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Looking for help/advice breaking into the software development world.


Justin Corbin Golden, CO

Currently set to graduate in August of 2020. Looking to break into the software development field with a great first job that will allow me to grow. Wondering what are some key things I should be on the lookout for, and/or studying up on to give me the edge.

14 February 2020 5 replies Career Exploration



David Bisignani Youngstown, OH

Hi Justin,

Thank you for serving our country!

I am a software developer myself and Ms. Corbett's answer is true. There are many technologies out there and it is best to determine what direction is best for you. Having said this, there are boot camps that will introduce you to many of these technologies though they can be quite expensive - as much as 10 to 12 thousand dollars and six months in length. You can also take online classes such as those found on Lynda and Pluralsight.

Software development relies on a never ending stream of new technologies, so if you want to work in the field, be aware that you will need to keep up with the latest technologies throughout your career.

As an example, web development is very popular but the technologies used include .NET, Angular, Node, React, Bootstrap, MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle, to name a few. It depends on what the prospective employer uses. Git is also useful to know.

When I was trying to figure out what new skills I needed after being downsized, I simply looked at job postings and wrote down the technologies most often listed. You might also want to consider the industry you might want to work in. I have worked as a software developer in engineering, purchasing, manufacturing and health care.

And of course, the so-called "soft skills" are very important too. I have always said that IT does not have a specific mission but supports all other department in a company. So it is important to be able to speak with people in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Sometimes, it takes a good deal of patience because users often change what they want (often called "scope creep"). You often speak with managers, plant personnel, executives, and everyone in between.

I wish you all the best in your search! My life as a software developer has been rewarding and challenging and I have never regretted going into the field. I hope you find it just as rewarding as well!

17 February 2020 Helpful answer


Rick Spiewak Annapolis, MD

Having been at this a long time, I have a simple observation that may help: programming can be inherently frustrating due to the insistence on the part of computers that they do what you tell them to do, not what you meant! You need a certain amount of OCD, and the the ability to at least simulate patience. But it can also be extremely satisfying (and yes, a bit compulsive) work if it turns out that it suits you. Look for this when you start learning, and figure out if the pros outweigh the cons for you.
Most current advice would be to learn more than one programming language. This list is one of many to look at:


Deanna Corbett Winter Garden, FL

Hi Justin,

Software development is a very broad space. If you can narrow down your areas of interest, that can help you focus on the next steps to take. Here's a decent article to get you started:

Often times employers are looking for certifications or specific training to know that you possess a certain base level of skill in an area - and what those are will vary based on the area. For example, web development is very different from API development.

Another way you can explore your options is to look for companies that offer training programs for veterans. Several companies such as Microsoft and Accenture offer these types of programs - and I'm sure doing some internet research would uncover some that would interest you.

Microsoft Software Systems Academy:

Accenture Veteran Technology Training Program:

Best of luck to you!


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

In some regions there is enough demand of programmers (here is Utah is an example of this) that folks can get paid to learn to code.

Here's some info to check out (just from a google search):

Good Luck!


Caitlin Hearle New York, NY

Hi Justin,

Thanks for writing! I'm not all that familiar with software development, but you should be able to search for folks with that experience on our Community Page, where you can message individuals who might be able to provide a comprehensive answer to your question.

I hope that's useful!

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