Freelance Programming: A Pathway to Practical Experience for Emerging Software Engineers

Software engineering can be an incredibly rewarding career path with abundant opportunities. However, it’s not always easy for beginner software engineers to break into the industry and start finding robust programming gigs.

The reason for this typically has to do with a lack of practical experience that makes it a hard sell for employees to give budding software engineers a chance. Fortunately, there are many paths that these professionals can pursue to gain the practical experience they need to thrive in the space.

Here is a pathway to practical experience for emerging software engineers.

Understanding Options for Gaining Practical Experience

Whether one has a computer science or software engineering degree, a bootcamp certificate, or years of personal education, it can be tricky to figure out where to start gaining practical experience. Luckily, becoming exposed to some great options can make it easier to progress on one’s path and become a proficient programmer.

Some amazing options for gaining practical experience include:

Creating a project: Starting and completing a programming project is a great way for new programmers to gain practical experience and showcase their talent. This being the case, any emerging software engineer looking for experience should create their own project and share their vision with potential employers.

Offering to work for free: While programming for free isn’t ideal, it can be an amazing opportunity to gain some much-needed experience and develop a portfolio for beginner programmers. In addition, the connections made through this pro-bono work may one day even lead to employment.

Looking for internships: Though many beginner entrepreneurs may be hungry to land that first role as a programmer, interning at a company can be an incredibly beneficial experience. In addition to gaining valuable experience, internships typically offer beginner programmers a chance to learn from veterans and gain useful and practical insights.

Compete in competitions: Whether one has a degree in computer engineering or software engineering, competitions are a great way for beginner programmers to gain valuable experience in the space. Beyond this, these competitions can help put one on the radar of employers which can lead to new employment opportunities.

Other Tips for Landing the First Programming Role

Beyond gaining practical experience, there are many practices that can help emerging software engineers land their first employment opportunity. By taking advantage of these tips while also gaining practical experience, budding programmers will surely be able to land their first role.

Some key practices that emerging software engineers should be engaging in to land their first role include:

Networking: Networking has the power to lead to amazing job opportunities for programmers at all stages of their journey. For those looking for their first employment opportunity, it’s important to take advantage of all networking opportunities and make it known that one is looking for their first programming job.

Having a polished portfolio: It’s important for new programmers to have a polished portfolio that will impress employers. As such, it’s not only important for fresh software engineers to gain practical experience, but to record it thoroughly.

Being ready to ace interviews: While it’s vital for emerging software developers to hone their programming abilities, it’s also important for them to hone their ability to land jobs. This means becoming great at interviewing for roles and being prepared to answer interview questions like a pro.

Practical Experience Is Key for New Programmers

While becoming educated is an important part of becoming a software engineer, and so is gaining practical experience. By taking advantage of every opportunity to gain valuable experience and grow, emerging programmers can take their fate into their own hands and hone their skills. By working hard and gaining experience, finding that first job role will be a walk in the park for any emerging software engineer.

Andrew Deen