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How do I Become a Programmer?

Article Details
  • Written By: Vanessa Harvey
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Images By: ビッグアップジャパン, Photo_Ma, Ivailo Milenkov
  • Last Modified Date: 03 May 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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In order to become a programmer, also referred to as a software developer, you will need to learn at least one programming language well enough to develop computer software. It generally is considered a good idea to know the type of software you would like to develop or write because programming languages typically are chosen according to the task they are to perform. All programming languages have some elements in common; for example, mathematical order of operations and "if ... else" statements are basically the same regardless of the languages in question, so learning one facilitates learning another. If you would like to become a programmer but do not have any experience, you might want to first learn basic principles of programming that apply to all languages, because the more languages you know, the more employable you will be.

Taking an introductory course in Logic has proven to be very helpful for most people who would like to become a programmer. If you decide to pursue a college degree in this discipline, courses in Logic might be required. Keep in mind also that some languages such as C or C++ have a very steep learning curve, so they might not be a good choice for someone who is still exploring this profession. Software can be standalone applications or embedded code; for example, the Hypertext Preprocessor language (PHP), can be used to code independent applications but is usually embedded into Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML).

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It is not necessary to acquire a college degree to become a computer programmer, because most employers are more interested in your level of skill than how you obtained your knowledge. If you choose to self-train, however, you probably will have to place more emphasis on proving your skills. One way this can be done is by developing open source software that is released under an international license that allows for its legal download by anyone. Users can provide you with valuable reviews of your software whether they use it free of charge or for a fee. Some programmers also find it valuable to include in their portfolio snippets of code they wrote; a potential employer or client could find this very impressive.

If you desire to become a programmer for Internet sites, you should focus on learning at least one of the many languages used for writing server-side programs called scripts. These could include PHP, Active Server Pages (ASP), Java Server Pages (JSP) and Ruby on Rails, which are often used for major operations such as enabling a web site for electronic commerce. Keep in mind that it is almost always necessary for web programmers to learn SQL for working with databases involved in data driven web sites. It is very important that you remain updated on new trends in the industry, because languages come into existence and many gain or lose popularity over time. Having a solid knowledge of basic algebra and at least one language in which you can write complex software are requirements in your quest to become a programmer.

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