Becoming a corporate software developer is not the same thing as becoming a freelance programmer or a systems programmer.
Corporate programmers are hired for coding skills in programming languages like Microsoft .NET (ASP.NET, C#, VB.NET, SQL Server) and they tend to work regular, office jobs as contract or full-time programmers.
Systems programmers tend to work with programming languages like C/C++ and they also work for companies like Microsoft that build operating systems or systems software.
Freelance programmers work on their own hours and they tend to focus exclusively on web development, web design and user interface (UI) jobs using programming languages and platforms like PHP, WordPress or Microsoft .NET.
Microsoft .NET is the recommended programming language for Corporate Programmers.
However, transitioning careers to Microsoft .NET programming may seem like a daunting or impossible task because you need solid Hands-ON experience which is hard to get without a full-time Microsoft.NET job!
So, the question is, “How Do You Gain Hands-On Experience For Microsoft.NET Corporate Programmer Jobs Outside Regular, Full-Time Employment?“
How To Get An Entry Level Corporate Programming Job
Start by transitioning into a Microsoft.NET Software Developer Career in manageable steps or phases which allows you to achieve career success.
Your first step in becoming a highly paid corporate programmer is to learn Microsoft.NET Programming.
The next step after that, is to gain solid hands-on programming experience!
Both steps must be completed before you can achieve the goal of becoming a corporate programmer!
First Step: The first step in your career transition is to learn the ins and outs of Microsoft .NET Programming. This would include learning ASP.NET, C#, SQL SERVER and the Microsoft.NET Framework.
You can’t bypass the requirement to learn Microsoft.NET programming because you’ll be asked programming questions at your technical interview which you will have to ace before you are hired!
Second Step: The next step involves getting solid, hands-on Microsoft.NET programming experience.
Handson experience is a requirement for information technology jobs because this is a handson, practical industry where what you can do is valued even more than your educational qualifications.
Become a Freelance Microsoft.NET Software Developer:
You may consider starting your career as a freelance programmer before you get hired for corporate / full-time programming jobs.
The experience or skill-level required for some freelance jobs is not as extensive as that of full-time programming jobs because clients can easily work away if they don’t like your job or try your services and see if they like working with you first before hiring you on a longer-term basis.
Freelance Programming Jobs are not necessarily as lucrative as full-time or contract programming jobs but they do allow you to gain the mandatory hands-on programming experience by working on real-world software development projects for real-world clients.
Becoming a freelance programmer while in training as a Microsoft.NET Programmer may also provide you with additional income, which is helpful whether you’re just transitioning careers or looking for a full-time programming job.
Your initial focus should not be to earn a high income but to gain the hands-on programming experience which is required for programming positions.
Become a Highly-Paid Corporate Programmer:
After you’ve completed learning Microsoft.NET, C#, ASP.NET, SQL Server and worked on some freelance computer programming projects, you may transition into a regular full-time or independent Contract Programming job.
Independent Contract Programmers are highly paid corporate programmers with billing rates ranging from $45/hr. to $60/hr. and even more!
However, Independent Contract Programming is not for everyone because you have to pay your own employment taxes or provide your own benefits or face some downtime in-between projects meaning that your income may fluctuate.
As an independent contract programmer, you also have to market your skills consistently to compensate for any downtime in-between programming projects.
The good news is that “the demand for contract programmers is quite high” and each programming project usually lasts for a while (between 6 months and two years).
Become a Full-Time Computer Programmer:
Finally, after you’ve gained strong freelance or contract programming experience or you’ve worked on a number of corporate consulting gigs, you may be ready to become a full-time, salaried computer programmer.
The upside of a full-time, permanent, salaried computer programming job is that you’re guaranteed medical benefits, a good paycheck and some stability in your employment.
You won’t have to pay your own taxes or be on the look-out for the next consulting gig or wonder where your next paycheck is going to come from!
The downside of a full-time, salaried programming career is that you may not earn as much as a corporate programmer because you don’t handle as much risk.
Also, you don’t have the flexibility of deciding who to work for or the ability to switch programming projects or teams when you want!
If you’re interested in learning more about the differences or distinction between full-time and contract programming jobs, read this article titled: “full time programming compared to contract programming jobs …”
How To Overcome Hurdles In Transitioning To A Computer Programming Career
Transition your Career in Phases
Break up your career transition into phases and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable and Realistic) goals for each phase.
Transitioning your career in steps helps because you set achievable goals and build up the momentum that helps you follow though on a plan that leads to career success.
Take Your Software Developer Training
Transitioning to a new career begins with learning new skills.
So, don’t neglect to acquire the required skills and don’t be looking for alternatives that promise a career transition without learning or acquiring new programming skills!
Give Employers What They Want!
Employers require hands-on programming experience which may seem unfair because you need their jobs to gain experience.
However, don’t waste time hoping that employers will change their requirement for hands-on programming experience because you will be more successful at giving employers what they want than at getting them to change their minds.
So, you may transition into a highly paid computer programming career by following this step-by-step plan that allows you to build on past successes or achieve your goals in stages!