software developer career tipsIn today’s competitive and constantly changing job market, becoming a software developer can help you create a stable career. However, it is not enough to learn how to code. The computer software industry evolves all the time, so you need to be prepared.

Get a Degree

It is easier to find success and consistent work as a software developer with a degree, and more companies are starting to require one. Unfortunately, a bachelor’s degree may not be enough anymore to land higher paying work and management level jobs. Getting a master’s degree can increase your salary by an additional $17,000 per year. If you live in an area with a larger concentration of developers, having a master’s degree can also give you an edge over the competition.

According to Maryville University, the median pay for software developers is $102,280, and job growth is expected to increase by 17 percent in the future. This is the perfect time to focus on your education, so you will be prepared for the expanding market.

Keep Learning Outside the Classroom

Once you have a degree, it’s important to keep learning. Whether you attend software conferences on a regular basis or read industry articles, there are different ways to study and gather new information. Some of the most successful software developers continue to practice and experiment long after they are finished with their textbooks. The key is to make learning an active part of your life.

Network All the Time

Even if you have a steady job as a software developer, there is no guarantee that it will last forever. Unfortunately, even large companies can fold and leave a pile of layoff notices on their employees’ desks. This is why you have to network with other developers and potential employers all the time. According to Meetup, there are 1,273 Meetups and software engineering groups around the world, so you should be able to find one near you.

Create an Online Presence

Although networking with others in person is important, you do not want to neglect your online presence. Many software developers have found that creating a GitHub account and posting their code for others to see can help them improve their skills and learn more. Other options to consider include having your own website, building strong social media profiles and joining conversations on Quora, StackOverflow and other websites.

Consider Specializing

Some software developers are successful as generalists, but specializing can also be smart. When you examine jobs posted on Indeed, you will notice that specialists tend to be paid more. They are also in higher demand and are more likely to get bonuses. Some specialization options include mobile development, UX design, web development, video game design and cloud development.

You can have a great and fulfilling career as a software developer. From getting a degree to networking all the time, there are steps you can take to find steady work that pays well. Companies will always need developers.

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