I’ve been working at Enterprise Computing Services at Oregon State University as a student developer for one year. In our group, we mainly focused on developing Application Programing Interface (API) and other relevant jobs. As a Computer Science major graduate student, real-world working experience gave me a very good opportunity to apply my academic knowledge and concepts to practical situations. Since there are various tools involved in software development, a student developer should learn and be able to use these tools very quickly.
Last summer, I worked on a big project which utilized two open source tools, Ansible and Jenkins, to automate our APIs’ deployment process and implement the concept of continuous integration. Because of this project, I got a chance to demo and present my work in front of lots of audiences including stakeholders. Being able to state the concept clearly to audiences is also a very important skill as a professional software developer. From my experience, these areas are important to any student who wants to become a professional developer.
- Always practice and enhance your coding skill. Pick one or two programming languages you are familiar the most and keep practicing them. If possible, you can also choose some frameworks (e.g. Django or Flask) to implement your own project. Push them to GitHub so that people can easily view your technical skills and enthusiasm.
- Writing skill is also important. As time goes by, it is easy to forget details of a project you worked on. Therefore, being able to write clear explanations of a project with well-documented documentation can help you and your teammates save a lot of time.
- Time management. Manage your time wisely especially when you are a student and also a software developer at the same time. Scheduling your tasks by priorities is always a good idea and it helps you finish your tasks on time and efficiently.
- Finally, good communication is the most critical skill you definitely need to have. From regular group meetings to large meetings across the departments, you will have many opportunities to demo your work or convince other people. Having a strong communication skill will absolutely help you and your team a lot.
In a nutshell, developing your technical skills and soft skills are equivalently important for a professional software developer. Student or whoever is able to show the above abilities will definitely be a good software developer. Remember that opportunity favors the prepared mind. Hope all future student developers can find a great journey here!