Jan 23, 2019

How to Become a Computer Programmer

Computer programmers write the code that makes software come to life. Without them, we'd have no operating systems, no word processing programs, no computer games, and none of the software that make both home and business networks an integral part of our lives. All of our hardware would be useless. In today's digital world, learning how to become a computer programmer is more important than ever, as the field is growing and there is a need for people with the right training and experience. If you like to write code or want to learn how, take a look at how to become a computer programmer, step by step.

Build Your Background

Before you even begin your formal training, it's important to learn as much as you can about computers. Whether you're a high school student or an adult looking for a career change, consider checking out the Udacity catalog for related courses, or even earning a related Udacity nanodegree. Take as many classes as you can to learn about computer science, along with as many traditional math and science classes as possible. Since computer programmers are basically learning foreign languages, like Java and C++, a foreign language background may also be helpful.

Get an Education

While a degree isn't absolutely necessary, you'd have to be a super-motivated self-starter to become a computer programmer without one. Consider earning a bachelor's degree in computer science or some type of advanced math. Take as many courses as you can that relate to the career field, such as information technology, design, information systems, and networks. Depending on the industry where you want to work as a computer programmer, you may want to take a few classes that relate to it as well. For example, if you want to work for the banking industry, take some finance classes. If you want to code software for scientists, take some science classes. While a master's degree in a related field isn't necessary, it can definitely help boost your earning potential and the number of jobs available to you.

Become a Code Master

There are so many computer programming languages out there to learn that you'll never understand them all, and that's okay. Most computer programmers pick one or two and become as efficient in them as they possibly can. To make yourself more marketable, pick one of the most common ones, like Java or C++.

Never Stop Learning

Just because you've mastered a code, earned a degree, or even gotten a job, that doesn't mean you should stop learning. Just look at all the changes in the computer industry that have taken place in the last two decades. More changes are sure to come, and you need to stay on top of what's going on in your industry. Read blogs, earn certifications, enroll in nanodegree programs, see your favorite industry leaders talk, apply for internships, and subscribe to industry magazines and newsletters.