Software engineering is the most sought-after career options among youngsters. There is no doubt that it is the single most career that has high demand and draws equally high package. In fact, software companies in India have become global leaders of technology and provide massive employment opportunities. TCS has 400,000 employees and ranks among the highest in the world. Who does not want a lucrative career that can change lives? However, software engineering is really a tough job and not everyone's cup of tea.
Though it looks cool at the surface, you need certain innate traits that go along with your educational qualification to help you succeed as a software engineer. Check for these cognitive skills if you want to become a successful software engineer.
1. Long term learning
You must be ready to upgrade yourself regularly. New languages are developed each year. You cannot stay relevant if you are not willing to learn the latest technological advancements in the software field.
In fact, once your codes are functional, you need to go back on it to build the next version with additional features. Yes, it is a relentless job of reworking on your imagination and trust us, you will never get bored, however, you should have the tenacity and creativity to think out of the box.
Are you keen on learning for life?
2. Eye for detail
Once the codes are ready, you need to test them. In most companies, they are done by the testing department, but good engineers prefer to do themselves. You should have an eye for detail because one error can lead to a bug in the future and threaten the security of your product.
3. A logical mind with problem-solving skills
Writing code is easy but when you arm your script with logic, it becomes a program. Good engineers always write shorter programs than their peers. Your critical thinking skills help you frame an efficient module based on data and research.
If you are a chess player and love logical games, you can become a successful software developer.
Though you are coding alone but building a software product is always teamwork. Whether it is a web-based product or a standalone one, all have big frameworks which must be divided among team members. So it is important to be organized in order to work as a team.
Do you have the key skills listed above? Not sure, the online aptitude tests will help you trace your innate qualities and create your work profile to avoid any career mismatch.
How to become a Computer Engineer?
If your passion is coding, then software engineering is your calling. However, you need to qualify JEE Mains or state entrance test to get admission in any reputed Engineering colleges. JEE is highly competitive covering a vast syllabus in Maths, Physics, and Chemistry and around 15 lakhs students appear each year and near about 2,45,000 are eligible for admission for B Tech degree in Government aided Engineering colleges like IITs, IIITs, NITs, etc. There is no doubt that Computer science is the top paying degree, but, what if you do not clear the cut-off mark for the Computer Science branch?
There are software developers who have made their mark without a CS degree. Let us discuss how one can become a developer without an engineering degree and even average intelligent students can be great coders if they are passionate and determined.
Myths around software developer without a CS degree
There are many unfounded myths that only a CS degree is the ticket to a lucrative programming job. Though the best IT companies look for these degrees while hiring to cut down the risk of low performance, they also look for talents using networking channels and GitHub. If you have a great GitHub profile with multiple projects in your portfolio, there is a high chance for top companies to recruit you.
How to become a software developer without a CS degree
1. Be sure of your goal?
How do you know you are passionate about coding? Have you excelled in coding-based school projects and ranked in programming fests? Do you spend time setting up your home network or creating hobby projects, automating simple workloads for your friends or fixing your own PC. If yes, the software is your forte and you are determined to become a full-time software developer.
2. Choose the language
In the school curriculum, you are either taught C++ or Java. Both languages provide a solid foundation for understanding programming fundamentals that will train you how to think like a developer. You can easily enhance your skills and upgrade to C# or Advance Java, which are in high demand in the market. You can also choose PHP, Python, Scala or Ruby as they are good for beginners. Remember that no matter which language you decide, it may seem challenging at first. But be sure to be persistent and never give up!
3. Choose remote learning or real-time classes
Do you believe in self-study? There are many institutes that offer remote study, but the trick is to be focused and disciplined in order to excel. Though you can study at flexible hours, you will miss the experience of networking with beginners and collaborating in building programs like it is done in software companies.
4. Use tools that real-time developers use
Look for institutes that teach students using tools and processes that real developers use in the workplace. Avoid using free resources like Codecademy with browser-based notepad for practice. Good institutes aim to make you market ready and encourage you to use Git and GitHub and set your terminal to make you collaborate in group projects.
Learning to apply the codes needs time and practice. Yes, “practice makes perfect”, this stands also for programming. Reserve some hours regularly for practice. Most institutes offer 400-800 hrs for teaching the language, but it takes most students between 6 to 8months in mastering it, depending on the hours they dedicate in practicing each program.
6. Read other people’s code
Develop skill in understanding other people’s codes. It is not easy to analyze the line of thoughts of others and may look confusing. Use Git, look for the comments, read the specs to find the exact function of each module and understand the style of the coder. Each developer has his/her own style of naming parameters, and don’t be afraid if you are unable to figure the whole program. Like other things, it needs practice and perseverance.
7. Build your projects
Go solo, use GitHub to make your own projects. Build your portfolio to showcase to your potential employers. Join a software community and you will be surprised to find senior developers who are ready to guide you when you are stuck. Collaborate in group projects, volunteer and contribute to the community.
8. Build your network
This is essential when you are building your brand. Build your own site, start blogging to share your knowledge. Pay attention to your LinkedIn, GitHub profile and be active on Twitter with fellow developers. Your online presence matters because it’s what hiring managers will see when they Google your name as they check your job application.
"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." – Pele
Once you have made your name as a software developer, recruiters will not look for your CS degrees but value your skills and experience. You can also start your own IT company and be the master of your trade. With many freelancing sites making their mark, you can start a home-based business, with hardly any infrastructure cost and strike a perfect work-life balance. What matters most is how you sell yourself!