How to Become a Software Engineer: The Ultimate Career Guide

How to Become a Software Engineer: The Ultimate Career Guide | Technology | Emeritus

Emerging technologies like automation, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of things (IoT) have increased the pressing demand for software engineers. Jobs for software developers are projected to increase by 25% between 2021 and 2031. Software engineering is also lucrative, with an average salary of $120,730 annually in the United States. Needless to say, software engineering is an exciting and rewarding career choice. This career guide will ​​help you discover how to become a software engineer

Why Software Engineering?

Software engineering is increasingly permeating several areas of business. Rising demands of cybersecurity and digital transformation journeys of organizations, among other factors indicate a rise in demand for software engineering professionals. If the question is, how to become a software engineer, this will answer your queries.

online software development coursesWhat Exactly Does a Software Engineer Do?

The field of software engineering is vast. Tasks vary depending on the nature of the role but may include:

  • Creating software applications
  • Designing and maintaining software systems
  • Testing software programs
  • Writing and testing codes 
  • Consulting with clients, developers, designers, and other stakeholders

Do you Need a Degree to Become a Software Engineer?

While it isn’t necessary to have a degree to become a software engineer, education helps build a strong foundation. Most companies also have a degree as an eligibility criterion for software engineers, which is where having a formal qualification will give you a great advantage. If you want to know how to become a software engineer, these are some of the most important skills for you: 

Technical skills: Programming languages, data structure, algorithms, databases, testing, and debugging.

Soft skills: Written and verbal communication, multitasking, teamwork, problem-solving skills, and time management.

How To Become a Software Engineer

Fundamentals of Software Engineering at Carnegie Mellon UniversityStep 1. Begin With the End in Mind

You need to first establish what role you are interested in so you can plan your career trajectory accordingly. Some most popular types of software engineers are QA Engineers, Game Engineers, CRM Engineers, Front-End Engineers, Back-End Engineers, and Full-Stack Engineers.         

Step 2.  Get the Education You Need

If you want a break in software engineering, educational qualification is still the most widely set eligibility criteria by recruiters.     

Step 3. Gain the Experience and Skills Needed

One of the best ways to learn software engineering skills is to get hands-on experience. Platforms like or ZipRecruiter can help you find great internship opportunities.

Step 4.  Consider Online Courses and Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps are a great way to understand how to become a software engineer. They provide intensive eight to 30-week programs focused on developing programming skills. 

Emeritus courses can also help you gain the knowledge to start a career in programming. Check out these courses. 

Step 5.  Consider Other Certifications

For professionals looking to advance their careers, certifications in software engineering can teach coding, design, and testing for modern software products. 

Also read: What Coding Language Should I Learn to Succeed in Life? 

Step 6.  Build Your Software Engineering Portfolio

Your coding portfolio is a great way to showcase your past projects and skills. Even if you have not formally worked in the field, you can document personal projects and prove your capability. 

Step 7.  Connect with Others in the Industry

Communicating with others in the field is an effective way to learn and improve skills. By connecting with peers, you can seek advice, and feedback, share projects, and resolve queries. 

Step 8.  Ask Someone to Mentor You

Talk to an expert on how to become a software engineer. A strong mentor can provide valuable advice.  

Step 9.  Apply for Entry Level Jobs

If you have done all the above then start looking for entry-level job opportunities. Create a resume and portfolio highlighting your skills and projects, and post your resume on job portals. You can also apply directly to companies online. 

Tips For Building a Portfolio to Showcase Your Software Engineer Skills

Here are a few tips that you can use to create a software engineering portfolio 

  • Decide the platform where you want to host your portfolio. You can create your own website or use a website builder. 
  • Showcase the projects that will highlight your skills the best. 
  • Create an ‘about me’ section and also include your degree(s), skills, certification, awards, etc.
  • Connect your email and professional social media. 

Careers in Software Engineering

Here are some of the careers you can explore: 

Frequently Asked Questions

1.  How Long Does it Take to Become a Software Engineer?

Becoming a software engineer can take anywhere from 3 months to 4 years. Many software engineering jobs require at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. 

2.  What Programming Languages Should You Focus on to Become a Software Engineer?

Although there is a wide range, an aspiring software engineer will do well to master Java, Python, C++, and SQL.  

3.  What is the Average Salary for a Software Engineer?

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a software engineer is $120,730 per year.

4.  What’s the Difference Between a Software Developer and a Software Engineer?

Software engineers work on a larger scale to design, develop, test, and maintain software programs. On the other hand, applications and software developers write code from scratch and build software. Learn more about our software development courses and training programs. 

5.  Can Software Engineers Work From Home?

Yes, software engineering can effectively be done remotely. 

Now that you know how to become a software engineer, work towards making your dreams a reality! Emeritus offers an expansive range of online programs that can help you build a basic foundation of software engineering. In addition, after completing the course, you can earn a certificate from a top university that can enhance job opportunities.

By Krati Joshi

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About the Author

Content Marketing Manager, Emeritus Blog
Manasa is the content ninja that every brand needs. Apart from being an expert in tech-related trends and digital marketing, she has found her calling in edtech. Her 10-year-long tryst with education started with a teaching fellowship for underprivileged children, followed by a stint as an edupreneur. It gave her the perspective she now uses to create impactful content for Emeritus. Manasa loves the life of a digital nomad that allows her to travel and hopes her reels go viral on the Gram.
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