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Software Engineer Career Change Tips

September 5, 2022

Man learning to code so he can change careers

Introduction: Software Engineer Career Change

A software engineer career change can be a great way to boost your earnings and improve your job satisfaction.  Making the change can be very tough but is rewarding. If you’re considering a career change to become a software engineer, here are a few things to keep in mind.

What Does a Software Engineer Do?

Before you make a software engineer career change, it is important that you familiarize yourself with all the responsibilities of the job. So, what does a software engineer do? A software engineer is responsible for the development and maintenance of computer applications and systems. They work in a variety of industries, including information technology, healthcare, finance, and manufacturing.

Most software engineers work in an office environment. They typically work 40 hours per week, although some engineers may work more or less depending on their project deadlines. Considering these responsibilities, think about whether you have the right skills for the job or are up to learning them. After all, software engineering is a complex field, and it requires both technical and soft skills.

Collaborative work in software engineering career

Why Become a Software Engineer?

Software engineering is one of the most in-demand career fields today. Some reasons why people are drawn to software engineering include the following:

These are only some of many reasons as to why you may be considering a software engineer career change.

Learning with mentor as they prepare for a career change to software engineering

How to Know if Software Engineering is for You

A software engineering career is a great choice for many people. But it’s not right for everyone. Here are some things to consider if you’re thinking about a career change to software engineering.

Do you have the right skills? Software engineering requires strong analytical and problem-solving skills. You must be able to understand complex systems and figure out how to make them work better. If you’re not good at math or science, or if you don’t like working with computers, this may not be the right career for you.

Are you willing to employ your soft skills on a day to day basis? This includes being flexible and adaptable. Communication and planning are also important.

Moreover, are you interested in technology? To be a successful software engineer, you need to be interested in technology and how it can be used to solve problems. You should keep up with the latest trends in your field and be excited about learning new things. Otherwise, you may find the whole career to be boring and tedious.

Traits of a Software Engineer

There are many traits that software engineers share. For example, it is important to be comfortable with the unknown. As you are learning to code, you may get problems you might not know how to solve but if you search around you will eventually find an answer. 

Furthermore, being curious and dedicated to life long learning is a must in this career. To help with this, you may consider getting a mentor. Having a mentor is very important as you can learn more easily with someone to guide you. However, if you do not have someone close or cannot pay for a mentor, consider doing a lot of tutorials online or YouTube tutorials. There are a lot of great resources out there, so make sure you take advantage! 

Learning to code alone with tutorials online for career change

A Day in the Life of a Software Engineer

If you are considering a software engineer career change, then you should take a look at what a day in the life of a software engineer might look like. Typically, engineers spend their days writing code, testing applications, and troubleshooting errors. They also collaborate with other engineers and developers to create new features or products. In addition to coding, engineers may also be involved in project management, customer support, or technical sales.

Mentor and mentee talking about code and software engineer career change

Making the Switch: Preparation

Making the switch to a career in software engineering can be a daunting task. But with the right preparation, it can be a smooth transition. Here’s what to expect when making the switch to a career in software engineering.

Tips to Prepare for the Transition

For those who have been working in another field, the jump to software engineering can be a big one. The good news is, with the right preparation, it can be a relatively smooth transition. Here are a few things to keep in mind before making the switch to a career in software engineering:

  1. Do your research. When making any career change, it’s important to do your research and make sure it’s the right fit for you. With software engineering, that means understanding what the job entails and whether your skills and interests align with the role.
  2. Think about your motivations. For some people, making the transition to software engineering is a way to build a more stable career path.
  3. Think about your passions. While it’s important to consider how your skills and interests align with a new career, it’s also important to consider where they diverge.
  4.  Understand what you need to succeed. For software engineering, that means understanding how your skills align with the job.
  5. Understand what you’re getting into. There are a number of aspects to a career in software engineering that could be unexpected. These include:
    • Working with a team of engineers to build software
    • Building infrastructure
    • Technical support and troubleshooting
    • The need to keep up with the rapid pace of change in technology
Team of software engineers working on a code

Software Engineer Career Change: Learning to Code

If you are interested in a software engineer career change, then you should get familiar with what it might look like to code. It is likely that learning to code will be your biggest challenge in making the software engineer career change. Before making the career change, you should consider the cost of training. You’ll need to invest time and money into learning new programming languages and tools. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you learn these things.

I started with this course. Of course, there are other good resources such as code academy, free code camp, and YouTube videos. The biggest thing is to avoid getting stuck in tutorial purgatory. This is where you struggle to get anything done without a tutorial. I highly recommend trying to expand on tutorials adding features and practice with new things not included in the tutorials and eventually doing your own projects as you learn the most this way.

Coffee to help you complete your software engineer career change

Preparing for a Successful Transition

There are three main tips to keep in mind as you make the career change to become a software engineer.

Software Engineering Career Change: Mentorship

First, look for available mentorship programs. As mentioned, a mentor can guide you and help you understand the skills and expectations necessary for software engineering. Consider networking with a professional who knows the field you’re interested in learning more about. To do this, you could apply to companies that usually assign large teams to their projects. Or, you could join an online community devoted to open-source projects. By participating in such a community, it is possible to further hone your code-writing abilities and mimic an online software development environment, like that of professional developers.

Software Engineering Career Change: Portfolio

Second, build up your portfolio. A portfolio is a record of the projects you have completed, and it is a great way to show off your skills and experience. Your portfolio may show the  quality of your work. Considering sharing your portfolio with potential employers through adding it onto professional networking sites. This way, potential employers may view it whenever you update your portfolio.

Software Engineering Career Change: Create a Plan

Lastly, create a study plan to learn coding. Many development companies offer coding bootcamps and online courses that teach you the basics.

Coding boot camp with many coders who are interested in software engineering

Conclusion: Software Engineer Career Change

In conclusion, software engineering can be a rewarding career with many opportunities for growth. The best way to find out if software engineering is the right fit for you is to explore your interests and see what type of work would be a good match for your skills and personality. I recommend exploring your options and considering a career change if you are not happy with your current position. If you are interested in exploring a career change, there are many resources available to help you find the right path.