Career as Software Engineer

With the tremendous growth of digital adoption, the demand for Software engineers is soaring. Software engineering is also one of the highest-paid jobs in the world.

What does a software engineer do?

Software engineers design and develop software (write-code/coding). Designing and writing code required an understanding of computer architecture, algorithmic thinking, and problem-solving skills.

Computer or mobile applications (apps) are written by software engineers. User Interface (UI) is mostly designed by expert designers keeping in mind the user experience; software engineers design the architecture and implements each functionality.

Basic qualifications to be a software engineer

You will need any of the following degrees to get a job as a software engineer in product or service companies.

  1. BTech / BEng / MTech / MS /Phd (enginering)
  2. MCA
  3. MSc (Maths / Computational maths)
  4. Software engineering (degree)

Skills of Software Engineer

A Software engineer must be very good at problem-solving. Writing code is all about solving problems efficiently by minimizing the computer/mobile resources requirements and latency.

Well versed at any one of the programming languages is a must:

  1. Python
  2. Go
  3. Java
  4. C/C++/C#
  5. Javascript or related frameworks (React / Angular/ Vue.js)

As per the StackOverflow 2021 survey, Javascript is the most used programing language by developers, while Python ranked 3rd and Java 5th.

Learning either Python / Java will be enough to get a software engineer role.

Problem-solving skills

Most product companies require you to go through a compressive interview involving solving problems using your favorite language and system design.
For beginner roles mostly you will be asked to solve problems in front of the interviewers.
For senior roles apart from problem-solving, you will also need to appear for a system design interview.
Problem-solving questions test one’s understanding of the computer fundamentals such as data structures, algorithms, memory management, compute optimization, etc.

It is very important that you practice solving problems to improve your skills, you can find interesting problems at the following sites:

  1. Leetcode Problems
  2. Codeforces Problems

Tools for Software engineer

It is very important to get familiar with tools used for software development before applying to any job. Here are some important tools:

  1. Git (versioning) - Github / Gitlab / Bitbucket
  2. IDE (coding platform) - VIM/VS-Code
  3. Open source - Contributing and reading open-source software code. You can learn a lot of things about coding by going through experts’ code.
  4. Stackoverflow - QA platform for software developers.

Career growth

  1. Beginner: Joining as Software engineer level 1 (individual contributor) (IC) [0 years of experience]
    In this role, you will be working alongside other levels 1 and senior engineers to build software. Mostly you will be asked to do fix bugs, write tests and work on less critical tasks. If you do very well, you will be given more and more critical tasks gradually.
  2. intermediate: Joining as Software engineer level 2 (IC) [ 2 to 5 years of experience]
    In this role also you will be working with other level1, level2, and senior engineers to build software. Mostly you will be assigned to work on specific tasks on your own, taking full ownership of the task.
  3. Senior: Joining as Software engineer level 3 / senior (IC) [5 to 10 years of experience]
    In this role you, depending on the team/company, will need to either take ownership of few tasks and work with junior engineers to build software. You will also be asked to work on tasks related to system design and software architecture.

After completion of 10 years (approximately, in between 8 to 12) in the industry, you will have two choices

  1. Move to a managerial role
  2. Stay in software development

In the case of a managerial role, you will be responsible for managing a team to build a product. In this track also similar to the IC role, you will progress from manager level 1 to X, based on your performance you can also get a chance to be the product manager. If you become highly successful as a product manager you will be also offered to be director/vice-president or so depending on the company. If you are very successful as VP, you can also get a chance to lead the entire organization.

In the case of the software development track, you will gradually be promoted to the role of a software architect or staff engineer. In the case of a software architect, your responsibility would be taking ownership of product architecture, how each component of the software should be build using which technology, how will each component interacts with each other, etc. In the case of a staff engineer also you will be required to design various components of the product features. Additionally, mentor and train junior engineers on designs and coding standards.