June 25, 2018
The creation of computers spawned the study of computer science and ultimately, its applications in society in the form of software engineering. The roles and capacities a software engineer may fulfill vary between companies, but here are some friendly tips on how to get started!
1. Love programming. If you’re in high school, University or working full time, and you haven’t yet explored programming, do so. Having an interest in math is generally highly recommended.
2. Get all the maths training you can in school including algebra, calculus, geometry and statistics trigonometry and graphing are also a good idea. Try to advance to university level math before leaving school; you’ll need a ton of math to complete any Computer Science program and Engineering program.
3. Plan on getting a degree. With all the success stories of college drop outs becoming billionaire CEOs in the 90’s, there is a certain lure that “as long as I think outside the box and have outstanding problem solving and programming skills I don’t need a four year degree”. Don’t get me wrong, all of this is self teachable, but it is difficult for entry level software engineers to obtain a position or an internship without being enrolled in a University curriculum due to the difference in market saturation between now and the 1990s.
4. Qualify your degree by what you want to do. If your love is game design and you wish to enter that industry as a game programmer, you’ll need a Computer Science degree. If you want to work for IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Google, etc., then a Computer Science degree may be good for you. If you’re looking to work for a non-technical corporation building mostly business applications, consider a degree in Management Information Systems or one of the many business technical degrees now offered. This type of degree is best for most, because it provides management and general business skills.
5. Supplement your class work with personal research. Search job boards and note what technologies are hot and buzzing. Universities simply can’t keep up with everything, you’ll need to buy additional technical books and teach yourself the latest technologies.
6. Unless you’re planning to get your foot in the door through an intern position, try to find side projects while in school or at work. Employees rarely want to take a risk and hire someone without projects under their belt. Internships are great at taking care of this problem, but unfortunately a lot of people can’t land an internship or do so only to discover they would prefer to work elsewhere. The only way to give yourself options is to find some self initiated project to put on your resume.
7. Develop contacts with software engineers. If possible try to connect with software developers and work on some projects under their guidance. The IT community is generally welcoming and happy to share knowledge. Github is an excellent place to get a network and learn new trends, having also a strong LinkedIn network always helps.
8. Understand that software engineering is not the same as programming. Every software engineer knows how to program, but not every programmer is a software engineer:
9. After learning about all the fields related to Computer Science, choose a particular direction in Software Industry. Narrowing your choice down will help considerably in planning your career. Always think simple because the Software Industry itself is very complex.