Note: this is the first part of a mini series that I originally wrote as a newsletter titled How to Become a Better Software Developer. You can view the full table of contents here.

It’s a great time to be in the business of writing software. Back in 2013, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that by 2020 there’d be 1.4 million computer-science related jobs and only 400,000 people in the workforce to take them. That’s a 1 million shortage in human resources. Here we are 5 years later, and there’s no denying there’s a huge shortage in supply. When it comes to exchanging your hours for dollars in the computer science industry, it’s a seller’s market. You get to choose the rules of engagement. Life is good.

That wasn’t always how it was, though. In the early 2000s during the dot com bust, it was hard to find a job as a software developer. And the ones that were around didn’t pay that well. History has a way of cyclically repeating itself and the only constant is change, so we might return to a similar era; if that happens, having an edge on the market could become more than a personal goal — it could be a necessity. 

But meanwhile, you don’t have to be a great developer to make great money writing software. All you really have to do is show up and look busy. Writing software is a black art. Few know what you’re working on, or how long something should take, because the problems you’re solving have never been solved before down to the last byte, and an indeterminate number of obstacles and setbacks can justifiably delay your completion. As a result, there are lot of people out there getting paid handsomely to push code around back and forth, whether they’re actually really doing anything or not. That’s incredible when you think about it. I’m not sure if there’s any other industry in which this behavior is more easily allowed than ours, where something’s amiss if a project isn’t over budget, past its due date, and riddled with flaws. 

That’s not you, though. By signing up for this course, you’ve demonstrated you’re not settling for that. You want more. It’s an honor to have you on board.

Why don’t you send an email and tell me what you’re currently working on professionally? I’d love to get acquainted. We’ll start with me. Since graduating college in 2015, my focus has been web development and design. The language in which I’ve spent the most amount of time is JavaScript. I’ve used various JS frameworks and libraries including React, Angular, and Aurelia. My favorite is Vue. I have a computer science degree, I’m a full-time software developer for Chess.com, and I love what I do. I have the privilege of working with a great team. My past experience with other teams at other companies has taught me that this doesn’t happen by accident. It requires deliberate effort. That’s what this mini course is about.

Your turn! I look forward to hearing from you. Or, I’ll see you in the next installment.