How to Become a Developer Part 4: The Steps

October 7, 2017

07/02/2019 Update: I've always wanted to expound on the steps listed here, and I've just started doing that. I want to lay out a path for people who want to become developers to follow. I can't do the work for you, but I can help show you the work that needs to be done.

The first of these posts is here, and it's about picking your first programming language.


Finally here we are. Here are the steps I suggest people take to become a developer. In parts 1, 2, and 3 I talked about some of the things around becoming a developer. This post is all about how to become a developer. The steps are short and sweet, but effective.

Step 1: Become familiar with the syntax

The first step is to begin to become familiar with the syntax of programming languages and learn a couple of keywords. The more familiar you are with the syntax the less you will fight it while trying to learn the programming concepts. For this reason, I recommend people go through some introductory courses on HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Ruby first. There are a number of places where you can do this for free online, such as Codecademy, Codeschool, Try Ruby, etc. Most of these tutorials are also interactive in the browser.

Step 2: The Rails book

After you're done some intro courses to the various programming languages you'll need, it's time for the Rails book. This is a free book by Michael Hartl that will walk you through step-by-step almost all of the concepts you need to know to build a web app. This is a fairly meaty book--but just work through it a chapter at a time.

Step 3: Learn concepts not mentioned in the book

I've written a worksheet to work through some other concepts that I think the book is missing or didn't touch on enough. You can see it here. It shouldn't take too long to work through this, and it will introduce you to very common concepts and practices in web programming.

Step 4: Keep learning and making your own projects while you get that job!

More details to come here, but at this point you're ready to start looking for entry-level Rails gigs. Don't stop learning and increasing your knowledge though--there's a lot more to learn! Even if you're just creating silly Hello World apps, showing that you have created something and that you're continuning to learn is a big deal for future employers.

Good luck!