If you’re thinking of what to do with your life next after O/Ls, or you’re a parent trying to decide for your child, this information would be useful to you – today, there’s an application or an ‘app’ for everything; from hailing cabs to paying bills and things both simpler and more complex than that. There is, undoubtedly, a huge demand for these apps today and developers who dream up and create these applications are also of equally in high demand in the current context.

To cater to the rising demand for developers locally and globally, a number of colleges and institutes have mushroomed in every nook and corner today offering various courses in programming, software and application development, etc. However, according to Janith Leaganage of Yamu who is a developer and a tech enthusiast, although a background in IT or an academic qualification may come in handy, one has to be passionate and open to new ideas and knowledge in order to become a good developer.

Similar ideas were expressed by Thameera Senanayaka, Technical Lead at Allion Technologies, when asked what requirements one should obtain to get started as a programmer or developer. According to him, if one knows where and how to look, the Internet is full of wonderful opportunities to learn.

“You get a computer, learn the basics of any computer language and start experimenting/creating things. There’s never been a time with more opportunities; you just need to have the passion to learn,” said Thameera.

Speaking on his entry into the field, Janith said that he has been ‘into’ computers from a young age, played with programming languages and websites throughout his teens and naturally ended up doing a computer science degree. In other words, he has been passionate about it right throughout. Thameera’s story also was more or less the same. “Making a computer do things is a wonderful experience. It’s like you have superpowers. I was passionate from the start and being able to do it as my day-job was a nice bonus,” he said.

Passion was the key word.
When asked what advice they had for aspiring programmers, Janith said that he has seen a lot of people entering the field with no passion for coding or love for problem solving and end up hating it and opting for periphery careers. “Don’t do that to yourself,” he said.

Contrary to the common perception of most in relation to creating software – of it being a mundane desk job – Janith proceeded to describe his work as a “medium of self expression” that is “rich.”
“Open a Github account. This will be the first thing a (good) potential employer will look up when they want to work with you.

Work a few projects and contribute code, or write your own stuff and put it up. Don’t be shy or scared to share your code in public. Personally, the greatest thing that happened to me was to have someone who was a Level 900 expert at this stuff looked at my code and suggested improvements. It’s exhilarating, and you learn a lot from that experience,” said Janith, offering advice to the up-and-coming developers.

Commenting on the current demand and the opportunities available for developers today, Janith was of the opinion that a good designer can make roughly about Rs.900,000 or more a month solely by doing freelance work with clients all over the world. “With the Internet, the world is your oyster” he said in conclusion.

In terms of opportunities, Thameera said that companies both locally and internationally are willing to pay for talented programmers and, in fact, there’s a shortage of good developers in Sri Lanka at the moment. “If your present company isn’t paying enough, there’s always a place with a better pay given you’re actually good at what you do. There’s always room for you to start up your own thing as well,” he added.

In his concluding remarks, Thameera said it would be useful for developers to mix and mingle with other developers at meetups and other platforms that facilitate such interactions. Most importantly, he urged up-and-coming developers not to think in ones and zeros when dealing with humans, as good communication leads to good relations and good relations are imperative for developers in order to survive and progress in the field concerned.

App your way up] (2)