Improving as a Software Developer: How to Get to the Next Level

Software development is not just a lucrative career choice. Rather, it’s a skill set that has essentially created this modern, digital civilization we all are living in at the moment. Whether it’s the smartphone applications that we rely on so heavily these days or the banking software used by our most trusted financial institutions, software and code are everywhere. What all this means is that you have chosen a fine career path already, and as long as you are actually good at what you do, it’s pretty much a guaranteed fact that you won’t ever be out of a job for too long!

On the other hand, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do better. Even if you have an excellent background in software development and a good job right now, it is quite likely that there is an opportunity to do even better. Check out the following tips and see if there isn’t something that you are missing out on.

Expanding Beyond Your Expertise in Mobile App Development

A frequent mistake made by Android and iOS app developers is that of concentrating on only data representation or API assimilation. If you are good at assimilation, then that’s great, but in order to grow as a mobile app developer, it’s essential to be just as good in data representation as well.

The general idea is that whatever your field of work or platform, mastering all aspects of it is crucial for a software programmer to transcend his/her initial limits. Take your time or join a specialized crash course if you must, but comprehensive knowledge often determines a code’s quality and utility. Speaking of comprehensive knowledge, that’s actually the next point.

Comprehensive Understanding: Closing Knowledge Gaps

There is practically no room for knowledge gaps in a software programmer’s work. Any good professional in any field of work has to be thorough, but a software developer’s life is more complicated than just that! A single missed/wrong/extra input can pretty much drive the coder crazy, but you probably know that far too well already. Knowledge gaps, on the other hand, are far worse because unlike a silly mistake or a typo, developers can’t correct what they don’t even have an understanding of.

To prevent such scenarios, make sure that knowledge gaps in regard to the following are nonexistent, before starting or taking on a project.

  • Operating System (OS)
  • Programming language(s) necessary
  • APIs necessary for the project
  • User Interface (UI), aka Front End
  • Server End, aka Back End
  • Data Storage and data center
  • Network
  • Virtualization Layers in between the storage and the network
  • The hardware resources

Experience alone can teach you about certain interactions, but your information base should be sound and comprehensive, to begin with.

Pursue Higher Education in a Prospective Field of Software Development

The more qualifications and skills you have in a technical field, the higher your pay usually is. However, since higher-level software development courses require a significant investment in time and money, make sure that the course is actually worth your time. It should be able to teach you something new, but most importantly for career growth, that knowledge should also make you more valuable as a software professional.

A good example would be a course that’s geared towards working with and developing advanced Artificial Intelligence. Every one of the largest automotive manufacturers is now recruiting autonomous car engineers and software developers at an aggressive rate to become one of the first companies to launch a Level 4 or Level 5 self-driving car in the market.

Even setting aside the tremendous future prospects, car manufacturers also need skilled software developers and automotive engineers to improve and maintain the Level 1 and Level 2 automation features, which are already found in top tier modern cars today.

This makes a masters in electrical and computer engineering, one of the best graduate programs to complete for software developers. In fact, the ECE-Advanced Mobility program at Kettering University is one of the first masters in electrical and computer engineering courses to help software developers specialize in mobility application development, computer system integration and AI-powered robotics for autonomous vehicles.

Simpler Languages are Easier to Learn and Can be More Useful

A sound base in C, C++, Java, etc. will always hold value because they are the core base on which a lot of today’s computer languages and infrastructures are built on. However, a more modern and much easier language like Python could be even more useful to a software developer working with web applications and desktop applications.

As a coder, you likely have a decent understanding of the core languages already, so if you decide to learn something new to advance your career beyond its current scope, let it be Python for the following practical reasons.

  • Based on the English language, it’s easier to learn, read, write, use, maintain and update
  • Python supports Linux, Windows and macOS seamlessly, being an interpreted programming language
  • Recompilation is unnecessary or minimal for using the same code across multiple OS
  • Immediate checking and correcting are easy, further cutting down on project completion times
  • Python has an extensive library of modules to reduce the need for writing codes
  • SL4A will even allow you to use Python while developing Android apps

Simply put, Python makes life easier for software developers and simplifies future development prospects as well.

Good Programming Etiquettes: Build a Positive Reputation in the Industry

Fresh coders may not realize it, but the way you code creates an impression in the long run. That is the kind of technical reputation which matters in this sector, so keep the following points in mind.

  • Compositions and interfaces work better for object-oriented codes
  • Inherited codes are best avoided to improve long-term verifiability and reusability
  • Eliminate unnecessary design pattern usage; use what you need
  • Deep-nested code is trouble; stick to shallow codes as much as possible

These will help you to leave a trail of good programming etiquettes, which makes it easier for others to follow up on your work and be impressed. Coupled with the rest of the tips on this list, it’s safe to say that this completes a brief but intelligent guide for software developers to enhance their career prospects for an even brighter future.

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