The job market is full of app development vacancies, but aspiring coders are a dime a dozen these days. The competition for any entry-level position can be cutthroat.
So, if you’re dead set on becoming a developer yourself, prepare to invest tons of your time and effort into it. Standing out is key to securing a job, and achieving that doesn’t happen overnight. Hard work is what will jumpstart your new career from the get-go.
But what exactly should you do to increase your chances to land a job in app development?
- 1 Choose Your Specialization
- 2 Understand Which Skills You’ll Need to Develop or Improve
- 3 Don’t Limit Yourself to Formal Education Only
- 4 Practice, Practice, Practice
- 5 Focus on Problem-Solving Instead of Memorizing
- 6 Have a Portfolio Ready
- 7 Snoop for Internship & Mentorship Opportunities
- 8 Get Certified
- 9 In Conclusion
Choose Your Specialization
Being a jack of all trades may seem to be a more viable option to increase your employability, but it’s not. That’s because you’d truly be a master of none.
Getting educated in just one niche is already a huge task, let alone becoming proficient in it. No person alive could become a specialist in every development field that exists.
So, choose your platform and future role wisely. Coding for Android isn’t going to be the same as for iOS. Back-end development is also way different from the front-end.
That said, learning the basics of other technologies is still a good investment of your time.
The thing is, there’s no guarantee that your chosen specialization will remain in high demand for years to come. Besides, those basics may come in handy in your daily job, even if you don’t expect that.
Understand Which Skills You’ll Need to Develop or Improve
Once you’ve zeroed in on your future specialization, you’ll need to understand the full scope of competencies required of a beginner in the field. The best way to do it is by snooping around on job search websites and reading real-world job descriptions and requirements.
Here are six basic things that are guaranteed to end up on your curriculum:
coding in at least two programming languages, as well as using their most popular framework and libraries;
- development methodologies like Scrum and Agile;
- software development lifecycle and what it means in practice;
- using development and testing tools and environments;
- creating software that is not just functional but user-friendly too;
- testing and debugging your code.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Formal Education Only
It seems logical to enroll in the bachelor’s program in computer sciences or software engineering if you want to become a developer. Yet, there’s no guarantee you’ll be 100% ready for the job market after graduating.
Instead of focusing on getting a diploma, base your approach to learning on the competencies you need to develop.
There are plenty of free resources that will help you progress. For example, there are Codecademy and Coursera online courses, as well as developer websites like Android Developers.
If you’re already a student, but it’s too late to switch to another major, study on your own.
To make more room for that without negatively impacting your academic excellence, reach out to an essay writing service like EssayWritingService for help. After all, in most cases, your real-life skills will speak volumes, while the degree is insignificant for recruiters.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Online or offline lectures are great for acquiring theoretical knowledge. But theory is only as good as how efficiently you apply it in practice. Here are ways to get some practice:
make it a rule for yourself to write a certain number of lines of code every day;
- come up with a passion project and put your knowledge to work;
- check out freelance platforms like Upwork for real-world tasks;
- join hackathons and coding challenges.
These extracurricular activities will also look good on your resume. They’ll help your application stand out, and that’s what matters.
Focus on Problem-Solving Instead of Memorizing
Any piece of software is created to solve a certain problem for its end users. That’s one reason why problem-solving skills are important.
On the other hand, the daily tasks of any developer are heavily focused on problem-solving. They don’t just mindlessly type memorized expressions all day long.
Think of it this way. Programming languages, frameworks, and development environments are just tools. It’s not just how well you use those tools that matters – it’s how you choose to apply them to every particular situation.
Have a Portfolio Ready
A portfolio is the best way to make your resume stand out in the future. It’s a way to show your experience without actually having to acquire it. All you have to do is be prepared to invest your time in creating it.
You can include your passion project(s), works submitted to a hackathon or coding challenge, or the results of pro bono services. If possible, try to select the works that are the closest to real-world challenges you’ll encounter in the chosen job.
Snoop for Internship & Mentorship Opportunities
Internships and mentorships remain the most viable way to get some real-life work experience. However, there are some significant pitfalls to taking up such an opportunity:
They are mostly unpaid, so make sure you have other sources of income before taking advantage of such experiences.
- They may be as competitive as entry-level positions, so don’t rely on them too much: keep learning on your own;
- Internships may not involve any coding tasks at the beginning, so you might end up elbow-deep in paperwork instead.
While bachelor’s or master’s degrees may not be extremely valuable, certifications are certainly an advantage. They are issued by tech giants like Microsoft, Oracle, and Amazon. Obtaining such certifications isn’t breezy, and that’s why they’re so valued in the job market.
Beware, however: most of them aren’t free to pass. For example, the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certificate will cost you $100. On the other hand, exam organizers also provide plenty of materials to help you prepare for taking the test.
Whichever field you choose for yourself, you can be sure about one thing. It’ll evolve and change at a fast pace. It could happen that what you learned not so long ago is already out of use or old-fashioned. So, make staying up-to-date your number one priority.
And remember: real-world skills trump any piece of paper you get from an educational institution. So, focus on building up your expertise and stop worrying about grades.
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