6 Myths About Becoming a Software Developer


When it comes down to it, becoming a software developer is no different from studying for any other career: the hard work is the determiner, not talent. However, we still have several misconceptions of software developers: they are geeky, they are geniuses, and they prefer computer interaction to talking to people.  All of the stereotypes we create about software developers is enough to put people off this career. This article is going to clear up some of the myths related to software developers and hopefully allow you to make a more informed decision.

Myth #1: You need to be highly intelligent

The Truth: Anyone who wants to learn software development can.

Software developers are not geniuses. Let’s compare a developer to a teacher. They study hard and they develop their skills. Within the industry, you will find amazing teachers and those who are not so great. And then there are those who are normal teachers. The exact same can be said for software developers. Everyone starts off in the same way, they learn skills and put them into practice until they become experts.

Myth #2: Learning how to code is like learning Chinese

The Truth: Learning it isn’t the problem, mastering it is.

Perhaps it’s because we look at code and it seems impossible for us to understand, symbols and shorthand that are out to confuse us. Realistically, it’s not as hard as most of us assume.

Coding is how we communicate with a computer. It’s a language like JavaScript or Ruby. As you are communicating with the computer, you are asking it to carry out certain jobs. For example, if you need a computer to create a website, you are going to give the computer step-by-step instructions to do so. You would start with basic tasks that grow in quantity and therefore complexity. The basic codes are easy to learn, but once you start working with the more complex language you need to up your game. In reality, it’s no different from learning a new foreign language.

Myth #3: I need a degree to become a software developer

The Truth: On the contrary, some programmers have no official level of studies.

Computer programming is a trade and like many other trades can be self-taught. There are so many tutorials and videos online, people can learn how to use programmes like Adobe or Illustrator by themselves. This is often enough to get a job where they can begin to develop their skills further. Once someone has a job they are able to start working on their portfolio, which will open the door to more opportunities. Some programmers and even graphic designers have been known to start this way.

A degree is certainly going to help and by no means are we saying that you will have the same opportunities without one. That being said, there are now a number of Coding boot camps in the US that aim to provide enough practice and knowledge for learners to get a job in software development.

Myth #4: I need to have amazing maths skills to get a job as a developer

The Truth: A high level of math is not related to being a great software developer.

Being a mathematician is a job. Being a software developer is another! To be a successful programmer you will need to know basic algebra and be good at problem-solving. Apart from these two skills, the amount of math you understand will be directly related to the type of projects you have. Front-end developers rarely use math skills, maybe count pixels. If math is required from you it is because your employer has required it or the project you are working on. It is not necessary for your career as a software developer.

Myth #5: It is better to learn the best programming language to get ahead as a software developer.

The Truth: There is no best language for you to learn.

Each project you work on will require different types of language programmes. In many cases, you will need to be able to use various languages for one project as many languages work in conjunction with each other. You might use JavaScript for front-end development and PHP for back-end development. Looking for the best programming is like looking for the best tool to put together a piece of furniture. A screwdriver is for screws and a hammer is for nails, they have different functions.

Then, within areas of development, there are different types of language programmes that you can compare. PHP has it’s similarities to Perl or Ruby but so does French and German in that they are both languages for communication, but they are not the same.

Instead of looking for the best language programme, look for the best language programme for you. Have a play around with different codes to learn the basics, or finish a mini-personal project. This way you can find out which programmes get you motivated. With time, you will begin to learn the more advanced aspects of each language programme.

Myth 6#: I’m too old to become a software developer

The Truth: You are never too old to change your career.

Your age and background have nothing to do with your ability to get a software development job. Coding boot camps have turned complete novices into employable developers. They have also helped experienced developers to improve their skill sets in order to advance their careers. The most important requirement is your ambition to succeed.

To sum it up:

Don’t listen to all you hear about software development jobs. As with any job, there may be some negative experiences but this isn’t enough to create an entire stereotype. With a combination of drive, time and effort, anyone can become a software developer.