For better or worse, the world has become digital. All facets of business, communication, education, and even manufacturing that can be transitioned, have been. Even industries like agriculture, governance, and healthcare have had significant changes because of digitalization.

Now, as people remain stuck at home, the internet has taken a more important role of connecting everyone and essentially keeping the world going. But who are the ones responsible for keeping it going?

The Who

Software engineers use mathematical analysis and computer science to develop and design software for computers. They basically create the applications that you use on your devices. Even the websites you visit are products of software engineers who specialize in web development and design.

Okay, so they don’t really maintain the internet, but software engineers create the applications for you to access the network. They’re also the ones building the websites you visit. With the continuously increasing use of the internet, it’s safe to say that software engineers are going to be in demand for the foreseeable future. In fact, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, software engineer jobs will likely increase by 21 percent by 2028.

The Why

Although an excellent job outlook is certainly a compelling hook, there are more reasons for taking this career path. Again, according to the BLS, software engineers earn a median pay of $110,000 a year. In the fourth quarter of last year, the median income for a person in the US is $48,672, according to The Street. That means, with this career, you can earn more than twice as much as the average person.

There is also significant diversity within the software engineering field. This career can give you access to a broad range of roles that are related to computer applications and systems. This means, you also have the luxury of working in the industry of your choice since all organizations virtually need your expertise.

The work environment is often great too. According to Forbes, software developer jobs have been ranking consistently high in their Happiest and Unhappiest Jobs in the last eight years. Their satisfaction stems from a variety of factors like autonomy, flexibility, and pay. Some suggest that the challenging and non-monotonous work also contributes to their overall happiness.

Some people just love to tinker, and software engineers are the tinkerers of the digital world. In this job, you will encounter a lot of puzzles to unravel and problems to solve. Plus, you’ll be working with cutting edge technology and people who appreciate them too.

There’s also room for much creativity in this job. According to LinkedIn, the work involves a lot of creative processes, particularly in naming elements, determining their interactions, and visualizing code. In their interview with John Sonmez, distinguished software developer, he said they are more of artists than engineers.

The How

Although there are many who don’t have degrees that still thrive in the tech industry, the benefits of earning one are undeniable. For one, many employers take formal education into consideration when they decide on candidates. Also, there are a lot of options now for studying.

An associate’s degree program or a coding training course can open doors to entry-level careers in the industry. The associate’s degree program takes an average of two years to complete. On the other hand, the training courses typically only last a couple of months. If time is a huge factor for you, you may want to consider these.

Many employers prefer candidates with full four-year bachelor’s degrees. You can study under a computer science program or other similar paths. With this background, you’ll be exposed to a broader curriculum that has solid foundations in mathematics and computer science. You’ll gain a more comprehensive understanding of software architecture and testing and computer programming. These programs also usually include specialized courses like embedded systems and networking.

Because of the nature of the industry, you can even earn your degree on the internet. There are many online colleges that offer programs where you can learn to become a software engineer.

After studies, you can also get different certifications. These will further make your CV attractive for employers and even raise your market value. Organizations like Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, and even Google offer certifications.

An education can land you that first software engineer job but that’s not all it takes to become good at it. Here are some tips on how you can be a great software engineer.

  • Your codes are clean and reusable. This means they should be easy to read, test, and improve. This also gives you the option of using them again in future projects.
  • You see the big picture. Even if you’re only part of the team working on a project, you should know how each line of your code impacts the whole thing.
  • Quality is king. Find time to make sure your output is up to par. When you’re given the choice between quality and speed, make the right one.
  • You are a resilient problem solver. Don’t give in to the bare minimum. When you encounter a difficult problem, be persistent in finding solutions.
  • You accept change. The industry as a whole is dynamic, and you should be open to new things. These changes can help if you let them.

This article hopefully points you to the direction of becoming a software engineer. Now, more than ever, the world needs more of them.