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Tim Huynh

What Exactly Is A Software Programmer and Why Should I Care?

1 May 2018 - 4 min read

Working in software is one of the biggest and high demand jobs in the world these days. I have friends and even relatives who work in accounting but are planning to move to software. Nevertheless, when I say I work in IT, sometimes I got this response: "Hey, my daugther spilled water on her laptop, can you fix it for her?"…. I was speechless.

So, once and for all, let’s pull up the definition from Wikipedia: "A programmer, developer, dev, coder, or software engineer is a person who creates computer software like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg"  . From that definition, it is clear as day that programmers do not fix computers, but rather write software that runs on it. That’s a very clear difference.

Now that we know who a programmer is and their responsibility, let’s take a look at some great benefits being one. After reading this post, you will understand why people are making a career change to software.

Reason #1: Outstanding Job Prospects

These days, it is a well-known fact that if you are working on IT in general and programming specifically, chances are you are always in demand. There are plenty of trustworthy sources that indicate so. According to the Australian government's job outlook website, the number of jobs in the past five years has grown strongly, and VERY STRONG growth is expected in the future. If you become a software/web developer or any related field, you can work in virtually any industries as all types of business will require a software developer to help create and maintain their products.

It's not just in Australia that has been witnessing this movement, released a list of top 50 jobs in America in 2017. Several of them are sitting under the software development category such as DevOps Engineer, Software Engineer, Mobile Developer and Database Administrator (Database is something you will see daily if you are a software/web developer).

There are plenty of countries in Asia region such as Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, etc. who are willing to pay big bucks for good people who can write code and maintain their existing applications.

If your company has international offices then traveling to client-side or even to a different country can be on the card too. It is because from time to time, your clients will require your technical expertise on their side. If you like to combine travel with work and have a few years of experience (so your employer can feel comfortable sending you out there), being a developer can almost guarantee you this opportunity.

Reason #2: Fun to Write, Rewarding when Solved

From my more than seven years of experience writing code that serves various clients, it feels pretty good when you face a problem, tackle it head-on and solve it. Eventually, as you keep solving more complicated problems, you will grow self-confidence in your ability. It is an important attribute that many of us may lack, especially early in our career.

Cool Kid

Reason #3: Career Progression is Plenty

If you think that: "Well, the pay and job are good and all but I have no plan to stay a programmer for the rest of my life,", then you are in for a pleasant surprise!

The good news for you is you don't have to stay a programmer forever if you don't want to. In fact, there are plenty different career paths that you can take. It is the privilege that you have when working in IT, which may not be the case for other industries.

For instance, after a few years of experience, you can become a Business Analyst who works more on the client side, a Project Manager who manages projects or a Technical Consultant who provides technical expertise to clients (I was a technical consultant after a few years working as a programmer).

If you have an independent streak (like myself ;)), you can work on freelance projects to make extra income and then do it full-time if things go well. Even better, you can start your own business and build your own piece of software, which leads to my next point.

Reason #4: Run Your Own Start-Up

If you feel confident and you have a business idea that you want to bring to the world, learning to code may be exactly what you need to launch your idea. Even if you will eventually delegate the programming task to others on your team, it is still a good skill to have so you can assist your team when necessary (who knows right? Early-stage startup’s life can be pretty crazy ;)).

Reason #5: Build Valuable Skill Set

This one is my favorite reason because I have experienced the effect of programming did to me after years of working as a developer. Thank god, they are good changes. So, if you have done programming for a while, you will likely improve these skills:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving
    Want to become smarter after solving a challenging problem? Being a programmer can help you with that. Because as a programmer, you often face with real-world problems that you need to solve, it will eventually help you to think more logically when tackling an issue. The task of programming will also force you to come up with a suitable technical solution. These activities will flex your brain. As with any other muscles, the more you use your brain, the "smarter" it will become.

  • Organisational skill
    When you work as a programmer, it is quite usual to be given multiple tasks to work on. To be an effective programmer, you will eventually develop the ability to organize and prioritize tasks. It is a great skill to have when you move up the career ladder in the future. If you want to become a manager one day, organizing is one of the skills you want to master as early as possible.

Wrapping Up

As a programmer myself, I understand the challenges when you first pick up the skill. That is why it is my mission is to help you to get started and see that positively changes your future career. Please leave a comment about what you think of my article or simply what’s in your mind right now.

Alright then, I think that’s it for today. See you in another post. Have a good day. :-)

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Tim Huynh, Founder of CodeStrengthen

Tim is also a Full-Stack developer and instructor at CodeStrengthen who is passionate about educating the future workforce.