As technology continues to evolve and become a bigger part of virtually every industry, the need for software engineers will follow a similar growth path. Software engineers design and guide the development of programs that computers use to make work – and life in general – easier for the rest of the population.
If the idea of being a software engineer ignites your passion, here are some steps to take down this lucrative career path:
Earn a degree in computer science or a related field.
Most software engineer positions require a bachelor’s degree. If you have long-term plans in the field, a master’s will greatly improve your chances of working in a management position or in embedded software.
- Studying any scientific discipline can help you code better. One expert has noted that some of the best engineers come out of electrical engineering programs because “it teaches them mental discipline. Software engineering is an art that doesn’t tolerate an artist’s mindset- it really requires that discipline.”
Even before starting work on a college degree, you can get a huge head start on being a software engineer by learning programming.
Become proficient at data structures and algorithms.
A data structure is a certain way of organizing data to make it easier to solve problems. And an algorithm simply means a formula or process for problem solving. Focus on developing your skills in both areas.
- As an additional option, concentrate on studying mathematics. Math will be part of any computer science major, and many data structures stem from it. Having a strong math background will give you better core skills for analyzing and designing new algorithms.
The best way to enhance your skills is to use them. Whether through a professional or a personal project, designing and coding software will teach you a great deal. Leading employers often place equal or greater emphasis on hands-on achievements, even more than a candidate’s GPA or theoretical knowledge.
Supplement your studies.
In addition to your educational credentials, what you earn as a software engineer will depend on how well you can apply theory to real-world business solutions. Here’s where supplementing your studies comes into play.
- Browse through StackOverflow. This is a Q&A website for developers. You can search by tag to identify the technology, problem space or language you want to work on.
- Use practice sites like CodeWars or CodinGame. They offer thousands of problems for you to test your skills against.
- Find a real-world community to develop connections. Sites like Meetup can be great places to find software engineers and learn more about the profession.
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