Many people ask what they should do to become a great programmer, and here Google’s Guide for Technical Development can help.
Google is known for employing some of the world’s best software engineers, and the company’s guidelines are therefore of great value.
The guide from Google is a “suggested path for university students to develop their technical skills academically and non-academically through self-paced hands-on learning”.
“You may use this guide to determine courses to take, but please make sure you are taking courses required for your major in order to graduate,” said Google.
“The online resources provided in this guide are not meant to replace courses available at your university. However, they may help supplement your learnings or provide an introduction to a topic.”
The section below is a summary of Google’s advice on how to become a successful software engineer.
Google’s recommendations for academic learning
According to Google, having a solid foundation in computer science is important to become a successful software engineer.
Google advises budding software engineers to use the guide at their discretion, and advises users to also learn things outside of this guide.
Introduction to CS Course
Take Introduction to Computer Science courses that provide basic instructions for coding.
Code in at least one object-oriented programming language: C++, Java, or Python
Beginner Online Resources
- Coursera – Learn to Program: The Fundamentals
- MIT Intro to Programming in Java
- Google’s Python Class
- Coursera – Introduction to Python, Python Open Source E-Book
Intermediate Online Resources
- Udacity’s Design of Computer Programs
- Coursera – Learn to Program: Crafting Quality Code
- Coursera – Programming Languages
- Brown University – Introduction to Programming Languages
Learn other Programming Languages
- w3school.com – HTML Tutorial
- Udacity – Mobile Web Development
- Udacity – HTML5 Game Development
Test Your Code
Notes: Learn how to catch bugs, create tests, and break your software.
Develop logical reasoning and knowledge of discrete math
- MIT Mathematics for Computer Science
- Coursera – Introduction to Logic
- Coursera – Linear and Discrete Optimization
- Coursera – Probabilistic Graphical Models
- Coursera – Game Theory
Develop a strong understanding of Algorithms and Data Structures
Notes: Learn about fundamental data types (stack, queues, and bags), sorting algorithms (quicksort, mergesort, heapsort), data structures (binary search trees, red-black trees, hash tables), and Big O.
- MIT Introduction to Algorithms
- Coursera Introduction to Algorithms Part 1 & Part 2
- List of Algorithms, List of Data Structures
- Book: The Algorithm Design Manual
Develop a strong knowledge of operating systems
Learn UX Design
Learn Artificial Intelligence
Learn how to build compilers
Learn Parallel Programming
Work on projects outside of the classroom.
Notes: Create and maintain a website, build your own server, or build a robot.
Work on a small piece of a large system (codebase), read and understand existing code, track down documentation, and debug things.
Notes: GitHub is a great way to read other people’s code or contribute to a project.
Work on project with other programmers.
Notes: This will help you improve your ability to work well in a team and enable you to learn from others.
Practice your algorithmic knowledge and coding skills
Notes: Practice your algorithmic knowledge through coding competitions like CodeJam or ACM’s International Collegiate Programming Contest.
Become a Teaching Assistant
Helping to teach other students will help enhance your knowledge in the subject matter.
Internship experience in software engineering
Notes: Make sure you apply for internships well in advance of the period internships take place. In the US, internships take place during the summer, May-September. Applications are usually accepted several months in advance.