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How to become a Computer Programmer?

Computers don’t understand our spoken languages, so coders translate human instructions into programming languages computers can understand and carry out. The coronavirus has accelerated the 4th industrial revolution. Worldwide there was already a shortage of Software Developers, Coders and Programmers even before COVID-19 became part of our reality. This demand is expected to increase dramatically over the next few years.  Canada alone is currently looking for 1,2 million immigrants just to fill the IT skills gap before the end of 2023 and the Microsoft Head Office in the United States of America is looking for an additional 450 000 Developers.  This pattern is consistent across most countries.

How do I become a Developer?

In the past career pathways were static and lengthy. The pathway to become a Developer is as at your own pace and requires a minimum investment of 18 months. There are options available to specialise as you grow your expertise. Here’s some basic information before you embark on your journey:

Your journey to become an internationally certified Developer is linked to the following pathway: 

Step 1: Get the fundamentals 

Step 2: Get certified as an Associate 

Step 3: Get certified as an Expert

Step 4: Get certified as an Expert Developer


GET THE FUNDAMENTALS

Step 1:

You will need to complete all three modules below to build your fundamental coding knowledge and get to step 2 

What will I learn?  Module  Duration  Certification 
Block based coding concepts Minecraft: hour of code One hour  Completion certificate 
This is an introduction to coding and computer science by way of making Microsoft’s easy and powerful MakeCode block-based coding environment. Learn to Code: Micro:Bit 40 hours  Completion Certificate 
Students code with blocks to build original games based on classic patterns for motion, events and loops using code blocks for Sprites, Keys, Music, Scene, (screen) Info, Images, Loops, Variables, and Math. Building games (MakeCode) 35 hours  Completion certificate 

 


GET CERTIFIED AS AN ASSOCIATE

Step 2:

You will need to complete the courses and exams (as per your option choice) below to become a validated Developer on an Associate level (Junior Developer). 

If you are looking to create applications, working in a corporate team – Software Development (OPTION 1) is for you. 

Alternatively, if you are looking to exercise your creative brain, work for yourself, visualise websites for clients to improve the user experience, then being a Web Developer (OPTION 2) is an option you should consider.

Step 2  Option 1: Software Developer

In this option we move away from web development and a sole proprietor setup and we are rather gearing you to become part of a corporate software development team building software solutions for the company you are employed with and all their clients. These courses teach you to do software development in specific programming languages, as well as the conceptual idea behind software development fundamentals) 

Total duration: 120 – 150 hours

You must complete the three courses and exams below to move onto level 3 (Expert)

What are you learning  Module  Duration  Certification 
You are learning to code using Java

(learning the coding alphabet – the basics)

Introduction to programming using Java  Forty to fifty hours  Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

Introduction to programming using Java 

You are implementing what you have learnt in Java to create a web application (learning the coding vocabulary – still basics) Introduction to Python  Forty to fifty hours  Introduction to Python

Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

You are learning how to be creative with the new language you have learnt and can create applications 

(you’ve learnt the basics above, now you can write a book)

Software development fundamentals  Forty to fifty hours Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)

Software development fundamentals

Step 2  Option 2: Web Developer   

If you complete this level, or certify in one of these programming languages, you can become a web developer, working remotely and from home or you can achieve the MTA exam to validate your knowledge on Web development, put this on your CV and potentially get a job with a web development company like Red Cherry locally in South Africa. This web development certification is on an intermediate level, and will offer you the opportunity to start your own Web Development company with backup credentials directly from Microsoft.

You will need to complete the two courses and exams below to move onto level 3 (Expert)

Total duration: 80 -100 hours preparation time, 3-4 hours certification time

 

What will I learn  Course  Duration  Certification
You are learning to code using Java

 (learning the coding alphabet)

Introduction to developing websites using HTML (hypertext markup language) and CSS (cascading style sheets) Forty to fifty hours  Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA)-Introduction to developing website using HTML and CSS 
You are implementing what you have learnt in Java to create a web application (learning the coding vocabulary) HTML 5 application development fundamentals  Forty to fifty hours  MTA – HTML 5 application development fundamentals 

 


GET CERTIFIED AS AN EXPERT

Step 3 Expert: 

The almost final level of validation of your knowledge is the Expert level. This level will culminate in further international certifications called the MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional) level. On this level you will become a Development Team Leader or a Software Engineer specialising in a specific programming language.

What you would be learning:

Courses at step 3 cover different programming languages to do software and web development. Some included are ASP.NET, C sharp, HTML 5 on an expert level and CSS 3, also on an expert level. These certifications are highly sought after by employers, as they are the global standard against which all Developers are measured. These exams are the highest level of certification offered by Microsoft globally. 

You will need to complete the courses and exams (as per your option choice) below to become a validated Developer on an Expert level, you can choose one or you can do all of them. If you do them all, you become a Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

MCSE:  To earn Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) certification you will need to pass the following three exams:

Course name Time  Certification 
Programming in HTML5 with Javascript and CSS3 Approx. 60 – 100 hours MSCA 

Programming in HTML5 with Javascript and CSS3 (Exam 70-480)

Programming in C# Approx. 60 – 100 hours MSCA Programming in C#

(Exam 70-483)

Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications Approx. 60 – 100 hours MSCA 

Developing ASP.NET MVC Web Applications (Exam 70-486)

 


GET CERTIFIED AS AN EXPERT DEVELOPER

Step 4 – (MCSD): 

After earning your MCSA and MCSE, to earn the MCSD certification you will need to pass one of the following elective exams, making you an expert in this subsection of speciality/programming language:

All the below courses offers a speciality in the coding world, subdivided as follows:

a.) WEB DEVELOPMENT

AVERAGE SALARY ANNUALLY: R450 000 – R550 000

Course name Time  Certificate
Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services Approx. 60 – 100 hours Developing Microsoft Azure and Web Services (Exam 70-487)
b.) DEVELOPING COLLABORATION IT SOLUTIONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY COMPANY

Average salary annually: R500 000 – R750 000

Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions Approx. 60 – 100 hours Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions

(Exam 70-488)

Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions Approx. 60 – 100 hours Developing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Advanced Solutions

(Exam 70-489)

c.) DEVELOPING CREATIVE SOFTWARE SUITS

Average annual salary: R300 000 – R900 000

Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server Approx. 60 – 100 hours Administering Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

(Exam 70-496)

Software Testing with Visual Studio Approx. 60 – 100 hours Software Testing with Visual Studio

(Exam 70-497)

d.) DEVELOPING CLOUD IT SOLUTIONS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY COMPANY

Average salary annually: R800 000 – R1 000 000

Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions Approx. 60 – 100 hours Developing Microsoft Azure Solutions

(Exam 70-532)

Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions Approx. 60 – 100 hours Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions

(Exam 70-535)

Implementing Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions Approx. 60 – 100 hours Implementing Microsoft Azure DevOps Solutions (Exam 70-538)

 


Does this seem like too long a journey to you?

We recommend skipping straight to Step 2 and starting out with the MTA Software Development Fundamentals. It’s basic enough that a beginner can join, but meaty enough that you’ll already be well on your way to becoming a developer. And it gives you a good all round sense of the field of programming – so that you can decide from there how to specialise.

 

If you’d like more advice on which programming course to select for your career – Click here – fill out your details and we’ll call/email you back to provide you the best possible advice.

Joanne Brink

Author Joanne Brink

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