December 09, 2015
Steps to Becoming a Software Engineer
Becoming a software engineer can be a challenging and extremely rewarding career path. It requires a high level of aptitude in mathematics and science and is a growing field with many opportunities. In today"s online-centric world, software engineers are in high demand, and choosing to pursue a career in the field will provide great job security. However, it will take years of study, planning, and practical experience to achieve this, and it is important to know what is needed to become successful in this career. Additionally, software engineering can be broken down into more specific disciplines, and it is important to learn about which area may be best for you.
- Q: What areas can I specialize in?
- A: There are many disciplines within the software engineering field, ranging from app and software development to network engineers and cyber-security specialists. A bit of research will help give you a better idea of the various fields an aspiring software engineer might choose to specialize in. Regardless of which direction you choose to take, it is an essential part of this field to develop exceptional skills in programming languages, such as Java and HTML.
- Q: What kind of education and training will this career require?
- A: Learning programming languages for most people requires going to school and taking a course of study that will help to lead you on the path to becoming a software engineer. It is a good idea to meet with a guidance or career counselor at your school, find an online career education guide, or even try to get in touch with a software engineer to gain some more detailed insight into what is needed to become successful. It is important to have a clear understanding of the knowledge and skill requirements to become a software engineer, as it is a very complex and demanding profession. While some people have a natural aptitude for this field, the vast majority of people will require a rigorous course of study in computer science to reach a level of proficiency desired by companies.
- Q: Where is a good place to begin my formal education for software engineering?
- A: An associate degree in software development technology will help prepare you for entry-level positions within the IT field. These are usually two-year programs and provide a good starting point, and you can always pursue a higher degree from here, once you've formed a foundation for future study and decided on an area of specialization. This is a good place to start your formal education, as it will provide a great basic set of skills for the field as well as give you a chance to ensure that this is really the right career path for you. Many of these degrees can be earned online or at a physical campus. Some of the most popular online programs include ones at the University of Phoenix and Colorado Technical University.
A more extensive list of some of the best online bachelor"s and master"s programs in the country is often compiled by colleges and organizations, and these lists are a good resource for looking for the right school to fit your requirements. If you have the aptitude and grades and wish to obtain a higher degree, some of the most elite colleges in America offer computer science and engineering programs that will give you access to the best professors and resources in the world and position you for a long and successful career in the software engineering field.
A very important supplement to obtaining a degree is participating in one or more quality internship programs. While many opportunities exist, landing a good internship can prove to be a highly competitive process, highlighting how challenging of a field this can be. Practical experience in the field will only serve to benefit you after completing your degree program, when you are searching for a permanent position.
- Q: What kind of company can I work for?
- A: Deciding what type of company you want to work for is a matter of personal preference, but the great thing about a software engineering career is the fact that you can apply your skills in a vast array of companies and industries. Often, the best way of getting a full-time position is starting at the place where you did your internship.
A company such as Dell has obvious need for software engineers, but there are also plenty of opportunities outside of tech-based companies. For example, Voya Financial, a company that provides financial and investment products, needs software engineers to develop software their clients and their employees use. In fact, almost any major company or agency needs software engineers! With a degree in software engineering, you can choose whether or not you want to be on the front lines of the tech industry with companies like IBM, Google, or Facebook, which are constantly innovating and developing new technologies. These companies are very selective and have some very stringent hiring requirements, and investigating potential opportunities at these types of companies will give you a good idea of exactly what they look for and if they are the right choice for you.
It is just as viable of an option to find an equally challenging and rewarding career working for a company in your hometown or city that is using some level of computer technology or looking to increase that aspect of their company. You have to ask yourself what direction you want to head in and what your personal career goals are. Virtually every company over a certain size has an IT department, and companies are always looking to hire tech-minded individuals to help them be more successful via the use of more effective and useful software.