5 Tips To Mapping Out A Career In Software Engineering

Andy Charters
.
July 16, 2021
Productivity

If there is one industry that is not oversaturated, it is the tech industry. There is so much room for fresh talent, new businesses, and bold pacesetters. However, just as expected, there are numerous qualified candidates lining up to fill most of the available spaces in the industry. This increased rush is certainly a direct outcome of a rising need for software developers in practically every sector and company.

While the idea of jumping right in and taking a place among numerous sought-after candidates seems easy, there are still some steps that should be taken first before taking the plunge. Here are five tips to mapping out a career in software engineering.



How to become a good software engineer.

To succeed in any field or endeavor, you have to get the foundation right. The foundation of any hopeful candidate is what will determine how smooth or challenging a career in software engineering will be. So basically, that means that getting the right education is paramount. Education is a basic, yet very essential part of learning, it doesn’t just develop the mind, but develops skills, especially in a course like software engineering.

However, the plus side about a subject like this is accessibility, not everyone has to enroll in a four-year course to learn the basics of software engineering. Thanks to innovative learning platforms, courses and classes are readily available online, it all depends on which skill or level needs to be attained.

This does not negate the fact that getting a formal education in software engineering is an added advantage. That is because all the fundamentals of the course are broken down step by step; programming, codes, algorithms, and other important elements are easier to grasp in a well-planned program. But, that does not stop an individual without a degree in this course, in fact, hands-on knowledge is just as important as anything taught in a classroom.

That would mean getting directly involved in open-source software projects and jumping on opportunities that will increase your practical knowledge in the field. Besides, most employers do not put much emphasis on having a formal degree, most of them are looking for certain skills, and hire on that basis. While this is true, it is important to note that simply getting an online certificate won’t cut it. In a competitive field like this, hopefuls will need to develop themselves on a daily basis.

Take the ‘practice makes perfect’ mantra seriously and strive to increase your skills and knowledge regularly. Remember, do not be too hard on yourself, especially if this is a new field; pace yourself and draw out a schedule you can workaround. That way, you can adequately track progress, rest when needed and efficiently reach your goals within a certain time frame.



Pay attention to the fundamentals.

Yes, it is true that most employers prefer to hire software engineers and mobile app developers that specialize in the specific areas related to the companies needs, but that isn’t the reason to specialize. Here’s why; specialists may have an advantage when companies are seeking to hire programmers, but they may also have very limited knowledge when it comes to solving problems that are not related to their field.

A programmer who has a more grounded and general knowledge in the field would be more beneficial than one that simply specialized in a certain area. That means that a lot of times, employers will consider a programmer who is a specialist in one area, but still has beneficial knowledge in other areas as well. That’s why it is important to develop multiple skills in other areas; that is the best way to stay relevant.

So, as a newbie in the field, don’t neglect the fundamentals, they may seem less important at the learning stage but may be required as you progress in this field. Read books and take classes that provide strong foundational knowledge on general and fundamental skills, and take on projects that do the same. Solving various problems on different projects could be the best way to gain hands-on knowledge about different areas of programming.

So, don’t get tired of putting yourself out there or working on different projects, even if it is for free. That way, you will gain more skills that will ensure your relevance in the tech industry. Another great way to advance your skills is by joining online communities. Programmers all around the world can now connect on various platforms, which makes it easy to connect from different countries and companies around the globe.

Software developers could easily connect, make friends and learn innovative ways things are done outside the shores of their state, country, or continent. Joining platforms like Hashnode, Coderwall, or Stack Overflow would be great for learning from other programmers’ experiences, questions, answers, and discussions.



Get with the trends.

Living in the 21st century may seem like a roller-coaster, that’s because of how fast-paced and evolving these times are. What was essential one year ago may just be outdated for many this year, and that’s how the cycle continues. So sticking to the regular ‘everyday routine’ will not cut it. You need a strategy to find out new trends and industry evolutions to stay relevant in an industry like this one.

How do you get with the times? It is simple; by continuous learning. Do not be an island, join a group of fellow coders or have friends or colleagues who code regularly. Look at their work, collaborate on projects and it will help you develop a broader perspective when it comes to programming. It may not seem relevant now, but who knows what will pop up tomorrow? If you are to stand out or become a well sought-after software engineer, then it is essential to have more than one technological stack under your sleeves. That means investing in knowledge, taking on additional courses, reading books recommended by industry greats that inspire you, and gaining various certifications.

Getting certifications like TOGAF, or Open CA could be the added advantage you need to get ahead of the line. Even more, join a network or sign up for a ‘tech weekly’ journal or coding blog that will expand your knowledge on what’s new. Here are some reliable sources to check out; DZone, Radar, InfoQ, and many more.

Now, remember, it is important to stay smart when investing in knowledge, don’t jump on every trend at any given opportunity. Remember to pace yourself, and train wisely; rather than taking on Angular today, then practising Vue.js the next day, get a framework that is progressive and easy to follow.

Don’t jump on advanced coding methods when you have not mastered the fundamentals, stay on course and learn each basic course one by one. You should complete one course and master it before taking on another one.



Do not sell yourself short.

As mentioned above, software engineering is one field that is not oversaturated; the demand for software engineers keeps increasing as the years go by, which means there are more companies that need programmers. Software engineers are synonymous with highly-priced commodities; companies need programmers way more than software engineers need a job.

That may sound ironic, but it is true; take for example vacancy listing sites, five out of twelve of the jobs are mostly software development jobs. Besides, there’s an over 500,000 job shortage in the industry right now, and this gap has been predicted to increase in the next decade. That’s because there’s still more demand for programmers regardless of the progress scientists and engineers are making with robots and AI.

All over the world, companies are looking for more tech staff and software developers; let that sink! In today’s world, it’s probably one of the jobs with the highest demand. Your job is important, so do not sell yourself short. Companies need you, so don’t stop learning new things, expanding on knowledge, and putting in the work, it will certainly pay off. Living with this mindset will help get your priorities straight; there are great career opportunities out there with mouth-watering salaries, however, those are just the advantages of the field.

More importantly, you will have the chance to improve your skills and boost self-confidence. So, this is not just good career advice, but believing in yourself and being confident will generally help in life as well.

Work on personal projects.

In a field like software engineering, simply working for a big tech company may not improve your personal skills. The best way to push yourself and get creative is to take on solo projects from time to time. For programmers with a website, uploading personal projects would do you a whole truck of good, especially if you’re still job-hunting or free-lancing. Whenever you have some spare time, work on personal projects that express your inner sills and true passions.

Doing this will sharpen your skills, open up your mind to new realities and showcase those talents to the world. It does not matter whether you are employed or freelancing, working on jobs meant for a company may not exactly translate to what you enjoy doing. So, working on personal projects will not just advance your skillset, it should help keep those burning passions alive.

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Full-Stack Node/VueJS Developer (Mid - Senior)

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Full-Stack PHP Developer (Mid to Senior)

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Full-Stack PHP Developer Tech Lead

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Full stack RoR/VueJS Developer

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Fullstack Developer

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Fullstack .NET Developer

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Lead/Senior Frontend Developer (UI/UX) - Brazil

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Senior Full-Stack PHP Developer

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5 Tips To Mapping Out A Career In Software Engineering

February 16, 2024

If there is one industry that is not oversaturated, it is the tech industry. There is so much room for fresh talent, new businesses, and bold pacesetters. However, just as expected, there are numerous qualified candidates lining up to fill most of the available spaces in the industry. This increased rush is certainly a direct outcome of a rising need for software developers in practically every sector and company.

While the idea of jumping right in and taking a place among numerous sought-after candidates seems easy, there are still some steps that should be taken first before taking the plunge. Here are five tips to mapping out a career in software engineering.



How to become a good software engineer.

To succeed in any field or endeavor, you have to get the foundation right. The foundation of any hopeful candidate is what will determine how smooth or challenging a career in software engineering will be. So basically, that means that getting the right education is paramount. Education is a basic, yet very essential part of learning, it doesn’t just develop the mind, but develops skills, especially in a course like software engineering.

However, the plus side about a subject like this is accessibility, not everyone has to enroll in a four-year course to learn the basics of software engineering. Thanks to innovative learning platforms, courses and classes are readily available online, it all depends on which skill or level needs to be attained.

This does not negate the fact that getting a formal education in software engineering is an added advantage. That is because all the fundamentals of the course are broken down step by step; programming, codes, algorithms, and other important elements are easier to grasp in a well-planned program. But, that does not stop an individual without a degree in this course, in fact, hands-on knowledge is just as important as anything taught in a classroom.

That would mean getting directly involved in open-source software projects and jumping on opportunities that will increase your practical knowledge in the field. Besides, most employers do not put much emphasis on having a formal degree, most of them are looking for certain skills, and hire on that basis. While this is true, it is important to note that simply getting an online certificate won’t cut it. In a competitive field like this, hopefuls will need to develop themselves on a daily basis.

Take the ‘practice makes perfect’ mantra seriously and strive to increase your skills and knowledge regularly. Remember, do not be too hard on yourself, especially if this is a new field; pace yourself and draw out a schedule you can workaround. That way, you can adequately track progress, rest when needed and efficiently reach your goals within a certain time frame.



Pay attention to the fundamentals.

Yes, it is true that most employers prefer to hire software engineers and mobile app developers that specialize in the specific areas related to the companies needs, but that isn’t the reason to specialize. Here’s why; specialists may have an advantage when companies are seeking to hire programmers, but they may also have very limited knowledge when it comes to solving problems that are not related to their field.

A programmer who has a more grounded and general knowledge in the field would be more beneficial than one that simply specialized in a certain area. That means that a lot of times, employers will consider a programmer who is a specialist in one area, but still has beneficial knowledge in other areas as well. That’s why it is important to develop multiple skills in other areas; that is the best way to stay relevant.

So, as a newbie in the field, don’t neglect the fundamentals, they may seem less important at the learning stage but may be required as you progress in this field. Read books and take classes that provide strong foundational knowledge on general and fundamental skills, and take on projects that do the same. Solving various problems on different projects could be the best way to gain hands-on knowledge about different areas of programming.

So, don’t get tired of putting yourself out there or working on different projects, even if it is for free. That way, you will gain more skills that will ensure your relevance in the tech industry. Another great way to advance your skills is by joining online communities. Programmers all around the world can now connect on various platforms, which makes it easy to connect from different countries and companies around the globe.

Software developers could easily connect, make friends and learn innovative ways things are done outside the shores of their state, country, or continent. Joining platforms like Hashnode, Coderwall, or Stack Overflow would be great for learning from other programmers’ experiences, questions, answers, and discussions.



Get with the trends.

Living in the 21st century may seem like a roller-coaster, that’s because of how fast-paced and evolving these times are. What was essential one year ago may just be outdated for many this year, and that’s how the cycle continues. So sticking to the regular ‘everyday routine’ will not cut it. You need a strategy to find out new trends and industry evolutions to stay relevant in an industry like this one.

How do you get with the times? It is simple; by continuous learning. Do not be an island, join a group of fellow coders or have friends or colleagues who code regularly. Look at their work, collaborate on projects and it will help you develop a broader perspective when it comes to programming. It may not seem relevant now, but who knows what will pop up tomorrow? If you are to stand out or become a well sought-after software engineer, then it is essential to have more than one technological stack under your sleeves. That means investing in knowledge, taking on additional courses, reading books recommended by industry greats that inspire you, and gaining various certifications.

Getting certifications like TOGAF, or Open CA could be the added advantage you need to get ahead of the line. Even more, join a network or sign up for a ‘tech weekly’ journal or coding blog that will expand your knowledge on what’s new. Here are some reliable sources to check out; DZone, Radar, InfoQ, and many more.

Now, remember, it is important to stay smart when investing in knowledge, don’t jump on every trend at any given opportunity. Remember to pace yourself, and train wisely; rather than taking on Angular today, then practising Vue.js the next day, get a framework that is progressive and easy to follow.

Don’t jump on advanced coding methods when you have not mastered the fundamentals, stay on course and learn each basic course one by one. You should complete one course and master it before taking on another one.



Do not sell yourself short.

As mentioned above, software engineering is one field that is not oversaturated; the demand for software engineers keeps increasing as the years go by, which means there are more companies that need programmers. Software engineers are synonymous with highly-priced commodities; companies need programmers way more than software engineers need a job.

That may sound ironic, but it is true; take for example vacancy listing sites, five out of twelve of the jobs are mostly software development jobs. Besides, there’s an over 500,000 job shortage in the industry right now, and this gap has been predicted to increase in the next decade. That’s because there’s still more demand for programmers regardless of the progress scientists and engineers are making with robots and AI.

All over the world, companies are looking for more tech staff and software developers; let that sink! In today’s world, it’s probably one of the jobs with the highest demand. Your job is important, so do not sell yourself short. Companies need you, so don’t stop learning new things, expanding on knowledge, and putting in the work, it will certainly pay off. Living with this mindset will help get your priorities straight; there are great career opportunities out there with mouth-watering salaries, however, those are just the advantages of the field.

More importantly, you will have the chance to improve your skills and boost self-confidence. So, this is not just good career advice, but believing in yourself and being confident will generally help in life as well.

Work on personal projects.

In a field like software engineering, simply working for a big tech company may not improve your personal skills. The best way to push yourself and get creative is to take on solo projects from time to time. For programmers with a website, uploading personal projects would do you a whole truck of good, especially if you’re still job-hunting or free-lancing. Whenever you have some spare time, work on personal projects that express your inner sills and true passions.

Doing this will sharpen your skills, open up your mind to new realities and showcase those talents to the world. It does not matter whether you are employed or freelancing, working on jobs meant for a company may not exactly translate to what you enjoy doing. So, working on personal projects will not just advance your skillset, it should help keep those burning passions alive.

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