How to Restart Your Developer Career After a Long Break
Software development has been one of the cream areas which has offered ample job opportunities to individuals having strong coding skills. Importantly, it is not just professionals having educational qualifications who are making strides in the industry; individuals with coding skills are tremendously successful.
Does this sound like a trip down the memory lane? Was there a time when you did really well in the coding field but some situations coerced you to go in a different direction? Do HTML tags, algorithms, APIs, or SQL commands beckon you with a smile?
Then, this post is a must-read for you.
If you have left your programming career years back and your fingers are hankering to hit the keyboard to code, there are specific steps you can take to restart your career. I will share these with you, offering concrete tips on how to get back to doing what you like!
Why You Should Say Hello Again to Programming
During the past decade, with technology increasing by leaps and bounds, there have been limitless opportunities in the development arena.
According to statistics provided by Slashdata, the number of software developers across the world was 18.9 million and this number is going to augment by 26.1 million in 2030, taking the total number of developers to 45 million. One can only imagine the growth of the number of jobs the software development field is going to offer.
With such encouraging statistics, anyone with the right skills can be on tap to join the programming field. If you have been mulling over rejoining the IT development industry, then no time can be better than this time.
With the world hit by COVID 19 and expected to face repercussions of it for the next 5 years, what can be better than a job that gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere in the world? Yes, with technology at the peak of advancement, it is now easy for professionals to work and collaborate online.
Moreover, with the growth of digital platforms fueled by the current pandemic, there’s a lot of places where coding would be needed. People and businesses are feeling the need to connect more at the digital level, due to the fear present in the atmosphere.
A number of platforms would evolve which would let users perform certain activities virtually which were previously done only offline. This would usher in the demand for developers who would assist in the development of such platforms.
Let us look at how you can rejoin the coding sector.
Surveying the Coding Landscape
There have been a number of instances when professional developers had to give up their coding career and pursue other fields, due to professional, personal, or financial reasons. You may have been coerced to take up other fields while your heart was always in coding. However, change is the only constant thing in life.
If you feel that you would like to jump back to the coding area, keeping in view the number of growth opportunities it offers and the flexibility to work from anywhere, then the IT field is here to welcome you with open arms.
You can go for an entry level job in a small development firm if you are ready to forgo a decline in salary graph and it has been years since you last coded. However, if the gap in your career is not too long—say, less than five years—and you believe that your skills are still fresh, then you may go for something higher than entry-level.
Although some big companies adopt the traditional approach of hiring only those professionals who hold a degree, a number of companies have made exceptions by hiring talented individuals with a strong portfolio and effective programming skills.
With the number of certified coding courses, tutorials, bootcamps, etc. expanding, there is an increase in the number of individuals who are making a comeback to the coding arena. Those who had previously abandoned coding, due to their own reasons, wish to get help from these tools and begin coding once again.
Assess Your Coding Aptitude
The area of coding is vast. There are a number of areas in which programming is carried out. Right from software development to creating a AR/VR based app, the field is ever-expanding. Hence, at the outset, you need to assess the programming skills that you possess. Furthermore, you also need to check if these skills match up to the emerging new technologies. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What programming skills do I possess?
- Which of these skills have relevance in the new age programming era?
- Do I possess the ability to apply these skills to the evolving technologies?
You can find the list of latest technologies and the skills needed to work on them, here.
Choose a Platform/Language
Once you have assessed the skills that you have, you can narrow your research area to the platform or language you will be choosing. This is because it will help you remain focused on a specific area or the language which you are confident in. Usually, selecting more than one platform will disperse your attention and you may start feeling that you are on the wrong path. For instance, if I restart learning any two languages, say French and Portugese, it might be possible that I may jumble up certain vocabularies which may make you feel confused or lost.
As Lucius Annaeus Seneca once said –
“If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.”
Restarting your career in the IT development field needs you to choose a specific area of development in which your skills are applicable, and you are interested to proceed. This blog can give you an insight into different areas of IT development and skills needed to pursue them.
Once you do thorough research in your first step and discover the areas in which you possess skills, it’s time to choose your field based on the results you secured in the previous step.
For instance, if you are good at PHP and also remember most of its intricacies, then you can choose web development. However, if you have confidence in your Java abilities then you may choose to go for web-based dynamic apps or become a Java Android developer.
Update Your Knowledge
In the next step, you will have to possess complete knowledge about the new updates introduced in your chosen area. A review of all the changes that took place since you last coded or programmed using the platform/language will give you a clear idea about the knowledge goals you need to achieve.
You must explore the areas where you need to increase knowledge—either by reading or practicing that area of programming.
For instance, if you want to restart your Android development career after a break, then you can view all the changes that occurred in the platform after you took a hiatus. This will help you trace your path back and reach again to the forefront.
If need be, join online courses and/or other tutorials which offer a refresher to professionals who are looking to restart their career. This will help you fill the knowledge gap. There are a number of e-learning platforms which provide personalized courses to meet your training needs. You can explore any of the following to upgrade your knowledge:
Start Networking With Fellow Developers
There are a number of languages which are open-source—such as PHP, for example—and so they have a community of developers. Once you join these online communities, you will have complete updates about events, coding resources, jobs, mentorship, and much more.
You will not only remain informed about the upcoming job opportunities, but will also keep your skills honed as new updates are often shared amid developers. Moreover, being part of a community will give you an opportunity to network with other developers, further enhancing your knowledge about job openings, events, or recruitment in general.
Update Your Curriculum Vitae and Nail a Job
Once you are done deciding your field, it’s time to get into some action by utilizing the knowledge you gained. Prep up your CV so that you can showcase your talent as well as portfolio.
There are a number of ways in which you can present your CV. Indeed, you can showcase your skills by smartly applying them to the presentation of your CV, thus impressing your prospective employer. For instance, if you have chosen HTML or DHTML as your area of development, you can create a dynamic web page which showcases your curriculum vitae. Updating your CV and searching for a job are the two major steps which can lead to restarting your developer career.
Be patient with your job search. However, honesty always pays. You must positively showcase your career gap in the CV instead of beating around the bush. For instance, you can show them that the gap in your career was the time which you utilized to improve your skills or increase your knowledge.
To name one example, if you took a break to join the writing field, you can state that it has helped improve your typing speed and accuracy, which are time-saving and essential for coding. At the beginning, you may find it tough to find a job opportunity. However, networking and exploring different companies for job opportunities can help you land your dream job.
Last but not least, an important aspect in all the above steps is determination. There will be times when you will feel like giving up, whether trying to decide your programming niche or finding a job. However, you should be determined and confident to restart your career as a developer. Provided you don’t give up, you will surely give a new head start to your novel journey as a professional developer.
Restarting a Rewarding Career Is Possible
With determination and a strong will to give a fresh start to your career, and no matter how long the break, you can surely succeed. Moving in one and the right direction are the key things to keep your head clear and get results from your efforts.
Simply put, if you would like to walk again through the lanes of coding, then all that you need to do is assess the IT skills you possess, shortlist a platform or language as per your coding aptitude, upgrade your knowledge, start getting in touch with network developers, reframe your CV to showcase the skills you acquired during the career break to find a job, and be determined to pursue your chosen path.
Once you follow all these steps while steering clear of all your qualms, a rewarding career in the development field shall surely embrace you.