How to Become a Software Engineer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Finding a job as a software engineer can be difficult. It is important to do research, connect with professionals in the tech industry, and have the necessary skills for the role.

That is why we’ve created this guide for you. Here, you’ll find a step-by-step guide explaining exactly how you should approach becoming a software engineer. Follow along, and you’ll have some insider information about how to get this position. 

Related: Landing Your First Software Engineer Job After a Career Switch

1. Chart Out Your Path

Starting to plan with the end in mind is always a good thing. In fact, it is the second habit of the famous “Seven Habits” guiding highly effective people. 

This is even more true when speaking about a career in software engineering. This is because the field branches off in all different ways and deals with some careers that have very little in common. This makes it hard to jump from the end of one career track to the end of another. So, knowing where you want to end can help guide you on where to start. 

For example, if you want to work in web development, you may want to get a job relating to front-end engineering. Meanwhile, database engineering may be a good place to start if you want to work in AI. 

2. Build Your Skills

Once you know where you want to start, you can begin building your skills to allow you to get there. This will give you the basic requirements necessary to get the position. 

The most straightforward way to do this is by going to a college or university and getting a degree. Many jobs in software engineering will require a degree of some kind, so this will be a necessity in many cases. Make sure your degree is related to the exact type of software engineering you want to do, as this will make it easier to get a job in that field. 

Alongside this, you can also bolster your skills with other programs, like a coding bootcamp. A coding bootcamp is a program that typically lasts a few months and will teach you specific coding skills. The best part about coding bootcamps is that they often come with a certification at the end, so you have something to show potential employers. 

When looking into coding bootcamps, make sure to look for ones that are career-focused. Doing so will put you on the right track to getting a job. 

Looking for an intensive program that will help you learn the coding skills you need? Attend an info session and learn more about how Sabio’s coding bootcamp can help kickstart your career.

3. Further Experience

Classroom experience can only get you so far. Hands-on and real-world experience are valuable in their own way. In fact, many employers want you to have at least some field experience before hiring you. 

One of the best ways to do this is by volunteering. There are plenty of software engineering volunteer opportunities out there. These include teaching others how to code or coding for non-profit organizations.

Outside of volunteering, you can also do other things to build experience. Working on a personal project is a great way to build your skills in a self-guided way. You could also choose a more traditional choice and build your experience through an internship. Overall, plenty of opportunities exist; you simply need to seek them out.

4. Certifications

Experience and knowledge are helpful, but certifications carry a bit more weight with them. A certification is a way to say that you have measurable knowledge with a specific skill set. 

The best part is that there are a wide variety of certifications out there. Massive tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft offer certifications that show you are knowledgeable about their products. Many companies already use the tools offered by these companies on a regular basis, so proving you know how to handle these tools will make these companies seriously consider you. 

Some bootcamps may even make obtaining certifications part of the process. So, you may have already completed this step if you went through one of these programs. 

Related: 4 Tips To Prepare For Your First Important Tech Job Interview

5. Craft Your Portfolio

Once you have the skills, experience, knowledge, and certifications you want, you need to start showing them off. Start crafting a portfolio designed to highlight all of your work and accomplishments. 

One of the best ways to do this is with your own website. Simply designing an impressive-looking website makes you stand out. However, the information you populate it with will allow you to stand out more. 

You can also join professional networks like Linkedin. These often allow you to list your qualifications and put you in touch with other professionals. 

Finally, make sure to craft a traditional resume. While many companies are switching to online application processes, many still require traditional resumes. A good-looking resume may be what sets your application apart from the others. 

Ready to boost your skills and land your dream job? Apply for our bootcamp program today.

6. Start Going After Jobs

With your portfolio built, you can start the job search. Online search is the best way to find companies nowadays, especially in tech fields. However, don’t forget to use more traditional pathways as well. Ask others in your professional network if they know about any openings or make inquiries on social media. 

Start your search by going after jobs directly related to the path you have set for yourself. You may only be able to get entry-level positions at first but don’t be afraid to apply for higher positions as well. You never know what kind of job you will end up getting, and you don’t want to miss out on something simply because you are afraid you wouldn’t get it. 

While searching, don’t assume you are finished with the other items on this list. You can always learn more or acquire additional certifications. Consider starting a new personal project or taking a coding bootcamp with an emphasis on job placement. Doing this while looking for a job makes the continued job search easier and prevents your skills from becoming stagnant.

Becoming a Software Engineer

A job as a software engineer is rewarding and is something that many desire. Having a step-by-step plan for getting the job you want gives you a better chance at realizing this dream. The best part is you can get started at any moment.

Related: How to Grow Your Software Engineer Career
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