As we enter a technology-driven era, students no longer have to attend certain graduation programs to become well-versed programmers or developers. As long as you have a passion for programming, you can learn from various resources (both online and offline) to become a Self-Taught Developer. This collection of methods and resources can be used to teach yourself coding skills without any curriculum constraints. In the meantime, this journey as a self-taught developer required a lot of commitment and consistency!
According to the statistics, around 65-70% of developers consider themselves self-taught innovators, and the number is proliferating. Although self-taught developers don’t attend a school or follow a mentor, they generally aren’t dependent on any particular person or platform to master their development skills, so they can follow various learning methods to become proficient Self-Taught Developers. Here are a few significant benefits of being a Self-Taught Developer:
Self-taught developers tend to be more experienced as they are not required to follow any particular curriculum to master programming or development skills;
In addition, besides development, self-taught developers know various other areas such as design, deployment, etc;
Self-taught developers have an extensive portfolio, because they create several projects in the learning process, participate in various competitions, etc.
Now, let’s look at the most common and practical methods to enhance your skills and knowledge in development.
Choose a Niche
The first step in your path as a self-taught developer is to choose a niche. This ensures that you don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It restricts your learning and enables you to focus on a small segment in order to establish an entrance point.
No matter how trite it may sound, books are still the primary source of knowledge in any field. However, all aspiring self-taught developers should start off the path by reading relevant books. You may find it difficult to find important information about programming and software development anywhere else, but reading up-to-date and high-quality books will give you a detailed and comprehensive introduction to the world of programming. A few developer books are recommended, such as Clean Code by Robert S. Martin, The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas, and Game Programming Gems by Mark DeLoura.
Courses & Online Tutorials
Self-taught developers benefit significantly from online learning. A wide range of online resources is available today, such as YouTube videos, tutorials, courses, etc., which can enhance your skills. To master the development skills, you may also choose relevant online platforms such as GeeksforGeeks, which offer free and paid tutorials and courses. To gain more learning exposure, you can also attend a few webinars and watch some live sessions.
While self-taught learning does not restrict you from participating in training programmes, you can also attend coding bootcamps for your Self-Taught Developer voyage. As a result of these coding bootcamps, you will be able to enhance your tech skills and become proficient in the field. Having graduated from such a bootcamp opens up opportunities for working in some of the industry’s top players like Konga, Jumia, Paystack, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, etc.
Learn from Other People’s Code
Reading other people’s codes is one of the most effective and widely used learning techniques by Self-Taught Developers. You can explore various open-source principles available over the web to grasp some crucial insight and grow your knowledge. However, you’re required to examine and run the code, review it, and do code refactoring, in addition to other practices.
Developing your skills and knowledge at various stages is essential to becoming a proficient Self-Taught Developer. It is also possible to showcase your development skills through coding contests, as they allow you to compete with the best minds worldwide. Many reputable platforms offer these contests, including TopCoder and International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). Furthermore, you gain many ravishing career opportunities through these contests, including rankings, badges, scholarships, and prizes.
Apply the Obtained Knowledge
Even though you may have read hundreds of coding books and taken dozens of development courses, if you don’t know how to apply all those concepts and knowledge practically, they are useless to you! The ability to build projects is vital for self-taught developers because it validates their knowledge, gives them confidence, and encourages them. To begin with, you do not need to build a complex app, for example, a text editor, a calculator, a snake/chess game, and then move on to more complex ones.
Join Relevant Online Communities
In addition to joining and connecting with relevant online software developer communities, you must get involved in related ones. By joining these communities, you can connect and collaborate with a wide range of skilled developers worldwide who can help you grow as a developer yourself. Additionally, it will keep you updated on all recent developments in the industry, offer code feedback, and facilitate project idea sharing. To network, developers can look at many online forums and groups like StackOverflow, Developers Forum, Hashnode, Experts-Exchange, GitHub, etc.
As you can see, it is possible to become a proficient Self-Taught Developer through various primary learning methods. Other than these, you can also select your own learning methods, but regardless of what you choose, you must work hard and remain consistent to succeed!