We live in a fast-paced world wherein technology has become a bigger part of our everyday lives. This means a demand for more technology and computer professionals, hence more job opportunities. Software engineers design and develop programs used in computers. Do you want to start and develop a career in this lucrative career path? Then this article is just for you.
Read on below:
How to start a career as a Software Engineer
Earn a degree in computer software engineering or a related field
Most software engineering job roles require that you have a bachelor’s degree. Another degree similar to that of software engineering is Computer science. Majoring in courses such as this would provide you with the necessary foundation for designing and developing programs. The theory taught in schools during computer science or other related degrees is important in preparing you for data structures and algorithms.
However, software engineering requires that you spend considerable time outside of the classroom doing the practical aspect like writing software in order to apply the theoretical concepts to your work.
Software engineering is such that you can be self-taught or have an associate’s degree and still get hired. However, if you plan on taking this route, you need to have a portfolio of projects you have completed which will show your skills set and how functional you are. For example, there are open source projects that allow you to contribute new features and fixes if you don’t have a concept of your own. Open source projects mean that the code (source) for a piece of software can be viewed publicly. Open-source projects allow anyone to submit code to a project and the maintainers of the project will approve of it. Finding such projects as this with a community of developers could greatly accelerate your skills
Discipline is an important virtue if you want to succeed in software engineering. It has also been reported that even people who study other scientific courses are able to take on the role of software engineers quite excellently well because of the mental discipline already developed.
Even if you are in school in your undergraduate years, you can keep yourself way ahead by actually starting to program. Although Software engineering is not only about coding, you still will need to know a couple of languages and how they function. Below are popularly agreed useful languages you should know about:
No language is better than the other, some languages are only better at solving some problems than some others. No one language is objectively easier than another. Experiment with these languages to find out which you are better at. Some tools teach you how to work with visual elements rather than abstract concepts and texts. You can start by focusing on getting the most basic of programs running in just one language. Once you are comfortable with one and then start on the second. You do not need to learn all the languages. Find your niche and be good at it.
Study data structures and algorithms
Algorithm means a formula or process used in solving a problem. Algorithms include path-finding which is used to find the shortest distance between two points, searching which is used to find a specific item of data within a larger set of data, and sorting which is used for arranging data in a particular order.
A “data structure” is a specific way of organizing data in order to make it easier to be used in solving certain problems.
Focus on developing and horning your skills so you can function best in your role as a software engineer.
Mathematics is a major part of computer science-related courses. Also, knowledge of algorithms and data structures stems from mathematics. Although not compulsory, having a strong background in mathematics will help you have a better grasp and develop core skills in analyzing and designing new algorithms. Also, if you want to work with companies that focus on research and development, math is a must. For some other jobs, higher-level mathematics or discrete mathematics is a particularly useful area of study.
Augment your studies
Often times than not, educational systems are outdated. Textbooks are not regularly revised than software is updated. Although educational institutions provide the theoretical background and rigor needed for your success, you must keep in mind that the application of the theoretical concepts to the theory is what counts in the real-world software. This is why you must learn to study wide and hard.
- Go through the internet. There are websites that provide help for software engineers. You can start by identifying the technology, problem space, or language you want to improve in. Some other websites provide questions and answer for developers while some others will help you build your problem-solving tool kit. Looking into the answers of other engineers will help you solve your own problems.
- Use practice sites to test your skills for coding.
- Software engineering meetups and seminars are a good place. Here, you will find a real-world community to keep you inspired, develop connections, and give guidance on where to focus your learning. There are also sites where you can more about the profession. Check out social media sites, as well.
As said earlier, the best way to improve your skills is to put them to use. You can do this by engaging in professional or personal projects, designing and coding software. Remember that for many employers, a hands-on achievement is much better than school grades.
Put your works online
This is if you are not yet monetizing your work. Allowing potential employers to see the projects you’ve created and the code powering them makes it easy for them to assess your skills. You would also get feedback so as to improve on your work.
Seek internship opportunities
Working as an intern with a company will help you gain training and work experiences in addition to a network of potential employers. Look for internship opportunities via job posting websites and networking.