When looking for a career as a software developer, what should you learn first? Agile training or Python programming? Computer science or microeconomics? The answers may not be as straightforward as you think.

Agile Training

On Tuesday, Tech Republic published an article based on an interview with the noted software development expert and Stack Overflow co-founder Joel Spolsky. The article described how Spolsky believes aspiring programmers can make themselves most appealing to prospective employers.

Perhaps surprisingly, his leading advice does not involve the acquisition of high-level programming skills. Rather, Spolsky believes the best thing an information technology professional can do at the start of his career is develop a groundwork in C programming and also in economics, writing, and general communication.

Persons with an interest in online information technology training courses will be able to extrapolate from this the other sorts of skills and knowledge that would benefit someone in the early stages of their IT career. Those additional pursuits, such as business analyst certification and agile training, can serve the same fundamental goals that Spolsky lays out, namely to make oneself adaptable to a variety of potential roles and programming needs.

The idea is that learning C programming “gives programmers a better idea of what the computer is actually doing,” thereby making them better able to understand and troubleshoot higher level languages. Meanwhile, a grasp of economics and communication allows the information technology professional to better visualize his role in the company, from a business standpoint, and to convey his ideas about how his skills can be best utilized.

In a larger sense, all of this serves the goal of working within a team, where more experienced programmers and business leaders will exploit your adaptability in order to each you what you need to know. For this reason, it should be easy for readers to see how agile training and certified scrum master training could also be viewed as essential skills that are worth acquiring before one moves on to mastering high level programming languages.

Agile training and its alternatives specifically teach an individual how to work within the familiar structure of most IT firms, and thus how to best fulfill your ever-changing role within a team. It is perhaps more important to learn these sorts of highly practical and socially-oriented skills before pursuing a job interview than it is to acquire the kinds of knowledge that can be learned outside of a structured setting.

That need for structure is why Spolsky is wary of online information technology courses, at least in the case of some subject matter. But he specifies that the danger involved in those courses is simply that the learner will not have the necessary commitment to see them through. However, if he or she seeks the clear benefit to be gained from online agile training or business analyst certification, that danger starts to fade. It is really up to the learner to see things through, in which case Spolsky and other experts clearly agree that the benefits of online training are substantial.