Part number two of the “FirstDevRole” series that has a goal of helping people get their first job as a software engineer.
Welcome to the second part of the series where I will give my best to explain everything I know when it comes to picking your first programming language or framework.
Point of this article
This article, as the series name suggest, is aimed at people who are just starting out with programming or are thinking about getting into the IT world as a developer.
I will give my opinion on how I would get my first dev job if I was a beginner again and share my experience of how I picked my first programming language to get a developer role.
Why even listen to me and why decide for this strategy?
Of course, it is your option to choose who you want to listen to and whose advices to take but let me explain my strategy and why it might make sense to you or not.
Since you are just starting out, not a lot of people will want you in their company because you lack experience. What you want to offer them is at least exactly what they need technology-wise and by doing this you increase your chances of landing a job by a maximum. It is exactly what I did and how I got my first job.
Before you continue please be aware of this:
Your first programming language is not your wife/husband. You can change it any time and you will most likely change it anyway throughout your career.
Remember: You just want to break the ice and get your first role so later you will have plenty of time to switch.
1. Analyze your area
What I would suggest is to analyze your local current job openings and see what technologies are mainly used. Just visit your local job posting platforms and really put some time in to make a list of the most popular languages that are being used in your area. Each country is different so you really need to do this.
Remote vs On-site
At the beginning of your career I wouldn’t even consider remote jobs. It is a bit more unlikely that a company will hire you because training entry level developers remotely is quite hard. (and it’s also easier for you to get proper training on-site).
My suggestion: analyze only on-site positions for now.
2. Get necessary information
After you have a list of some of the most popular technologies that are used in your area it is time to do some filtering.
To make this article evergreen, you should now do a research on what languages and frameworks from your list are popular globally. That is important because later you might want to change companies so it would make sense to know something what the whole world is currently using.
After you have seen what technologies are popular it is time to filter out the other ones from your initial list.
Now you are left with a list of technologies that are both available in your area and globally as well.
3. Decide what language you like the most
It is now time to pick what you like from the list.
Are you looking for a frontend, backend or maybe a devops role? These are the things that only you can answer but let me tell you that whatever you pick, it is a lot easier to make a switch later, let’s say from frontend => backend once you get some experience. There is absolutely no need to be afraid and that you will pick the wrong one.
Have you picked your first language? Yes? Congratulations!
4. Next steps
You have picked the language. It wasn’t that hard, right? What is now left to do is A LOT of learning and preparing for applying to jobs. Find a course on Udemy or a learning platform of your choice and start learning.
Further details of what your next steps should be are a part of this series as well. If at the time of reading the entire series is not posted yet, stay tuned because an article will be published soon!
BONUS: My Story
I don’t want to bother you with too much me when this is about you but in case you are interested this is how I basically picked my first language or to be more precise, a tech stack:
I found a popular local software engineering company and physically went to their office and had a talk. I asked for a list of technologies that I should know and went home with it. I kept it near my laptop for more than a year until I learned all the languages one by one from the given list. It took me more than a year to learn everything but in the end I got a job at a different company which used the same stack.
(That is why I suggest picking globally popular languages)
I hope that this article helped you pick your first language and that it alleviated some anxiety that you might have had on this topic.
It’s really not THAT important in the beginning that you pick the PERFECT language.
It is more important that you get your first job and later you can change it since you will have some experience on your resume thus getting the next job will be easier.
If there is a topic that you want me to cover please let me know in the comments and I will gladly add it to my list. You can also tweet to me if you’re on Twitter.