How to Become a Software Engineer in 2023

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states the future is bright for those who want to enter the field of software engineering. Over the following decades, there is expected to be an increased demand for mobile applications and software. While the field can be competitive, becoming a software engineer will have many rewarding benefits. Here is how you can pursue your career of becoming a software engineer. 

Are you ready to boost your software engineering skills? At TECH I.S., check out how our bootcamp programs and certifications can put you ahead of the competition.

What Is a Software Engineer?

A software beginner will design, develop, and test software applications and systems to meet a client’s or organization’s needs. These professionals must have diverse skills, focusing on analysis, technical design, and programming. These engineers will interact with software users, clients, programmers, designers, researchers, and other engineers in the development process. Depending on the software engineer’s daily tasks, their day-to-day responsibilities can vary. Some engineers will work on front-end projects, while others will focus on back-end issues. 

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Software Engineer Salary Expectations

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This tech position is expected to grow exponentially in the following decades. Software engineers of all levels and skill sets will continue to be in demand by employers. Software engineers are expected to earn a median annual salary of $109,020.

Required Experience for Software Engineers

While experienced requirements for a software engineer will vary according to certain employers. Many companies with larger software development teams hire individuals with different experience levels. These levels can include:

  • Junior/Associate Software Engineer: An entry-level position for those with less than a year of experience in the field. 
  • Software Engineer I, II, or III: This position is considered a mid-level job. Requirements will vary by employers or positions. Individuals will have about one to three years of experience. 
  • Senior Software Engineer: Once again, the job requirement will depend on the employer and positions. Many of these professionals will have three to five years of experience. Some candidates may have a master’s degree with fewer years of work experience. 

If you are looking for an open position, it is vital to have a portfolio of completed work. With that, you can stand out from the competition. Consider a software engineering bootcamp. These programs are an excellent way to give you the essential education and skills through project-based, hands-on assignments. Those entry-level individuals may want to pursue internships during college or after graduation. 

Certifications for Software Engineers

While software engineers do not need certifications, these credentials can help your job search. Professional certifications show that you have a high level of dedication and proficiency that will help you stand out in the application process. 

Here are several popular certifications that you may want to pursue:

Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional

The cybersecurity organization offers this certification. With this certification, you can demonstrate proficiency in incorporating security practices throughout every stage of the software development cycle. To complete this certification, you will need at least three years of relevant work experience and a bachelor’s degree. You must renew this certification every few years.

Professional Software Developer

The IEEE Computer Society offers another certification. Earning this certification can show employers that you are proficient in software design, construction, testing, and other requirements. You will need two years of computer science education and two years of software engineering experience. This certificate will need to be renewed. 

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C/C++ Certified Professional Programmer

The C++ Institute provides this professional programmer credential. Individuals can achieve both associate and professional certifications for C and C++ programming languages. With this certification, you will not need to renew it.

Microsoft Certifications

You can earn various certifications from Microsoft. Many will demonstrate proficiency in security, Microsoft Azure, and DevOps engineering. While many certifications require a fee, student discounts are available for this achievement. Depending on the certificate, renewal requirements may be needed. 

Becoming a Software Engineer

There are several ways to become a software engineer. One of the easiest and traditional methods is to earn a bachelor’s degree, obtain an internship, and then find a job. Some engineers may elect to get an associate degree, moving on toward a bachelor’s program. 

However, those two options are not the only paths. A few software engineers will learn about the basics of data science, programming, or another computer-based field through self-study. While independent learning can be beneficial, it does take a lot of patience and time. Some self-taught software engineers do face challenges to employment. Many applications will prefer applicants who have a formal education. But these self-taught individuals can boost their resumes with internships, professional projects, bootcamps, and certifications. 

Bachelor’s Degree Path

Education is not required, but it is important to your job search. Here is how you need to become a software engineer focusing on a bachelor’s degree.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Many software engineer employers want to find individuals with at least a four-year bachelor’s degree. Some best-suited majors include computer and information systems, computer science, software engineering, and information technology. 

Gain Internship Experience

While in school or after graduation, you should look for an internship with a software engineering team. With an internship, you can get a head start on the job search. Along with that, you can boost that competitive edge over other applicants. In some cases, these internships lead to full-time positions. 

Find a Specialty

Many software engineers will specialize in a niche. These specializations can narrow down your job search. You may want to focus on front-end, back-end, full-stack, data science, security engineering, or quality assurance. 

Get Industry Certifications

While many software engineering jobs do not need a certification, these credentials can help you be more competitive in the job search. Any certification will demonstrate your engineering knowledge or programming language competency. 

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Associate Degree Path

Some individuals will earn an associate’s degree focusing on a relevant discipline like computer information systems or infiltration technology. After earning an associate’s degree, aspiring software engineers can pursue entry-level jobs in tech support or software testing. With an associate degree, you can use those credits towards a bachelor’s degree. Finally, you will want to focus on a specialty and obtain specific industry certifications. 

The Software Engineer Job Hunt

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After getting the necessary experience and education, the last step is finding a job. Entry-level jobs are often very competitive, especially at well-known companies. If you want to increase your job chances, you need to build your network of mentors, instructors, and peers. Along with that, a portfolio of completed work can make a good impression on recruiters and employers.

Kick-Start Your Software Engineering Career

Are you ready to stay on the career path of becoming a software engineer? These well-paying jobs are expected to be in demand for many years. To gain a competitive job edge, you need the right level of education, experience, and certifications for the role. 

Do you want to get an edge in the competitive field of software engineering? At TECH I.S., we offer online programs and certifications that will look great on your professional resume.