My name is Emma-Ashley Liles and I am a software developer at 7digital. I work in their London office in the heart of London’s tech city, where I am part of the API team.
In the past I have also worked at training graduates up to be consultants at companies such as DigitasLbi, HMRC and VML.
Here are five things you may not know about software development – you may be surprised to learn that in real life it is very different from what you may have seen in films or TV shows…
It’s not all about Maths
It is such a common misconception that a programmer’s notebook is a sprawling mess of algebra and graphs and that every app on the market is a complex web of calculus and differential equations.
Developing software is about understanding problems and then creating the best solution for them. This could be anything from how to help a school become a paperless environment or speeding up the time taken to search for something in a catalogue.
An aptitude for thinking logically or break down problems in order to solve them would be valued by employers over the ability to solve simultaneous equations in your head any day.
You don’t need a Computer Science degree
More and more companies are recognising the self-taught talent out there – and many others will even invest in teaching you from scratch.
I have personally taught recent graduates with degrees in Business, Maths, Biology and even Hotel Management.
Companies that do this look for people who are enthusiastic and interested in learning. There is a wealth of online material to help you get started or to try it out and see if it is for you – and even more sites and recruiters looking for people like this.
Programming is not the only job in tech
There is a lot more to good software than writing code. For example, my co-worker Som is a QA (Quality Assurance). Som works closely with the developers, and belongs to several teams. Her job is to ensure that our products work correctly, by helping us decide what automated tests we need to write, and that our product is of a high standard – e.g responses from our API (Application Programming Interface) are all in the same format.
She does require technical knowledge, but does not write code herself. She also gets involved in a lot more of the business side of things which requires excellent communication skills and knowledge of what is happening in the business and not just her teams.
It’s not just tech companies who need technologists
There are plenty of non-tech companies with software departments who could do everything from creating custom desktop applications for the business to use to maintaining the company website.
These departments provide excellent opportunities to learn about business, because you work very closely with many different departments – finance, marketing, customer services etc. You may also have the chance to perfect other essential software engineering skills, such as gathering requirements for the programmes that the business needs, perhaps some database administration or maybe even designing solutions yourself that you feel may benefit the business.
It’s a lot more social than you think
The days of programming being a bedroom dark art are gone. With more and more people learning how to code and the proliferation of mobile devices, technology is now more than ever part of our everyday lives. I am sure more people can name tech CEO’s than tell you the UK number one this week.
With more people wanting in on the tech revolution and more resources available it is only natural that people would want to start learning together. There is an event or meetup out there for everyone – from huge conferences such as Google I/O to small local developer meetups. Have a look online and see if there are any in your local area.
Emma-Ashley Liles is a Software Developer at 7digital.