Those with an interest in technology and software may want to consider a career as a software engineer. This position has risen to become one of the top technology jobs, with companies paying northward of six figures in some cases. There is a great need for talented software engineers in a time where software plays such an enormous role in practically all areas of life, but how can you get started with a career in software engineering? There is no set path as it is a role that is continuously changing, but there are a few essential steps that will need to be taken to find work and to excel in this role. Read on to find out all that you need to know.
What Is A Software Engineer?
So, what exactly is a software engineer? This is someone that designs and creates software or applications, usually for business purposes, and works with desktop computers, devices, and the internet to create software that will solve problems. In addition to programming skills, this role often involves creativity, engineering, business skills, and project management. It is becoming a competitive role, but there is a great demand for top talent, and, as mentioned, it can be highly lucrative.
Formal education is required to start working as a software engineer, and there are both traditional and non-traditional options here. A two-year associate degree can help you to find some entry-level work. Still, you will find that employers prefer an individual to have a 4-year bachelor’s degree, preferably in computer science. This is because it teaches a broader curriculum and will provide the complete foundation for what is needed to excel in this role. As a non-traditional route, you could also opt for an intensive coding boot camp, which usually lasts 8-12 weeks and will prepare you for entry-level work.
Choose A Path
Software engineering is composed of two specific areas – applications and software/system development, and there are then subdivisions of each area that you could specialize in, such as:
â€¢ Mobile development
â€¢ Technical stack
It is worth researching each area and then deciding on the best area that suits you and your interests so that you can map out a career path.
As with most roles, the education and qualifications are essential, but you will also need to gain some experience to secure work. Tech companies often offer internships, which can be a smart way to gain experience and build contacts, but you could also look to volunteer or start work on a freelance basis to expand your skills.
Brush Up on Interview Technique & Soft Skills
Much like when applying for any other role, you will need to impress in the interview so you should practice and improve your technique (especially if you have had multiple unsuccessful applications). Additionally, soft skills are critical for success in all industries and could help you to excel in your role as well as advance your career (and help in other areas of life).
Find Entry-level Work
At this stage, you will be ready to find an entry-level position as a software engineer. As previously mentioned, this is an in-demand role, so it should not be too challenging to find vacancies. Still, it could be competitive, which is why you need to know how to make your application stand out and to develop critical soft skills. You are unlikely to land a position at a household name tech company at this stage, but this is a field that is all about career development and climbing the ladder, so do not be discouraged by starting at a small company (they could grow to become a significant name too).
Take A Masters
Once you have settled into your entry-level role, and you feel confident that you are ready for the next step in your career, you will then want to earn a master’s in computer science online. Online degree programs can make it much easier to study and manage your career, and you can often find courses that can be completed in 15 weeks. This will give you the knowledge and skills to produce and maintain high-quality software systems and take your career to the next level.
Software engineering is a field that is continuously changing and evolving along with new trends and technologies. This means that you need to stay current if you are to advance your career, so attending conferences, research, and joining online communities is all an effective way to do this and to show that you are passionate about your career.
As with any industry, networking is vital if you want to progress your career and build a professional reputation for yourself. Conferences and industry events are the best places for face-to-face networking. Still, you can also use social media and online communities to engage with other software engineers and other relevant industry professionals. Keep in mind that even if someone cannot help you now, they may be able to in the near future or may know someone that can help you (but you must be willing to return the favor).
Have A Professional Website
Having a professional website is helpful in any line of work, but particularly in this field. Having a professional website allows you to showcase your work along with your background and experience so that you can use this as an online resume and to impress potential employers. Having business cards with your website for face-to-face networking and providing links when networking online will help to direct traffic to your website. Still, it could also be used when making formal job applications.
This guide should help put you on the path to a lucrative and rewarding career as a software engineer. This is an excellent career path for anyone with an interest in technology and software and is quickly become one of the best and most lucrative roles in the flushing technology industry.