Software developers are in greater demand than ever before, and there are some steps a young person can take to navigate their future career, says Emmanuel Madzunye, a senior software development lecturer at redAcademy.
“The rise of remote working, e-commerce, artificial intelligence and cloud computing means that software developers are, and will continue to be, at the coalface of the fourth industrial revolution,” said Madzunye.
To best differentiate oneself and stand out among other people with similar qualifications, young people can try to adopt the following skills for the tech industry next year:
Develop a strong understanding of the tech industry and coding languages
It is crucial to know what is happening in terms of the latest technology to keep up to speed in the industry.
Madzunye said that this might be where graduates find it most difficult to adjust to working life as academia is vastly different from the pace and reality of live project teams.
A young person wishing to be successful in a software development career in 2023 and beyond must have a deep passion for computers and technology; following this, they must be willing to read and write lots of code, said Madzunye.
Despite some languages being more important than others, redAcademy recommends that aspirant developers understand:
“It is critical for young developers to incorporate these languages with the latest technologies and industry frameworks; examples include Docker, React.js, Node.js, GitHub, and Microsoft Azure, among others,” said Madzunye.
Madzunye said that developers must be comfortable with change and willing to adapt to ever-changing technology.
“Someone who started their careers in technology 20 or 30 years ago are almost certainly doing things vastly different from how they were taught.” Not being able to do so could lead to you becoming redundant.
A modern software developer must be continuously learning, said Madzunye.
“The ability to research, analyse and implement is crucial. Young people should ensure that their places of learning emphasise research and problem-solving, he added. Programs and platforms being developed today are leaps and bounds ahead of legacy systems less than 10 years old.”
As a result, 2023 will demand that all software developers are comfortable with ongoing research and continuous learning, as this will build resilience and adaptability.
Invest in soft skills
Developing “soft skills”, such as communication and interpersonal skills, alongside hard skills, such as coding, is essential for developers.
Soft skills build strong team relationships, which, in turn, foster higher productivity, creativity and collaboration.
The ability to receive and act on constructive feedback is vital. The whole point of learning is to become better at something, and an inability to invite feedback, both good and bad, from peers and managers will hold a software developer back.
Having well-established soft skills fosters a level of maturity, said Madzunye.
Aspiring developers must spend time in a real-world development team. In the team, they must not be limited to observation but be involved practically.
“Young developers who cut their teeth inside real teams, working on real projects for real customers, will have a step up over their peers,” said Madzunye. “This is because they will be more attractive to potential employers as they don’t need to be taught workplace basics from the beginning and can hit the ground running.”
Key workplace readiness skills include:
- Having individual accountability
- Working within a team
- Being able to meet deadlines and manage time
- Being able to start and continue work without supervision.