Do you want to change career & earn more?

Blog Series

Do you want to change career & earn more?

Introduction

 

Welcome to the first in this series of posts/articles centered around changing careers, or more specifically learning some technical skills that will help you find a new career.  

I’m Shaun and I run a small family business called FutureDev Ltd, however before this I worked as a Senior Software Developer for over 20 years in the FinTech (financial technology) sector.  I have a dream for our company to be successful enough that we’ll be able to help lots of people who may need or want a career change, either through injury or just because…

 
For now at least, the best I can do rather than financial help etc is to share some of the knowledge that I’ve acquired over the past 21 years or so.
 

Why change?

So many people around the globe wake up everyday knowing they have to spend most of their day doing something they dislike or even hate, don’t be one of them! 
 
With the modern age and the internet you now have an abundance of choice, either invest time in yourself or stick with what you’re doing already.  Simple isn’t it?
 
This series of blog posts will help anyone wanting to become a Software Developer or perhaps a Web Developer/Designer to get started on this journey.  You may just want to get started with software development or website design as a hobby and that’s perfect too.
 
 

Is Covid affecting your income?

This is a fact for many with many of those that are affected unable to do their jobs from home.
 
Now more than ever, being able to work from home is being seen as more productive and accepted by major corporations such as Microsoft and Google.

Whether its because what life has thrown at you recently, or just simply because, as they say “a change is as good as a rest”!

 

Own your choices

 
  1. You can carry on as you are, unhappy for one or many reasons and deal with it. 
  2. It may be that you do not hate your job, but require more freedom such as working from home.
  3. You may just want to start working for yourself and currently work within a very unsuitable industry.
 
The fact is there are many reasons that you may be thinking of a career change.
 

Facts up front

 
We need to spell out a few facts and dispose of a few myths before we go any further:
 
  1. Changing your life/career requires significant time investment in yourself, if you’re not prepared to find 8-10 hours per week for a considerable amount of time you might as well stop reading this now.
  2. Change is possible however, I know this myself because I’ve done it already.
  3. It is possible to achieve all of this for free once you know how (almost free, more later).
  4. You can also pay money on good solid courses, tutors and so on to speed things up.  It’s possible, but not required and so please be careful who you give your money to and why.
  5. More and more companies care less about a degree, choosing to interview candidates.  Demonstrate knowledge, pass their tests, be the best and the job will be yours.
  6. Everything you need for these career changes is available on the internet today.
  7. If you have no money well fear not, although it may take you longer without a good instructor/mentor it is still very much possible.  Not all mentors will charge you either.   
  8. Many on the internet will have you believe that you can cut many corners if you pay them money, don’t listen to them because quite frankly it’s usually bullshit.   
 

What do you need to get started?

 
What you need really does depend on the task at hand, with many choices available for any given task for the experienced person.  As your experience and knowledge grows for any given technology or subject matter, you’ll normally find that the tools you use change depending upon what you are doing, or at least the tools you are using will change constantly as the real world changes around it over the course of time.
 
Throughout most of my career, one of the tools I ‘ve used constantly is Microsoft’s Visual Studio, there’s been so many versions over the years that the latest versions are almost unrecognisable when compared to early versions.
 

We’re going to start with Visual Studio and we’re going to start with downloading and installing one of the best integrated development environments around.  

No matter which path you plan on following, be it a website designer, developer or even SEO, having an understanding of real programming constructs will help you a great deal in the future. 

 

Microsoft Visual Studio

 

Right, it’s time to dive straight in, download visual studio and create our first program.  Don’t worry we start at the very beginning and take you through each step.  Did I mention, it’s all free too!

The version of visual studio we’ll be using is Microsoft’s Visual Studio – Community edition which you can find here:
 
 Choose the community as seen in the following screen clipping:
 

Clipping 1 – Download Visual Studio

When you click the Free Download button above, you’ll be asked to download a file, that file will be something like this one:
 

Clipping 2 – Visual Studio Downloader

Your file may not be named exactly as above as the file changes regularly, it will however be an executable file (.exe) and probably less than 2mb which is really small.  This is because this isn’t visual studio yet, it’s simply the installer for Visual Studio which will guide you through a series of questions, then based on your choice download and install all the required bits and pieces for you.
 

To execute the installer just open the file and it will start extracting, shortly after you’ll see something like this:

Thank you for downloading Visual Studio

Simply click the continue button as can be seen in the above picture.  Clicking continue will result in another short wait while setup performs some preparations, after which you’ll be presented with the installation configuration options on screen:

Visual Studio Installation – Workloads

 

Now this may all look and sound rather intimidating, don’t worry just trust me in that right now the technicalities of all this doesn’t matter, just ensure you tick the same as me here:

 

Workloads Tab

That’s all we really require unless you need any language customisations or want to change the location of the install.  Figure 4 shows the “Installation locations” tab, note that I haven’t changed any options here and so it simply show’s all the default settings:

Figure 4 Visual Studio – Installation Locations

Over on the right hand side in Figure 4, we can see a summary of what’s about to be installed with more choices. Just ensure that you have enough free space (12.33GB required for my chosen options) and go with the defaults at this point.

Click the “Install” button in the bottom right corner.  Now go and make a cup of tea or a coffee and relax because this can take a while to download and install depending on your system.

 
While the installation takes place you’ll be presented with the something like Figure 5.
 
 

Figure 5 – Visual Studio Installer

That’s it, once completed you’ll have all the tools you need to start writing software, from simple console applications, to a full blown cross platform ASP.Net core MVC Applications (to be explained much later in the series).
 
You’ll be presented a window like Figure 6 once the installed has finished:
 

Figure 6 – Sign in to Visual Studio

While not essential to do so, I really do recommend that you create an account, but it’s up to you (can be done at any time)!  There you have it, you now have an amazing professional cross platform IDE ready to get learning.

Earlier in the install, we left a default setting for the tick box “Start after installation” (see Figure 5), assuming you did the same , try clicking “Not now, maybe later.“, the Visual Studio IDE will now start to load, see figure 7.
 

Figure 7 – Preparing for first use

After some initialisation for first use, you’ll be presented with a screen like Figure 8.
 

Figure 8 – Installation Complete

We will explain other items in future articles, for now we’re going to create what could possibly be your first ever computer program.  Simply click the “Create a new project” button to get started.

Once we clicked the “Create a new project” button, the next screen you’ll be presented with looks like Figure 9.
 

Figure 9 – Create new project

Don’t worry about what all this means right now, just choose the one highlighted in Figure 9, which happens to be the default choice.  Ensure it’s highlighted as above and click “Next”.
Next we need to answer a few questions (see Figure 10 below) about the project that we are about to create, enter the “Project name” as HelloWorld, the location will show slightly differently, you can change this and store the project where ever you want it.
 

Figure 10 – Configuring your project

Now click “Next” again and you’ll be presented with a screen as per Figure 11 below, don’t worry about what this means right now, just know that .NET Core 3.1 is as cool as a cucumber. It’s cross platform meaning you with it can work on (for example) Windows, MAC and Linux to name just a few platforms.

For now don’t worry about all that, just click “Create“.

Figure 11 – Additional Information

After just a few seconds you’ll be inside one of the world’s most powerful IDE’s (integrated development environments)!  For our first program we don’t actually need to write any code at all, Visual Studio kindly scaffolds a basic console application for us.  

Console projects will all start just like this ready for you to change as required, something we’ll be doing a lot of in the next article (2 of 10).
 
To run this simplest of programs click the green triangle next to the “HelloWorld” project name (see Figure 13 below) or hit F5 (Windows), this will cause the program to compile, execute and finally display the result on screen as seen in Figure 14.
 

Figure 13 – Your first program

 

Figure 14 – The program output

 
There you have it, simple computer program consisting of just a few lines of code, notice the text “Hello World!” has been output to the first line of the screen.
 
Next time we will be diving deeper into what programming is all about, we’ll start by talking more about what just happened with our first program and then start looking at making this program more useful.  
 
Thanks for reading,
 
Shaun Dunbavin
FutureDev Ltd
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