5 Common Misconceptions About Becoming a Software Developer


5 Common Misconceptions About Becoming a Software Developer

Misconception #1

True or False…

You have to have a degree, or certification to get a job as a software developer. 


While many software developers have a degree or a code-camp certification, the majority of software developers are self-taught!

Degree or no-degree, certification or no-certification, the ability to demonstrate competence and having a body of work are the most important elements for finding a job.  Even a PHD has to show up with skills.

Misconception #2

True or False…

To get started, I need to know a lot of programming languages.  


When you’re just getting started, it is better to build competence and depth in a single language than it is to have underdeveloped skills across multiple disciplines.  Developing competence and depth in a single area is a stepping stone and creates a foundation for acquiring future technical skills.

If you’re just getting started, I want you to learn Javascript.  Javascript is used on virtually every website on the planet.

It is a versatile and powerful language, it works in the browser, it works on the server and at the command line for installations and other interactive and batch processes.

There are certainly other languages and disciplines to absorb as you evolve as a software developer but if you’re just starting out I recommend Javascript.

Misconception #3

True or False…

If I know a lot about PROGRAMMING I can get a job.


Knowing about programming is not the same as knowing HOW to program.

I want you to remember this equation:

Information + Action = Results!

Information is 10% of learning to code. The other 90% is using that information to build projects and solve problems which requires action in the form of practice, practice, practice!  This brings results. Equate this to learning to golf or play a musical instrument.

Practical application in the form of practice, practice, practice is where programmers build experience.


Information(10%)+Action(90%) = Results!

Misconception #4

True or False…

You have to be a math geek, an engineering wizard or off the charts smart to be a software developer. 


As web developers and business application  developers we’re typically not sending rockets to the moon, building bridges over rivers or performing surgery at the hospital with our software development efforts. We are addressing common business challenges around buying and manufacturing, selling and distribution or finance and accounting.

Being a software developer is really about helping people.

Software Developers help people to do their jobs and live their lives.  Software provides access to institutions like banks and insurance companies and helps people to get their stuff – and so much more!  Consider Amazon.com  or Dominos Pizza and even your household appliances.

You don’t need to be off-the-charts-smart to work in these areas.  You do however need the necessary skills.  Work on your Javascript today!

Misconception #5

True or False…

Working as a software developer is the kind of work that people will either love or hate.  


I’ve been making the following statement about software development for years:

“You have to love it or you will hate it!”


Software developers love to create.

We love to overcome difficulties, solve problems and complete projects.  That is where the “joy” comes from.  That part is both rewarding and gratifying.

But software development is also…

  • Tedious and exacting
  • It requires continuous discipline
  • Involves a lot of late nights and early mornings
  • It demands constant technical education
  • It requires you to learn a LOT about the business you’re working in
  • Is frequently difficult and stressful

It requires that you continuously push forward in pursuit of technical education and business knowledge, that you practice previously learned skills and get creative to achieve your end goal which is to solve problems and complete projects.

Software development is awesome BUT…

Software development is also a lot of work!

Remember this:

No matter what line of work you choose, over the course of your career you will spend more time with your work then with any other single thing in your life.

So make sure you love it!

Or you will certainly hate it.

So there it is…

5 Common Misconceptions About Becoming a Software Developer

Scott Salisbury, Motivated Code Pro 
Scott Salisbury is the creator of motivationalcodepro.com and the Managing Partner of Pinch Hitter Solutions, Inc – a software development consultancy focused on Java and Sencha ExtJS.  
See Pinch Hitter Solutions at phs4j.com.  
See my youtube channel at Motivated Code Pro.


About the Author Scott Salisbury

Scott is the creator of Motivated Code Pro and the Managing Partner of Pinch Hitter Solutions, Inc. Motivated Code Pro is devoted to helping developers build better software careers. Pinch Hitter Solutions (phs4j.com) is a consultancy focused on mobile app development and enterprise web work. Scott works primarily in Java and JavaScript and focuses on Spring and Ext JS.

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