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90: What’s it really like to be a coder, Careers in Software Development

29/11/2018

What do you know about careers in coding?  I sat down with three people working in the field (You can find out more about them in the notes below) who shared their experiences and top tips for becoming a coder.

1. What skills or attributes make a good coder?

You might be surprised to learn what skills you DON’T need to be a coder: you don’t need to be good at maths or science. As long as you’re determined to learn coding that's enough to get you going.

You DO need “soft” skills like listening, teamwork and communications. The old stereotype of a nerdy coder who doesn't connect with others is not a reflection of the industry today.

You also need to be persistent to overcome obstacles. In programming, things probably won’t work the first time but if you keep trying, you will eventually find the solution. It might take ten more tries but being persistent will pay off.

If you like to solve problems and unravel mysteries, you’ll probably make a good coder.

2. Do you need to go to university to be a Coder?

The short answer is no, you don’t need a university degree to be a coder and there are entry level jobs which don’t require degrees. So, how to begin?

Get started now. Learn to code—you can even teach yourself with online resources, books and videos or sign up for a coding school. Then, prepare to learn on the job.

What matters is how good you are rather than a degree.

3. What programming language should I learn?

JavaScript is an excellent starting point for anyone wanting to get into coding.

Python is also useful and its syntax is very like English.

C++ and C Sharp are especially good for games.

4. What don’t you like or what are the biggest challenges in a coding career?

Because coding is a collaborative process, one frustration cited by everyone was having the patience required to wait for some other part of the process to be completed before being able to jump in and do your own bit.

Generally, criticism was hard to find. All the panelists love their jobs!

5. Why do you love your job?

Answers like: Programming lets you do whatever you want to do; every bit of code you write is solving a puzzle; you can use creativity and logic in your work; you work with small teams and there is diversity in the work itself.

The overall theme everyone shares is the satisfaction that comes from starting a project, working from the ground up and seeing the results: something that works and that customers enjoy

See the links below for details on how to:

Improve your coding. Access online courses and websites like Codewars which gives you puzzles to solve. It’s a great resource: https://www.codewars.com/

Enter competitions.
A great one for prospective coders aged 10-18 is the BAFTA Young Games Designer Competition: http://ygd.bafta.org/

Our panel:Nele is a 3D artist an experienced developer and knows about coding in a VR and games context, she currently creates characters and assets for VR games – Coopinnovations. She works for https://www.coopinnovations.co.uk/ which provides immersive worlds and the technology that drives them.

Nele works in 3D games

Tiago is a developer for PanIntelligence, business intelligence software to help businesses make better decisions from their data. He builds features and fixes problems.

Tiago works in business intelligence software

Jo - graduated July 2017 from Northcoders and has worked as a Software Developer since August 2017. Currently she's working at LADBible Group, which is redefining entertainment and news for a social generation.

Jo graduated from Northcoders and works at LADBible

A Big Thank You!

Thank you for joining the webinar and thank you to our panellists Jo, Tiago and Nele (and Neil who jumped in to talk about cyber security), who also provided the links below.

The recording is now on Youtube at https://youtu.be/l62-FZS5lGA

Please sign up for updates of new webinars at www.thefutureofwork.org.uk

Useful links from the webinar.

CoderDojo: Learn technology in an informal and friendly environment. Find one close to you.

If you need help with a problem the Harrogate Coder Dojo github page lets you ask for help via github issues

For games:

Regarding cyber-security, Neil suggested:

Attending cyber security conferences such as OWASP's AppSec or BSides, which happens all around the world (there's actually one in Leeds in January).

They often look for volunteers if cost is an issue although the BSides ones are typically very low cost.

Also nearly all the talks will be put on YouTube, often the same day so that's great if you can't attend.

To do some hacking yourself you could start with the OWASP's Juice Shop.

Events

Courses (from a recent NCSC newsletter)
Teachers who want more info should contact: Rebecca Auterson [email protected] Thank you Rebecca!

CyberFirst Adventurers courses that students can sign up for on the website currently.

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/information/cyberfirst-courses

Bursary schemes for year 13 students

https://recruitmentservices.applicationtrack.com/vx/lang-en-GB/mobile-0/appcentre-3/brand-4/xf-bd8ab30ccf84/candidate/so/pm/1/pl/6/opp/1527-CyberFirst-Student-Bursary-and-Development-Scheme-2019-Ref-1527/en-GB

Also, the amazing Cyber Discovery platform is live again now for years 10-13, and it also available to Scottish students too this year.  https://www.joincyberdiscovery.com/

Cybersecurity e-book sale on Humble Bundle: https://www.humblebundle.com/books/cybersecurity-packt-books

Thanks for joining us and we look forward to having you on our webinars soon!  Sign up for updates at http://www.thefutureofwork.org.uk

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