The beautiful thing about living in this age of tech, is that you don’t have to have a degree in Computer Science to have a very successful career as a developer. It doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t essential. There are plenty of places you can go (bootcamps, online coding classes, tutorials, etc) where you can pick up the essentials in a relatively quick way.

After you’ve learned some of the basics of programming, the best thing to do is to start applying that knowledge in a meaningful way. The best way I’ve found to do that is simply by doing. Build something that shows off your newly found skills. It doesn’t have to be a fantastic, new idea for an app that you launch and make millions off of (I mean, if it is… don’t forget where you’ve learned how to jumpstart your career), the goal is to show potential employers what you can do. Think a little bit about your development goals. Do you want to create mobile apps? Do you want to work at an agency and work on lots of different apps? Do you want to create robust API’s for a company that owns a suite of apps? Take those goals and build something that starts propelling you towards them. You can start by following some tutorials on building really simple CRUD (create, read, update, delete) apps, like todo or contacts list apps. Then, take it a step further and get creative, or even recreate a complex app that you love, with your own code.

Another great way to build up that project portfolio is to seek out some freelance opportunities. Lots of companies, or people, are looking for developers that can handle building something for them. These don’t have to be huge projects at all, or even lucrative, but it can really help build your portfolio without direct experience.

Share what you’ve built.

We live in a golden age of information. It’s trite, but it’s true. If you have access to the Internet, you have access to learn anything you want about programming, and for free! You don’t necessarily need a computer science degree to get a good programming job. You only need be a self-starter, the ability to share, and the desire to contribute to the programming community.