How To Become a Software Engineer
Software engineering deals with the design, development, testing, troubleshooting, and maintenance of software. Software engineers are the professionals who test and develop software and network applications.
If you’re interested in becoming a software engineer but don’t know how to start pursuing this career, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Just follow this step-by-step guide and you’ll be on your way to becoming a software engineer in no time.
How To Become a Software Engineer: A 7-Step Guide
1. Determine your end goal. The first step in becoming a software engineer is deciding what your career path will be. Software engineering is a diverse field, so ask yourself, “what kind of software engineer do I want to be?” The most common career paths in software engineering that you can take include becoming a data engineer, software developer, technical project manager, or software architect, among many more positions. Once you figure out this step, you can begin to tailor-make the rest of your path.
2. Learn the fundamentals. When pursuing software engineering, it’s important you have a clear understanding of computer science. You should not only become familiar with basic computer topics such as data structure and software designs, but also focus on learning code. Learning HTML or Python is a good place to begin, but computer language becomes much deeper and more complex. You should also familiarize yourself with important technical tools like Adobe Dreamweaver CC, Codenvy, GitHub, BitBucket, and more.
3. Get an education. Let’s face it, you can’t get anywhere without a degree, and if you want to become a software engineer, you need a degree in an information technology-related program. Excelsior University’s Bachelor of Science in Information Technology program provides you with the knowledge, skills, applications, and practices you need to make an immediate impact in the information technology field. Accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET, this online degree program develops expertise in subjects including software and development, computer systems, database management, network communication, cybersecurity, system administration, human-computer interaction, and project management.
4. Build experience. Now that you’ve earned your degree, it’s time to put it into practice. Try taking on internships or apprenticeships to gain hands-on experience in the field and put your knowledge to use. This is a great way to build your resume and can be an important way to land your first job. This is also a good time to practice your craft and start building your own projects, which leads us to the next step.
5. Create a strong portfolio. Building your own projects and posting them to a personal website can be an effective way to show potential employers the kind of work you are capable of. A strong portfolio can set you apart from the competition. Be sure to include projects that showcase your best work and only include your latest work. Keep it organized and don’t forget to explain your projects.
6. Pursue certifications. Just like a strong portfolio can set you apart from the pack during a job search, so can certifications. Earning a certification shows potential employers you are willing to build your knowledge and learn more. It also gives you an advantage over the competition. Popular software engineering certifications include AWS certified developer, Certified Software Development Professional, Certified Software Development Associate, Certified Software Development Master, and Certified Software Engineer.
7. Start looking for job opportunities. Now that you have the education and experience, it’s time to job search! Networking is one of the best ways to learn about potential job openings. Try joining online communities like Reddit, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and try attending conferences, seminars, and meetups about computer science. Meeting in person is also an effective way to connect with professionals and get caught up on the latest news in technology.