Study Paths To Becoming a Software Engineer

Published on: September 10, 2021

The primary reason to pursue a college or university degree is to prepare yourself for a career and learn the skills needed to become successful. Unfortunately, not all degrees are helpful, as some have fallen out of favor with modern employers. However, there is one field that is not only incredibly broad but also continuously growing. This field is software engineering, and not only does it have competitive salaries and job security but can even be done while working from home. Best of all, it is a field where you can continue to learn and grow while also benefiting from the many perks that are associated with this career path.

What Is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is a diverse field but can be summed up as designing, building, and testing software applications based on users' requirements. Sometimes the terms software developer and software engineer are used interchangeably, but there is actually a distinction between the two. Commonly, developers tend to work alone while software engineers function best as part of a larger team. Software engineers also often work closely with stakeholders to understand the requirements of a project before coming up with a suitable solution.

How Much Does Software Engineers Earn?

According to, the average base salary for a software engineer in the United States is $100,647 per year ( The job can also include additional benefits such as stock options, and it is a field where experience can lead to increased salaries. Some of the top-paying companies to work for as a software engineer include Apple, Facebook, and Samsung Electronics. At the same time, the highest paying cities are Seattle, Boston, New York, San Diego, and of course, San Francisco.

Is Coding Important For Software Engineers?

A common question by anyone interested in becoming a software engineer is whether or not coding plays an important role. While software engineers do not focus exclusively on coding, it is still important to be proficient with some of the most popular programming languages. Python and JavaScript ( are good places to start, but knowledge of C#, C++, Java, and Ruby will also be very beneficial in this field. Programming skills give you more flexibility in doing your job and enhance your financial security. Once you have learned one programming language, it is also easier to transition to mastering additional ones.

How Do I Become A Software Engineer?

Anyone can become a software engineer with the right motivation, whether you are just starting your career path or looking to change an existing one.

Coding Bootcamps

One of the most common paths to becoming a software engineer, especially if you have limited time, is to take part in coding bootcamps ( These bootcamps are not only much shorter than typical bachelors degrees that can take up to four years, but also tend to focus on the type of skills that employers want from software engineers.

College or University Degrees

Many software engineers also follow the traditional route of earning a bachelor's degree in either software engineering, computer science, or an information technology program that is software-related. Software engineering degrees typically cover topics like programming, network theory and design, and more. Since it is an industry where experience counts for a lot, some software engineers start out in roles such as quality assurance specialists before learning to code and manage projects.

Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning requires a lot of motivation and self-discipline, but there are now more resources available online than ever before to get started. In addition, it can be the most cost-effective option, thanks to all the free educational websites that are online. Self-directed learning may be the best option for people who work full time or have very rigid schedules as they can easily fit it in where it suits them best.

What Soft Skills Are Useful For Software Engineering

Because software engineering involves a lot of work with customers as well as team members, the most valuable soft skills to have are collaboration and communication. This is even more important than ever before, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its influence on the global business landscape. More people are opting to work remotely where possible, which means teamwork and collaboration are still essential, along with the ability to converse fluently with others in online meetings. Successful software engineers know how to leverage asynchronous and synchronous communication tools to their advantage.

What Can I Do To Enhance My Career Prospects As A Software Engineer?

Education counts for a lot, but experience is usually more valued by prospective employers. The best way to impress them is by building up a coding portfolio to showcase your knowledge. Employees value employees who have practical exposure or worked on real-time projects, making a good portfolio a valuable asset. Your education in programming also doesn't stop the moment you complete your career. Software Engineering is an ever-evolving field, and it is important to stay up to date with all the new developments. A degree can help you understand all the core principles, but academic knowledge won't be useful unless you learn how to apply it in the real world.


Becoming a software engineer is not easy, but it is something that can be done with hard work and dedication. It is a great career path for anyone who likes to test their problem-solving skills or loves coding. Unlike other career paths, it can also be pursued if you are older and want a change in pace. In addition, studying software engineering can also be beneficial for entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses. It can be a stressful career and requires hard work, but becoming a software engineer is a fulfilling option for anyone who has a passion for coding and communication.

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