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Breaking the Code: Myth-Busting Software Careers

January 20, 2020

You may think that a career in software development and programming is out of reach – maybe you’re not good at Maths, or you think you’re too creative for a career based on code. Let’s take a look at the reality of a software career and see whether it changes your mind…

The Reality of Software Careers


Software development isn’t just about writing in code and keeping yourself to yourself all day. It’s a lot more diverse than that… From teamwork to logical problem-solving, there’s plenty more that makes up the software developer or programmer than just a fascination with code.


Buckle up, and let’s do some myth-busting…


Myth #1: You need to be obsessed with numbers to get into software…


To be a software developer, you’ve got to be good at Maths, right? Or Computer Science at the very least? Wrong!


Although being handy with numbers helps, software developing, and programming aren’t dependent on having that first-class Maths or Computer Science degree from that impossible-to-get-into university. Having awareness of a programming languages is more than ample for you to get stuck into your new career in software. This is even more beneficial if you have a real interest for computer science, if you truly live and breathe the subject. There are plenty of examples of successful self-taught developers. Even if you have a degree in a different subject, re-skilling programmes, where you learn how to code in a short period of time, are a good option. At Critical Software we have already started to develop this type of programme (‘Apostar em TI’ and ‘Acertar o Rumo’). With that in mind, it’s no wonder all our software development teams have self-taught programmers or people with a wide range of degrees (including dentists and archaeologists).


Myth #2: It’ll take ages to learn how to code…


You don’t have a background in Computer Science. You look at your first piece of Java script or Python code. Your first thought will likely be, ‘How am I meant to understand this?’ Yes, Java, Python, and everything in between may seem like foreign languages to you now, and that’s because they sort-of are. But while becoming an expert in a programming language takes time and patience, there’s nothing stopping you from learning the basics right here, right now.


Start by watching a beginner’s tutorial for your chosen programming language on YouTube, then test out your knowledge by solving some coding problems online (there are plenty of websites out there with test problems for you to get your head around). Practise makes perfect – so keep on problem-solving, and you’ll be writing your own code in no time. Another option could be the previously mentioned re-skilling programmes, where you study code for around six to nine months. It’ll take a bit longer, but the course will allow you to attend classes which involve theoretical and practical elements, and in which you will have support and guidance from experts as well as access to an internship at an IT company.


Myth #3: Software careers are only for introverts…


There is a common misconception that software developers and programmers are all introverts, fearful of any kind of social interaction. In order to be a good software developer or programmer, you’ve got to know how to communicate with others!


As per Critical’s motto, we really are ‘stronger together’ when it comes to doing a job well – and software developers are no different. Working with colleagues to achieve a common aim is the lifeblood of any working environment, so having the ability to communicate is essential to success – and software developers do this every day in the work they do. Very few people will have all the skills necessary to come up with an initial software design or have knowledge of all the coding languages needed to finish a build. So, naturally, building a team which includes developers who play to all the strengths needed to build a piece of software and who communicate effectively with each other is crucial for success in achieving goals.


Myth #4: Creativity doesn’t come into software development…


Software development and programming aren’t all about thinking in terms of code or numbers. Indeed, video game designer John Romero sums it up best when he says that programmers are, in their own way, artists who use their ‘logic-based creativity’ to do well.


At the very heart of building and programming new software is a creative mind which can dream up new ideas, work out how to best put those ideas into practice, and how to make the product of its labours a joy to use. Those working in software ultimately need to have a clear vision of what the software will look like and how it will help improve existing methods of working before a single line of code is written. Rather than simply dumping a string of numbers or formulas together, software developers and programmers are often required to use just as much imagination as any artist or author. What can my piece of software do that others can’t? How can I make it enjoyable for people to explore and use in their everyday lives? How can I explore this issue from a different perspective? These are questions that you could just as well apply to an artist considering their next exhibition, or an author pondering what their next bestseller is going to be about.


When you look at software in that way, it’s not hard to see how a drop of creativity can make good software great.


Myth #5: The best software careers are nowhere near me…


The best software-related jobs are in the city, I hear you cry. There aren’t any decent tech jobs near where I live, in the middle of nowhere.


That’s where you’re wrong. Many software companies (again, including Critical) have realised that talent isn’t exclusively found in concrete jungles. In light of this, more and more of them have opened offices in areas outside of major cities more traditionally associated with tech jobs, be it London or Lisbon or Porto. In the UK, we have offices in Southampton and Derby, and in Portugal we recently opened three offices in the interior – Vila Real, Viseu and Tomar. This ultimately benefits those who have all the skills and motivation to be a great software developer or programmer but are hindered by the fact that they don’t live in a city. Remote work job offers are also becoming more common; but we understand they’re not everyone’s cup of tea, so there are plenty of office-based roles available too.


So, don’t fret that you can’t up-sticks and move closer to your future career in software. Your software career is, gradually, coming to a town near you.


Myths Busted…


So, there you have it. A career in software development and programming is far more than strings of numbers and endless formulas. It’s about creative thinking, learning new languages, and being willing to work with a dedicated, hardworking, but sociable group of people.


Piqued your interest? Then take a look at our current job openings here and see whether now is the moment your journey into software begins…

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Careers