It’s not surprising that people who’ve started out with non-tech jobs have made drastic career moves and entered the world of code. One of the most profitable jobs in the global market, computer engineering is one of the few fields in need of more workers than are available in most countries. It is a high-paying, in-demand career that is intellectually stimulating and beneficial for the world we live in. Best of all, you don’t necessarily need a computer engineering degree to make computer engineering your career.
If you currently have a job that is unchallenging and mundane, entering the world of algorithms and C++ will shake up your career in the best way possible. Alas, here are a few ways to get started.
1. Make sure you enjoy coding.
What excites you about coding? Is it the prospect of building something new? Is it the intellectual challenge? Are you interested in solving problems? Make sure you know the answers to these questions before you dive into programming with full force. If you have never coded before, it is vital to find out if you will enjoy it enough to put 10,000 hours into becoming the best coder you can be.
2. Figure out if you want formal programming instruction or if you would rather learn on your own.
Some individuals receive formal degrees in computer engineering while others choose to learn from books. If you are interested in going back to school, try a few basic programming classes and see if you prefer learning in a classroom setting and or if you would rather go at your own pace. If money is an issue, consider websites like Codecademy and The Massachusetts Innovation and Technology Exchange (MITX) to dip your toes in. If you want to learn on your own by studying books, keep in mind that books providing exercises and projects will be better investments than ones that only introduce basic concepts.
3. Practice coding every single day.
Coding is a muscle. You will need to routinely yourself in different sorts of coding problems in order to really become acquainted with solving them. Take on projects via Codecademy and GitHub to start applying your knowledge to real-world projects. It will also be beneficial to study other people’s code through Codecademy forums and GitHub projects.
4. Be frugal.
Buy the cheapest brand of bread available at the grocery store and opt out of temptation for premium purchases. Don’t buy excess clothing and gadgets. Turn off your water faucet when you brush your teeth. Being without a full-time job in the midst of a career change can definitely be nerve-wracking, so keeping a strict eye on your finances will minimize any additional stress and keep your mind at greater ease. If you don’t have any savings, consider working a part-time job before quitting your full-time position. Put in a minimal amount of hours that will pay the rent and make time for coding whenever you aren’t working.
5. Find a mentor.
Sometimes, finding the answer to a coding problem can be too overwhelming to figure out on your own. In this case, find a mentor, such as a friend who works as a professional programmer, to guide you. You can also find assistance via online forums for coders and programming clubs in your community. Once you find these mentors and communities, talk to them as much as you can. Doing this will expose you to other people’s methods of solving coding problems and subsequently affect the way you approach your own.
It is important to note that computer engineering is not the only career option available to professionals well-versed in programming. Keeping an open mind will open many doors for people with coding skills. Coders can apply their skills to various roles: they can use them to become a business executive for a tech start-up, a project manager, a journalist who covers technology, and more. Thus, no matter what you do, coding skills will indubitably assist you in more ways than you can imagine.