Software development in Kenya is among the best paying fields. Every business is striving towards adopting the latest technologies including apps. It seems almost unimaginable for an established business to operate without an app.
It is now an open secret. You can make good cash and live the life of your dreams through software development. The question is, why are there unemployed and broke developers? Where do you learn how to start coding and make a living?
You came to the right place! We will show how you can move from a wish to become an expert developer. Be prepared to learn and implement the lessons.
Actionable tips on how to start coding
1. Be willing to learn and unlearn
If you have never been to any coding school in Kenya, enrolling in one is the first step. You may argue, why not register for online lessons? Some aspiring software developers search for the best tools to create an app.
Such a strategy works if you want to join the flock of developers scrambling for clients. A different approach is necessary if you want to stand out in a crowd. Hence, we encourage you to be willing to unlearn some of the things you have learnt before.
Be willing to learn how you can improve the acquired skills to match the needs of your clients. If you learned to code on your own, chances are that you read or listened to a basic tutorial. Some experiences with clients require more than coding skills. For instance, how do you estimate the cost of developing apps and give reasonable quotes to clients?
The lesson is particularly important for graduates. Your degree or diploma could the very reason why you are jobless. As we discovered in our previous article, the development skills that students acquire are irrelevant. That is not to say that pursuing a degree or diploma is a waste of time.
Read Also: Top 10 Coding Schools in Kenya
2. Be versatile
It is okay to register for a quick course, learn one area in coding, and become an expert in it. At Kwetu Hub, we offer opportunities to study iOS app development or Android app development. You can stop there and start earning immediately.
The main challenge with such an approach for beginners is that you may never discover your niche. You will also miss many opportunities to work because your skills are limited. For instance, if you can only develop iOS apps, you will miss all Android clients.
Many clients prefer to hire one software developer. For instance, it may start as a website design job, then an app for Android, then iOS, and maybe API integration. Do not limit your self so early. Learn all you can and then choose a field to specialise in later.
3. Master the skills
The attitude of learners often determines the outcome of the learning experience more than their capabilities. You may start with average skills in basic languages such as Java, C++ and Oracle among others. However, you attitude in every lesson should be growing to an expert level.
Become a master in every coding language and tools you can find. The good thing about working with mentors is that they narrow down the list of tools and language. You will have a few to learn and master.
Remember that mastering a skill requires consistent practice and time. You have a lot of homework to do on your own. Apply the tools daily. Develop mock-ups for apps even before you get any clients. Knowledge will also become useful in your career if you apply it consistently.
4. Study the market
You may ask, am I only a beginner, why do I need to study the market? You must break from the mentality that a good tech start-up will hire you after your graduation or completing a course. Thousands of developers are waiting in line for the same opportunity.
Think about becoming your own boss. You may start with a good job or as a freelance developer. The goal is to use your skills to earn a living. Internships help to apply your skills in real projects. However, you cannot work as an intern forever.
Studying the market helps to see the demand for software developers in Kenya. You learn the changes in client preferences and observe trends in app development. In addition, you identify the most competitive categories of apps and learn how to start coding such apps.
5. Build a tech professional network
Forget about the hundreds or thousands of followers on your social media accounts. Only a few of them if any can help you on this journey. In a highly competitive market, building relationships helps you to achieve your dreams faster.
Identify mentors that can help you learn coding apps step by step. Mentors are thorough. If you can satisfy your mentor, chances are that your clients will appreciate your work. Students at Kwetu Hub are a step ahead because they interact with mentors daily.
Peer relationships are equally important. Developers can help you get new clients or a new job after school. Software developers share tasks when overwhelmed. You will only access such chances if you are part of a strong professional network.
6 Practice! Practice! Practice!
What happens after your graduation? Do you sit back and wait for your first job? Software engineering is not for the lazy. You learn more and perfect your skills with practice. As mentioned earlier, you need to practice what you learn privately.
Start your own innovative projects while still in school. Do not shy away from sharing the projects with your mentors and asking for their opinions. You are joining a highly dynamic field. New development trends come up, sometimes even before you can master the basics of coding.
You challenge your mind to grow as you explore different types of apps. Keep learning on your own daily. Opportunities to succeed can knock at any time. You need to be prepared when such opportunities.
You will always find these two traits in successful software developers; a love for programming and determination to succeed. You can learn how to start coding but it takes more than coding lessons. You must have an attitude of learning and unlearning continually. Be willing to learn from mentors, peers, and newbies. Opportunities to learn how to code in Kenya are so many. Go beyond a good wish, go back to school and get the skills you need to succeed.