You were an English major in college. You have a career as a lawyer. And, one day, you wake up and decide “I want to be a programmer.”
While this story might seem farfetched, it has actually happened. We know individuals who lacked a technical background but decided to make the radical career shift to the IT industry anyways. How did they do it? And how did they become so good at what they do? There are three ways individuals can become a Java Developer.
1) The College Route
Often considered the normal way, you become a Java developer by going to college and getting your bachelor’s degree in computer science or something similar. In reality, a major isn’t required; even a minor would have most employers looking seriously at you.
If you have the time and the financial resources to go back to school, this is a good option. Although the other two routes are equally as successful in teaching you Java, you may find that some companies have a Computer Science degree requirement. If you don’t have the necessary resources for college, don’t fret. We’ve found that this degree requirement is pretty rare.
2) The ‘On the Job’ Route
The second way to become a Java Developer is to get into an IT position and transition over time. If you’re technically inclined, you can sometimes manage to get a non-programmer job that would expose you to how software is built. Such jobs include, but are not limited to, business analysts and quality assurance engineers.
These jobs require specific training, making this route the most challenging option presented here. However, if you are able to snag one of those technical non-programmer jobs, you’ll learn enough about building software to go from zero to code-hero.
3) The Self-Study Route
If you’re looking for a career change, consider a path of directed self-study. There are numerous books on Amazon to get you started. Get into the habit of reading 2 – 3 chapters a night and doing the exercises at the end of the chapters.
Once you gain some rudimentary skills through reading, build an application that you find interesting. There are numerous free software programs to help you get started. Make sure you don’t skip this; this is a vital step. Saying, “I’ve read some books about Java” doesn’t carry much weight with potential employers. However, “I built a web application using Spring MVC, MySql and Hibernate which allows my friend’s store to have workers self-schedule from home” carries enormous weight. Practice, practice, practice.
This route works. One of the most talented Java Developers we know majored in the humanities but taught himself programming through this method.
While dramatically shifting your career to become a Java developer may seem difficult without a college degree, it is possible; you can either get on the job training or teach yourself. The most important thing to remember though is that the best programmers are passionate programmers. These are the people that work their day job and come home and code some more. So, if you are truly passionate about becoming a Java Developer, never fear. With some hard work, you’ll surely become successful.
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Thanks to jessiejacobson for the use of their photographs!