How to Become a Software Engineer
Software engineers are at the backbone of almost every computer program. The system your device is running on, the browser you’re reading this from, and almost anything to do with software – they’ve probably created it.
If you want to become a software engineer but don’t know where to start, don’t worry – we’ve got you. In this article, you’ll learn what a software engineer is and the steps to becoming one.
What Is a Software Engineer?
A software engineer uses their knowledge of mathematics and computer science to create computer software and programs to solve specific problems. In this role, you’ll write diagnostic programs and design and write the code for software and operating systems.
How to Become a Software Engineer: Step-By-Step
Follow these four steps to become a software engineer, even if you have no previous experience in the field.
Plan your career path
Many coding skills are transferable between roles; however, you should have a clear idea of what job you ideally want. Different positions in computer science need different skills and/or programming languages.
You should understand the difference between software engineering and similar fields to decide your career path. For example, software developers mainly use mathematics and computer science knowledge to develop software products, while web developers focus on programming websites.
Get an education
You can go down one of three paths to learn the necessary skills: attend a coding bootcamp, get a college degree, or learn how to code by yourself.
- Attend a coding bootcamp. In a fast-paced, intensive program, you’ll learn a lot of very specific information in a short period. You’ll gain job-ready programming skills and anything else you need to know. Bootcamps are very intensive and can be worth it if you put in the dedication, time, and effort. But keep this in mind: if you get lost or fall behind, it will be hard to recover as bootcamps go at a very fast pace.
- Get a college or (and) university degree. A formal college education is the most popular route for software engineers. Four-year degree programs cover computer science theory and practice, provide a community for people to work together, and the support from instructors. College degrees are best for those who have the time and resources to spend and want to go at a slower pace.
- Self-directed learning. If you like exploring and learning things on your own, there are several educational programs (many of which are free!) to learn everything you need to know. These classes are designed to suit self-directed learning styles and are much cheaper than a degree or coding bootcamps. If you are looking to become a software engineer or land a job in a related field in tech, check out Cyper Academy, a free educational program conducted by Cyper experts.
Gain experience and build your portfolio
Pursue projects of your own or with others to show potential employers what you know. Practice your coding skills outside the classroom to gain real-world experience to add to your resume. You may also want to consider applying for an internship. Even if it’s not paid, it’s a great way to gain experience.
Apply for jobs
Figure out your career goals and what you want to achieve. Think about the position you want now and where you want to be in five years. Update your Linkedin, resume, and other social profiles, and apply for jobs either through your network, by reaching out to people, or by applying to job boards.
Becoming a software engineer isn’t as hard as you may think. With the right skills, time, and effort, you can land a job in the tech industry, even if you have no previous experience.
Remember that a college degree isn’t everything. Many successful people in the technology industry are self-taught, and you too can follow in their footsteps.