Are you looking for a new career? You should consider becoming a software engineer.
These jobs are in demand and they pay well above an average salary. Google and Facebook are reported to pay entry-level software engineers more than $150,000 a year.
That’s not a VP position. That’s entry-level.
Some software engineers make seven figures. That’s right, they’re millionaires.
You’re probably wondering how long does it take to become a software engineer and make that kind of money.
Read on to learn more about what a software engineer does, how to become a software engineer, and how long it takes to land that first high-paying job.
What Does a Software Engineer Do?
The most simplistic explanation of a software engineer is that they write code for various software applications, from basic computer apps to robotics.
Think about everything around you, including your car, phone, and TV. Most of what you see around you runs on software.
You could end up sending your code to Mars. NASA’s Perseverance rover frequently gets software updates to fix any issues.
How does a software engineer differ from a software developer? A software engineer looks at the entire design of a project to ensure that the project works from beginning to end.
A developer is primarily responsible for carrying out the code. A software engineer usually takes part in the development, but developers don’t usually take part in the design process.
The specific tasks of a software engineer depend on their role within an organization. Software engineers may work with external clients to design projects.
They may have an internal position at an organization, where they design software infrastructure and ensure that a company follows software best practices. Read more about what those best practices are.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Software Engineer?
It takes about four years to become a software engineer. Most companies require a four-year degree in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, or another relevant degree.
At a minimum, it takes about four years to become a software engineer.
The traditional path for software engineers is pretty linear. You get your high school diploma, and possibly take AP math and science classes when you’re there.
In college, you pursue a degree. When you graduate, you get a job. You can decide to get a master’s degree or become a Professional Engineer (PE).
You may or may not need the PE certification. It depends on the laws of your state and the company you work for. If it is required, it will take an additional four years or so.
Can you become a software engineer without a degree? It is possible, but you need to have a few things in place of that degree.
You need to show that you’re able to do the work of a software engineer. If you already have several years of experience as a software developer, you can become a software engineer.
A solid personal network will help you, too. You will need to know people at other companies to get around HR’s requirements to have a four-year degree.
When you’re in school for software engineering, you should think about your career path. That will help you focus on classroom projects that will serve you in your work.
You also want to start building your networks. Reach out to people early on and ask them to be mentors. That will only help you as you start to look for jobs.
How to Get a Software Engineering Job
Now comes the fun part. It’s time to cash in on all of that hard work and land a job as a software engineer.
The first step is to define the kind of software engineer job you want. You should know what your priorities are in a job. For instance, you probably want to work somewhere that values a work/life balance.
You might want to have weekends off or have the flexibility to choose your own hours. Make sure you think about the company culture and the type of work you want.
Make a list of your needs and wants. If there are any dealbreakers, you should list them as well.
You will need to have a resume. You can keep this to one page, where you highlight your skills and experience.
put a project portfolio together. This should include at least three projects that you worked on.
You can make one of these projects open-source and post it on GitHub. That shows interviewers you’re already familiar with GitHub and using it for collaboration.
You should also be prepared to defend your code. Expect to get a lot of questions and walk the interviewer through your projects.
There’s also a technical interview. You’ll be expected to answer questions about various programming languages. You can do online searches to find the most commonly asked questions and prepare for them ahead of time.
You’ll want to organize your job search. After all, organization is a big part of your job. You can have a system that tracks applications, interviews, and follow-ups.
Jump Into Your Career as a Software Engineer
There are a lot of advantages to becoming a software engineer. There are a lot of job opportunities. You will be paid very well. You can contribute to projects that could change the world.
How long does it take to become a software engineer? It takes about four years to get a degree and a job right after school. You could get a job without a degree, but you need to have quite a bit of experience under your belt.
Be sure to check out the other tech articles on this site.