Software has taken the world by storm. In fact, Software Developers are forecasted to grow ~25% over the next 6 years adding over 300,000 software engineering jobs to the software industry.
However there are many misconceptions regarding the barrier to entry in this industry.
Embracing The Suck
In the beginning, you’re still learning and developing your skillset. You’re building upon ideas that you’re not quite sure how they fit together. You haven’t developed enough competency to be disappointed in yourself. Feeling stupid, unskilled, and incompetent is a super power at this point. It gives you the power to embrace the suck.
It’s fairly easy to forget to give yourself a pat on the back as you’re progressing through this journey that is ultimately important to you. In other words, the type of people who don’t get down on themselves for knowing they have much more to learn are the ones who can feel good about disappointing themselves. They use failure and disappointment as a signal to recommit to their dreams, not to give up.
Time To Competency
We all have a vision of where we want to be in our lives at a future date. As with most things in life, we want to get to that point with the path of least resistance. However, competency isn’t a straight-forward path.
Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers explains that reaching the 10,000 hour mark is the key to success in any field. In other words, that’s about 20 hours every week for 10 years. But what about for the barrier to entry?
I believe that to become competent enough for your first development job, it can take anywhere from 6-12 months full-time, and up to 24 month part-time.
How you spend your time is a significant factor.
- If you spend 6 months of continuous deliberate practice, you will know what areas you are lacking, and know where you should spend your time to improve.
- If you spend 12 months of autonomous practice, you will be honing your skillset. You’ll have muscle memory and generally know what works and what doesn’t.
- If you spend 24 months part-time learning, you will show signs of competency, but you’ll lack deliberate practice and autonomy. Two of the key skills I believe that will significantly lower your timeline.
Why Time Doesn’t Matter
Most people think success is going from point a to point b. But in reality, it is a road less traveled, because it’s a road that you have to pave yourself. As you continue down your road, you’ll fail, you’ll succeed, and you’ll learn how to navigate through every pothole, every flat-tire, and ultimately get to your destination.