This is the age of computers. Their sheer processing power is empowering our everyday life in such a way that many of us don’t even imagine that those tasks are being managed by an automated system. Thanks to the continuous development of both hardware and software, computers are becoming more and more powerful than ever seen before.
Now, computers are simply machines – objects with the potential of performing billions of calculations every single moment. But what do they have to CALCULATE for providing the maximum potential? How can we get the most out of the PRICEY machinery?
This is where software comes in. The computer is nothing more than a machine. In order to use the computer to generate a meaningful result, we have to tell the computer to do a certain task in a certain manner so that it can complete it with its raw computational power. That’s what programs are.
In computing, a program is nothing more than a specific set of ordered operations. The computer will follow the operations to generate meaningful output. A program is also a special type of “data” that tells the machine how to operate on something else (application or user data).
If you’re reading this post, you’re already taking advantage of a ton of clever programming. The web browser you’re using is a big, clever program. Your music player, image viewer, file browser, your favorite games etc. are all programs. The operating system that’s powering your computer is another marvelous program. In fact, operating systems are some of the biggest programs in the world.
If any task requires taking advantage of any computer, a suitable program is a must. Without proper instruction set, the computer doesn’t have the knowledge – how to take input, how to process the data and how to return the output.
Computers run programs but who creates them? Well, that’s us, of course.
In the case of any hardware, it’s the job of the developers to design how the hardware is going to act. Now, it’s the task of the programmers to use all the available functions and additional features to find the best way to perform a certain task.
Programming vs coding
Before jumping further into the topic, it’s necessary to understand the difference between programming and coding, despite we often use them interchangeably. Programming is finding a solution to a certain problem. The most widely used way of programming is taking the problem into account, splitting it into smaller problems, solving each of the small problems and then, merging all of them together.
In the case of coding, it’s essentially translating the solution of the problem into such a language that the computer can essentially understand and act accordingly.
Now, computers don’t understand our human language or even any programming language we use (Java, Python, C++, C# etc.) to write code. The compiler is responsible to read the code and further translate it into binary code that the machine can ultimately understand.
Let’s check the concept with a living example. We all went to different types of festivals, right? Once we return, we love to talk with our friends on how we felt – how we enjoyed different rides, different snacks and how all the happy moments were enjoyable. Now, the emotions, the stories are the same. But if people of different language experiences the same, will the output be the same?
Of course! All of them are telling the same thing! The only difference is the way they’re expressing. They’re using different languages to express the same thing. That’s the fundamental difference between programming and coding. How you solve the problem? You program. How you EXPRESS the solution to the computer? Your code.
The job sector
Programming is something that requires a fair amount of investment of mental power, specifically the “problem solving” ability. The problem-solving part is fairly complex in its own rights. It involves a lot of mental effort to think – how the problem acts, how to approach it, how we can solve the issue etc.
That’s why people who can solve problems are considered stars among us. For example, the ingenious friend of yours who can solve the hardest of the hardest math problem will always have a greater value than the friend who can’t even solve a simple calculus. Even I’m not good at math. At all.
Now, back to the job. When we think about doing a “job”, the image that commonly emerges into our head is someone sitting behind a desk with a computer and files and doing things and getting paid. Let’s break the concept down a little bit.
Remember the mathematician friend of yours? He’s capable of solving complex math problems, but why would he? There’s no reason for him to sit down and solve others’ problems. So, how do you make him do your task? Well, you pay him to do your JOB!
The concept is universal in our current world. Let’s apply the same theory to programming. There are tons of tutorials on how to program, how to code and others. You can watch them again and again unless you become a master programmer. For what? You’re mastering a skill that has little to no application in your everyday life. There is plenty of software on the internet to solve your issues.
Turns out, there’s a demand in the marketplace for skilled programmers. It’s such a skill that not everyone has. You rent your skill to others in the exchange of money.
Now, let’s talk about the scope of programming jobs. The number of gadget users is rising day by day with literally no sign to go away dramatically. All those devices require clever programming to do all the wonders. In other words, the scope of programming is increasing day by day.
Is it worth becoming a programmer? Of course! There will always be the demand for a good programmer. If you become a really GOOD one, then you’ll always have a job.
Getting the job
Enough talking about the programming “job”. Now, suppose, you have mastered all the popular programming languages like C, C++, C#, Python, Java, Kotlin, Swift etc. and a really good one at solving problems. How do you get the job?
Good question. The answer is, you have to PROVE yourself. You have to prove yourself as a worthy programmer; a useful asset for the potential buyer. Unless you set some proof, there’s no way anyone will be convinced that you’re a good programmer. Well, why invest in an unknown person with the risk of 100% loss? Trust me; without any proof, even YOU wouldn’t invest even a single penny to HIRE yourself!
So, how do you set the proof? There are many different ways to show your worth to the community and your potential employers.
- Competitive programming: This is one of the primary ways you should start honing your skills once you’ve learned how to program. There are a number of places where you can compete in various programming competitions. You may not win all the competitions, but with regular participation and practice, you’ll gradually improve yourself to such a degree of a professional developer.
Let’s check out some of the most popular competitive programming sites.
- Developing a project: There are numerous ways you can get started with a project on your own. The best place to get started is the open-source community. You’ll find every single program with their respective code bases. You can re-create a similar project or help others by fixing a bug in the code or adding a new feature.
There are a good number of popular places for the open-source community.
For the open-source community, GitHub is the most popular place right now. Let’s discuss the usage and importance of GitHub.
What is GitHub?
GitHub is always the overhauled platform for geeks. Yet, many of us don’t fully understand what it does. Maybe we all have a shadowy idea of what GitHub is. Let’s clear things out.
For understanding GitHub, the first important thing to understand is Git. Git is an open-source version control system started by Linus Torvalds – the creator of Linux.
For any dev, a version control system is very essential. When a dev is developing an app, there are needs for constant change in the code. Version control helps the revisions remain straight. All the modifications are stored in a central repository. This allows the devs to grab a new version of the software, change the code and upload the newest version. All the collaborating devs are able to compare the changes. Thus, everyone can make a collaborative contribution to an ongoing project.
GitHub is, by far, the most popular web-based hosting service for version control using Git. In addition, GitHub also offers some of its own features alongside Git. It’s free for everyone as well.
Why is GitHub so popular? Simple. Despite being a free platform, it offers powerful features like bug tracking, task management, feature requests, and wikis while offering a robust collaboration platform.
As of January 2019, there are more than 28 million users and over 57 million repositories (28 million public repositories) on GitHub. The number is bound to grow further in the future.
As a developer, there’s also another hidden benefit for GitHub. You need something that showcases your programming talent. GitHub offers just the right opportunity. With your contribution, you help other projects and improvise your own portfolio. This gives you solid credibility of having real-life skill and experience that employers look for.
How to use GitHub for getting a job
For example, once you’ve learned a new tech, you can create a repository with a small proof-of-concept code leveraging the technology and upload it to GitHub. There are multitudes of benefits of this approach.
- Solid proof as your excellence on the technology, framework, language.
- You understand Git; at least, the basics of Git. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be able to maintain your repositories on GitHub.
- People see that you write good code, you’re capable of structuring it, you know OOP, and your code is clean, SOLID. Recruiters can show your code to the team.
This increases the chance of getting a call for an interview.
Optimizing your code
If you’re willing to get a job using GitHub, then you rather make sure that your code is properly optimized for following all the major coding conventions.
- Avoid using scaffolding or boilerplates for the projects that you intend to get reviewed. Recruiters want to see the code you wrote.
- The “README” file is a major factor. Put some effort in creating a good description of what the project is about and how it works in an understandable way.
- You may have found the solution to your problem on Stack Overflow. Don’t copy and paste. NEVER. Instead, understand the way the solution works, tweak it in your own way and write your own code.
- The naming of the variables and functions is another paramount point to keep focus. Your naming shouldn’t be incomprehensible codenames like “a2e3” or something similar. Moreover, the name should NOT be more than 35 characters. 35 characters are quite long, in fact, as a function or variable name.
The naming also should be in such a manner that explains its purpose and usage. The naming should also be understandable by an outsider.
- Commenting is another important factor you have to maintain properly. Without commenting, even YOU will forget what the purpose of a part of the code was after a couple of months or years.
Now, don’t expect others to understand your code without proper commenting. No one’s going to waste their time in reading your all-jumbled code to understand what you’re trying to do. Using proper commenting, you can highlight different parts and attract more people to your code.
- Don’t forget to write unit tests for your code. It shows your care for quality.
- Your coding style must be consistent across all your projects.
- Follow a clean code structure.
Basically, the goal here is to prove that you’re an efficient programmer with the ability to write readable and maintainable code that other people can easily understand. It also allows other devs to jump right into your code.
There are a number of tutorials on the internet on how to code smarter. Essentially, they teach writing more readable and maintainable code. As of the above must-do list, it’s obvious that if your coding practice is poor, then the chance of you even being considered as a candidate is next to 0.
If you’re unsure, you should start by checking the code of the popular and top projects. There are numerous GitHub projects that have earned an insane amount of audience in the community. Feel free to check them out!
Importance of GitHub
Without having a couple GitHub projects or regular contribution on GitHub, it’s really hard to secure a software development job these days. Why?
More and more people are learning programming and coding every single day. While all of them are capable of writing some type of code, from the perspective of an employer, not all of them are profitable for the buyers. It’s because they’re not sure of your experience.
That also holds true for even a certified programmer. Even if you got a certification, you don’t have the experience of working in the real working environment. This is where GitHub serves as a great helper.
You are not only able to show off your skill but also gain some experience on how it feels to work in the real world. The more you contribute to the community, the more experience you earn and the further you climb in the probability ladder of “getting a job”.
GitHub serves as one of the best places to start building your experiences and skills for real life. With profound contribution and work on GitHub, you can actually prove yourself as a SOLID programmer!
And believe me – that’s what employers are looking for! Nobody wants to hire a pure noob! From a business perspective, that’s a huge loss. You have to be trained in every single way with a profound investment of both time and money in the process. The target of businesses is to profit the maximum out of their working environment. So, it’s logical to look for an EXPERIENCED programmer to help their businesses out.
GitHub is right here. You can get started right away! Hone your programming skills, build your experience and show them that you DESERVE to be HIRED!