Getting into a career in coding is a smart move. It’s one of the fastest growing professions today, and ranks as one of the top 10 highest paying computer science jobs in 2022.
But the computer programming career path is also a competitive, demanding, and ever changing career. This means that it’s important to stay up to date, creative, and versatile in your own mastery of the subject.
One of the best ways to get good at coding, and we mean really good, is by involving it more frequently in your life, not just while studying. You’ll gain a whole host of benefits and boost your career by taking part in extracurricular activities which involve coding in some regard.
Here are 4 extracurricular activities you must do if you want to get into coding:
1. Join a coding club
There’s a common misconception that coding is a lonely world filled with solo work, but it’s not always the case. At a professional level, coding is often carried out in teams, so it’s a great idea to join a coding club or bootcamp to improve your own game.
In a coding club, you’ll be able to collaborate with others, learn from them and indeed teach them things you know — all in an environment far removed from the pressures of academic study.
There’s also a much greater creativity, motivation, and innovative spirit to be found when joining forces with people who share the same interests as you. Aside from boosting your actual coding skills, joining a club can also help you build those “soft skills” which are imperative to going far in your career.
By soft skills, we mean your social and communication skills, flexibility, patience — the kind of traits which can make the difference between getting your dream job or missing out!
Oh and one more reason to join an extracurricular coding club: It looks great on your CV. Simple!
2. Play coding games
There’s no simpler extracurricular activity for future coders than playing games. They keep the mind sharp, foster creativity and require you to constantly solve problems.
On top of this, playing simple coding games is one of the best ways for total beginners to get started in computer programming!
But for computer programming students, playing more challenging coding games helps you learn faster and allows you to apply your academic knowledge to real life (well, digital real life). It also lets you discover your limitations, which you can then improve upon.
Since there are thousands of coding games out there where you can build your programming skills, we couldn’t begin to list them all.
But Codingame, Codeccombat, Codewars, Vim Adventures, TIS-100, and Screeps all come to mind.
3. Build websites, apps, & software in your spare time
Just as an art student will get better by creating art outside of class, or a literature student will improve simply by reading and writing, future coders are sure to stretch their potential by applying their skills in their spare time.
It doesn’t have to be a serious business idea like the next great social media platform or digital currency — just play with your skills and see where your ideas take you!
Haven’t got any ideas about what to build or develop? All the more reason to join a club and collaborate with others just like you!
4. Contribute to open source software
This is one of the very best activities for computer science students to take part in.
If you didn’t already know, open source software has a source code that anybody in the world can access, analyse, and modify. Linux, Android and Firefox are all open source, for example.
Working on open source is possibly the most effective way of getting good at coding quickly and giving yourself a launch pad for a computer programming career path. You receive feedback from the community pretty much immediately, get advice from more seasoned programmers, and can take on board suggestions for how to improve your coding.
All of this can help build your confidence in applying your knowledge in a working environment.
It’s also a fantastic CV builder, as quite a few open source projects allow you to credit yourself as a contributor on LinkedIn and other professional networking sites.
On that note, we’ve already written a useful guide that you should read on how to create a winning LinkedIn profile to land your first job.
So it looks like you’re keen on a career in computer programming? Great idea! But you’ll need to study the right degree first! Check out the courses available at our excellent partner universities. Click here to get started with Edvoy, or follow the button below.