites and applications, mobile phone users spend hours every day playing games on their devices. You may need to take extra language and graphics lessons to become a professional game programmer. However, game programming uses most of the concepts of desktop applications programming.

Advance to core programming

As you advance your knowledge and understanding of programming concepts and languages, you can explore core programming. Core or package programmers create code units for other programmers. For this advanced level, you may need to enroll in a software engineering program to learn the relevant programming languages.

Study systems programming

If you want to stand out as a professional programmer, learn systems programming. You will learn the science of programming instead of applying its concepts in real projects. You can train other programmers to apply the concepts instead of working directly with clients.

Learn from other programmers

Continuous learning is important because new concepts and tools emerge every other day. The previous steps involve learning on your own and directly from your tutor. You will learn much more and probably understand programming better when you interact with other programmers. Join discussion groups and forums to connect with other professionals. You can learn from experienced programmers by reading their materials such as books, magazines, journal entries, and blogs.
Build your portfolio

Create a personal portfolio with all the websites and applications you have developed in the learning process. The portfolio should include all the courses you have completed as well. If you are unsure about your pilot projects, create one professional website and application. Apply all the advanced concepts you have learned. You can ask professional programmers to assess the website and application before sending them to potential employers.

Apply for programming jobs

Look for opportunities to apply your knowledge and earn from it. Send your portfolio to the best software companies in the country. Do not shy away from internships especially if you have basic knowledge in programming. Such opportunities introduce you to the real world of programming. You will learn how to work in a team of programmers and deliver satisfactory products to clients.
Geoffrey Nevine — IT Services and IT Consulting

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