· 7 min read

Guide to Getting Started in Software Development - Part 1

This guide to getting started in software development will help you focus on the essentials instead of going after buzzwords - Part 1

The digital world is evolving as never before and each day we see more and more businesses turn digital. Either through digitization, digitalization or digital transformation, businesses that are making the move to this world will have a huge advantage against others. Even fully manual businesses require the digital world to have an online presence and gain traction with online marketing.

Alongside this mass adoption from the industry, we’ve seen an increase in the task force learning and working with tech. It all makes sense if we take into account the above-average salaries, a lifelong learning career, the ability to choose multiple paths and the ability to work remotely.

In today’s fast-paced and technologically advanced world, the demand for skilled software developers has reached unprecedented levels. From powering everyday applications to driving innovation in emerging technologies, software developers play a critical role in shaping the digital landscape.

Understanding Software Development

Software development is the process of creating, designing, coding, testing, and maintaining software applications, systems, and solutions. It involves turning ideas and concepts into functional and usable programs that solve specific problems or cater to particular needs. Software development encompasses a wide range of activities, skills, and disciplines, all aimed at producing high-quality software products.

Within software development, there are key concepts everyone should be aware of, independently of practicing them all or not:

  • Conceptualization: all software development starts with identifying a need or problem, brainstorming ideas, understanding requirements and creating a plan that outlines the scope, features, goals and timeline for the project;
  • Design: people often associate design with a user interface (UI). While it also makes part, design represents much more and often includes user experience (UX), system architecture, choosing the right tools and communication protocols.
  • Coding: is why software development is widely known - it involves the process of actually writing code in one or more programming languages. This is where the project features are implemented.
  • Testing: often forgotten (on purpose ??), developing and running tests - while or after coding - should not be ignored. It can help identify and fix bugs, errors or bottlenecks in the software. There are different types of testing, including but not limited to unit testing, integration testing and user testing.
  • Debugging: the nemesis of software developers, it’s a great tool to help us identify and resolve the problems we come across while testing. The whole process involves finding the origin of the problem, fixing it and retesting it to ensure it works as it should.
  • Deployment: unless you’re working on a portfolio/learning project, you’ll probably have to deploy your code to an infrastructure where users can access it. There are infinite ways of deploying a project and this is a tech field itself.
  • Maintenance: during the lifespan of a project, there’s often the need to continuously monitor it for new issues, accommodate user requests and release updates.
  • Collaboration: unless you’re an indie hacker working solo on your project, no software is built alone. It involves a well-structured collaboration between developers, designers, project managers and stakeholders.
  • Iterative process: in the same way software is typically not built alone, it is also not built in one go. It involves an iterative process of planning, development, testing and feedback until the solution is stable for production use.

Although many different industries are working in tech, your domain of expertise will often lie in one or more of web development, mobile application development, desktop application development, embedded systems development and game development.

Essential Skills for Software Development

Being a software developer involves having a wide range of skills - soft and hard. It’s tempting to jump right into learning a fancy new framework or technology, but learning the basics of software development will be a determinant decision for the rest of your career.

Be wise!

Starting with hard skills, pick one battle-tested programming language and go from there. Your goal here is to learn the basics of the language so you can apply it to learn other important aspects of software development. This includes having a pretty good understanding of data structures and algorithms, improving your logical thinking and problem-solving abilities and learning tools for collaborative work (eg, Git). Many articles out there mention buzzwordy words like containers, Kubernetes, VIM, IDEs, networking, scripting, AI, prompt engineering, and web3 but none are necessary for you to become a software developer. They might be good additions to your career, but start with the basics.

Yes, it seems a lot.
Yes, it’s a lot.
No one said software development is easy - and if they said, you got lied.

Continuing, we have soft skills. Often neglected, but very important for your overall career. Apart from your technical skills, this is where you can differentiate yourself from the competition.

Different positions might require different soft skills, but the most common ones are communication, patience, confidence, problem-solving skills (yes, this is both a hard and soft skill), time management, accountability and adaptability. I’ll dive deep into all these in a future article, but for now, let’s just say working on these is the bare minimum to become a great software developer.

Learning Resources

When you’re stepping foot in this industry, there are plenty of resources to help you learn, improve your skills and keep you updated with the latest trends. From an infinite pool of resources like websites, books, videos and podcasts, these are a few that will help you get started:

Coding Platforms

Coding platforms will help you learn specific languages or tools and some might even provide certificates after you finish certain courses or modules. They enable an interactive learning process, with exercises and practice projects, and you’re able to access them everywhere. Since getting started in software development can be a bit lonely, these platforms also offer you support in the form of exercise feedback, progress tracking and helpful tips to prepare you for job interviews.

The best coding platforms out there are Codeacademy, freeCodeCamp, Coursera, edX and Udemy. All have a wide range of topics with great courses that will help you jumpstart your software development career.


Books are one the oldest forms of learning but they shouldn’t be disregarded. Not because they’re the best form of learning, but because there are some great books out there. To name a few: Clean Code by Robert C. Martin is a classic that doesn’t age because it talks about writing clean and maintainable code; Head First Design Patterns by Eric Freeman and Elisabeth Robson is another one for the ages because it talks about design patterns with plenty examples and tips on how to spot good opportunities to apply those designs; The DevOps Handbook explains how we should implement continuous improvement tied to real-world scenarios.


There are plenty bootcamps for beginner software developers, both on-site and online. Bootcamps can be of great help for those who struggle with learning by themselves because they’re normally being taught by domain experts to an entire class of learners. This creates a sense of community, healthy competition and a way to track your progress.

Community Resources

Last, but not least, community resources. I dare to say software development wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for communities. These come in many forms, such as online forums, Q&A sites, open-source software and networking events. Dev.to, Stack Overflow, Linux and Web Summit are examples of different types of communities.

In the next chapter, I’ll be talking about the importance of building projects, finding a mentor, finding job opportunities and how to keep up with the industry by continuously learning and growing.

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