- If you google the term "professional programmer" you will get many diverging answers mostly from people who like to make everything look very hard. Programming is hard, no doubt, but not harder than other job skills. I believe public speaking is way harder than programming and I don't see public speaking experts making it look extremely tough, discouraging newbies. A professional programmer is someone who makes a sizeable chunk of his livelihood writing computer programs. And that's all. As long as you can write a program people are paying money for and you are earning a lot from doing that, then you are a professional programmer.
- Now that we have made clear the goal. Your first step would be to learn programming. To read books, watch tutorial videos and do some practice.
- Second step would be to tackle live projects -- yours or someone else's. Let people know about your programming ambition/skill. Take on projects, whether for free or fee. The goal is to become creative enough to figure out solutions without express guidance.
- Third step is to start charging for your solutions. Once you have done enough reading and practice, start charging for your programming jobs. Sign up on freelance sites, put it up on your blog and tell people within your network.