Software Engineering as a career path

Choosing Software Engineering as a career path
Choosing Software Engineering as a career path

Software Engineering is considered as one of the most sought after career options not just in India but all across the world. Those taking their career leaps in the software domain are amongst the highest-paid people on the planet. But what exactly is the skill set required to enter such a lucrative field? In this post, we will drill down all the skills you need to acquire to become a top-notch candidate for the position of a software engineer in one of the prime companies.

Get a degree in Computer Science: After completing your school education, you can enrol yourself in any of the top engineering colleges in India (depending on your performance in entrance examinations like JEE) and choose to pursue your bachelor’s degree in computer science which is a four-year course. A degree in computer science has its pros such as it provides you with a decent timeline to narrow your career goals and work towards them. You can always also get yourself involved in extracurricular activities and work on your personality development as well.

But there are areas where college education might seem insufficient. While the industry looks for students who are talented in the practical aspect of computer science, the curriculum at most of the engineering colleges, especially those of India, are seen to be driven more on the theoretical part of the computer science branch.

Take up Online Courses: To get hands-on experience on how to work with the latest technologies and come up with products that could make a difference to one’s career students can enrol in online courses.
There are many free resources and courses available online that one can sign up for, a few course providers are Coursera, EdX. These organisations offer courses (called MOOCs) in collaboration with some of the top universities of the world, like MIT, Harvard and Princeton.
While these courses are fantastic to complement your college education, the one shortcoming they have is that they might not be able to provide you with a doubt resolution mechanism. Also, MOOCs might feel like going through a bit of an alone ride.

To tackle the two shortcomings, one can go for boot camps. Bootcamps are full-time coding schools created to educate students with little-to-no programming experience for a job in the field of computer science. Bootcamps usually run for 6-24 weeks. There are various online boot camp courses available (though they are typically paid, due to the availability of professional help).

Besides state-of-the-art courses in Data Science and Machine Learning, Coding Ninjas runs a boot camp of six months duration and prepares students for a software engineering career in Full Stack Development.
These platforms offer doubt resolution and help students work on their soft skills, resumes and improve their Linkedin profiles.

Proficient in one programming language: Programming is the soul of computer science. No matter what computer engineering role you take up in a company, you must be proficient in at least one programming language. Python or C++ are usually the best choices for someone just getting their feet wet in the
programming arena.

Competitive Programming: While you try your hand at projects and hunt for internships, you must keep continuing to get better at your programming and algorithmic skills; competitive programming can come to the rescue. Competitive programming is a mind sport usually held over the Internet or a local network, involving participants trying to program according to provided specifications. Various websites regularly host programming contests such as Codechef, Codeforces, Hackerrank and LeetCode.

Gaining skills in a particular niche: Along with brushing your algorithmic and programming skills, it is of paramount importance that you develop a skill set in any of the principal areas of Computer Science.

Web Development: If building websites is your calling, then web development would be a perfect start to your career in Software Engineering. There are two main areas in website development – front-end and back-end development. while front-end is all about the visual elements you may observe on a website; the back end is what keeps care of where the website is stored, how it runs and manages the databases of information. You can choose to take up either of these areas or both of the areas, in which case you’ll be what is knowing as a Full Stack developer. Important topics: HTML CSS and JS, Backend Development using NodeJS and MongoDB and projects using the mentioned technologies.

Game Development: Does it ever matter to you more about how in Counter-Strike game you are getting to a new scene every time you walk in a direction? If you irk about how this scene in the game could have been better or how the calculation of health is all wrong, get in the hot seat and make a better game! Game Development is for you! The aspect of developing a game is taken care of by a team of developers. Whereas, its the designers who create the tale around a game and design the scenes. Important Topics: Unity 3D, Javascript, SQL, MVC model, HTML5 and PyGame.

Mobile Development: Ever wondered about how mobile applications like WhatsApp that has been used by millions of people around the world get created? With the massive rise in the number of smartphones, the mobile app industry is booming. Behind these iOS and Android applications, there is a vast team of mobile developers and designers. Applications are created such that, they work on all smartphones irrespective of their Operating System or screen size. Important Topics: Java (to build apps for Android phones), Objective-C(to build apps for iOS phones).

Data Science: One of the hottest career paths of the 21st century, data science offers some of the highest-
paying jobs in the tech industry. According to a statistician Josh Willis, Data Scientist is a “person who is better at statistics than any software engineer and better at software engineering than any statistician.” If you
think you are good when it comes to critical thinking and quantitative aptitude or you have a belief to gain that expertise, a career in data science is there for the taking. Important Topics: Statistics. Linear Algebra. Programming, Data Visualisation, Machine Learning.

Projects and Internships: “Don’t tell, show!” While studying in a technology-related field, knowing the concepts of a subject well is only the first step in learning. It is of immense importance that you could use the knowledge acquired and be able to come up with a practical project with it. These projects not only make it easier for the recruiters to see your commitment for the field but also in a way, prepares you for a career in computer science. You can come up with a project idea for the core subjects like Computer Networking, Operating System, Database Management, etc.

Furthermore, to get familiar with the workings of a tech company and improve your skills, you must try to do as many quality internships as possible during your four-year stint at the degree. The best time to go for internships is usually at the end of the 2nd year and the end of the 3rd year. LinkedIn contacts, college seniors & alumni are the perfect people to get you connected to a potential employer.

By Prashant & Ankush