Since the fact that the technology is evolving on a daily basis, software engineering follows too. This evolution has impacted on software engineering becoming one of the most sought-after jobs.
In this article we'll elaborate more on how to become a software engineer and the challenges you'll face in the process.
First of all, software engineering is a really important field that has one of the biggest roles in the technology's future.
Before we jump into How to become a software engineer, let's find out what it really is.
What is software engineering?
Software engineering, in essence, is assisting the development of AI, Machine learning and Augmented reality. Not to forget to mention the Virtual Reality (VR). The main duty of the software engineer is to develop, design and maintain devices like:
- Smart Homes
- Self-driving cars (Tesla currently)
- Virtual assistants
Great career choice, right?
Structuring the path on How to become a software engineer. you can start by:
- Setting goals and stick with them
- Pick a language that fits you best
- Learn how to code
- Find people to interact with the same interest as you
- Seek a great mentor
- Create your own project
- Create your own project a couple of more times
How to pick a language that fits you
Everyone knows that computers don't have the ability to adjust to us, so we'll just adjust to them. Plain simple. And, to make a computer do what we want, we have to “tell” them in their language.
In essence, a programming language is a language that is used to create a program that “communicates” with the computer algorithms. Basically, it's just a set of instructions that the computer knows how to read and execute. Exciting, right?
There are a lot of programming languages currently in use. 256 programming language to be precise, according to this article.
If we were to divide based on popularity, and most-demanding in 2019, these are the languages that make the list:
Having a particular programming language to learn is the main part in order to reach your goal. The most crucial part of how to become a software engineer is to pick a language that fits you.
You found your? Good. Next step is “Learning to code”!
Learning how to code
There are a couple of ways to learn how to code, starting with becoming a self developer.
Anyone can learn how to code on their own, it just depends on how committed you are. The internet is really an ocean of tutorials, articles and exercises where you can learn pretty much anything.
With just a few clicks and taps and bam! you're ready to start learning. You can easily find tutorials that teach you every single thing for a particular language. Or, if you're more of a reading person, you can always download an e-book or a PDF file that contains information.
The main advantage of self learning is that you do it at your own pace. More often than not, you find yourself competing with your colleagues that you're studying with. In order to avoid the stress that is created by thinking you're behind, you can learn by yourself. If you want to learn at 5pm or 5am, it's entirely up to you!
You can always take a computer science course. There are a lot of people who struggle to understand something in their own, and they seek help from others. Generally speaking, becoming a software engineer requires having a computer science degree, so you have to start studying. The bachelor's degree usually takes up to 3 years, and you'll graduate with a diploma ready for work. In these three years you'll touch pretty much the surface some of the most famous programming languages. This is a great way to start learning how to code.
Whichever fits you best, your choice!
Seek a great mentor
Based on this study, learning one on one with a professional gives you a 60% more chance of becoming successful in the field. That's because of the main reason: You start to learn without having to deal with his mistakes.
Just take a minute to read that again. It means that you will not lose countless hours in trying to understand why your code won't work, or why there could've been a better method. You'll learn straight from the master!
The mentor will help you accelerate your learning, and will explain any question you might have in a more simpler way than any tutorial could. They have it easier to explain things to you considering that they've walked where you're walking currently.
During this time, you will feel a lot of pressure and stress because you will feel like you're not good enough. That's where the mentor comes into play and explains it to you so you don't have to give up if you don't understand something.
A great mentor will make the whole process easier and you will feel more confident about your work.
Create your own project
After you cover a certain path of the whole process on becoming a software engineer, you will want to start your own project. And you should! After all, why shouldn't you? You've come all this way to try and create your own product. But know this: the majority of your project will fail!
By creating your own project, you'll have the freedom to experiment and choose the preferences according to you. Plus, you'll learn on the way of creating your project a lot of things.
Another great thing to start your own project is that you'll realize your weaknesses and find a way to overcome them. Also, you'll fill up your portfolio and look more professional when introducing yourself.
You'll have to deal with failure in your career a lot. Each project should be divided into two outcomes:
Failure – If one of your projects will fail, you should never consider it a failure. You will learn a lot of things from every failed project that will help you until you succeed. So in essence, your failed product is not entirely failure if you learn something from it.
Success – The best part of a project is when it's successful. You've launched your product, it got great feedback and reviews and you're good to go. Congrats!
Becoming a software engineer will be stressful, and you will have a lot of downsides. There will be countless struggles you will face, and you will feel like putting up your white flag and give up. That's why you need to have a solid plan on how to become a software engineer, and not just dive right in there. It is a long and difficult path, but the destination is worth the walk!
Alicia leads content strategy for LearnWorthy managing a team of content producers, strategists, and copywriters. She creatively oversees content programs, awareness campaigns, research reports, and other integrated marketing projects.