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What degree in college would I aim for to become a Software Developer or Web Designer?

I would imagine maybe five more years of school but I'd like an answer from someone who knows.

#computer #software #technology

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Subject: Career question for you

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Juan’s Answer

Hey dude,

While those roles are both tech related they require different skill sets. So, let's walk through the roles and what degrees are usually required for each. If you have any other questions, add a comment below and I'll try to answer them as soon/often as I can!

Software Engineer / Developer

  • As a Software Engineer, you mainly focus on writing code that helps you create and research how to best build "things".
  • These "things" range from a user interface (aka what you see on webpages), to databases (where you store information), to scripts (pieces of code that run and do specific jobs or activities that you tell them to do). There are a ton of different things you can do programming / writing code but these are three prevalent examples!
  • This role is usually split into two disciplines: Frontend and Backend. I say usually because there are other areas in programming (such as Dev Ops) but, for this case, I'll focus on the two I mentioned.
  • What does a Frontend (FE) Engineer do? A FE engineer mainly focuses on building user interfaces. How does that work? A Web / UI Designer will design what they want a webpage (or component aka a piece of a page) to look like and it's up to the engineer to build it. A lot of times your focus will on figuring out to best grab the data (or information) from the Backend and implement it with the designs.
  • What does a Backend (BE) Engineer do? A BE engineer mainly focuses on storage, ingestion, manipulation, deletion and output of data. (Aka when you sign up, make changes to your account or in general do anything that you want a product or website to remember, this information needs to be stored somewhere. These engineers focus on that) How does that work? T
  • So, if Software Engineering is the field that interests you then, as the other comments mentioned, a Computer Science degree is your best bet. It'll teach you both FE and BE disciplines as well as theoretical approaches to engineering that will help you in your career. In addition, most people go into the degree not knowing too much about programming so don't be worried about being a blank slate at first.

Web / UI Designer

  • As a Designer, you mainly focus on researching how users best react to products and marketing campaigns.
  • This role is also usually split into two disciplines: Marketing and UI. I say usually, again, because I'm sure there are others but I may not know about them!
  • What does a Marketing Designer do? As far as I know about Marketing Designers, their main focuses are on things like company webpages (not their product), marketing campaigns, and anything else that isn't the product itself. How does that work? Marketing Designers spend a lot of time understanding and researching how people view and approach websites (i.e. how long they spend time there, what visuals work, what is and isn't overwhelming) and what visuals best represent a wholistic view of the product they are trying to sell. They work extremely closely with Product Marketers and are mainly housed in Marketing Departments.
  • What does a UI/UX Designer do? UI/UX Designers take requirements from the business (such as, we need to build a product that sends email) and designs an intuitive, easy to approach and digest, interface. How does that work? These designers work closely with Product Managers who give them requirements as well as FE Software Engineers on how to build a.) the best product they can while b.) still being something feasible.
  • So, if Web or UI Designer is the field that interests you then a Graphic Design degree is your best bet. These degrees are tailored made to help you learn how to best research user experiences (UX) and user interfaces (UI) as well as how to build marketing campaigns and understand visuals.

There are two more things I'll note here for you:

  1. It's hard to pick a degree at such a young age so keep in mind that there are also things like coding and design bootcamps if you ever want to switch post college.
  2. As far as I know, at this point in time, there is a higher demand for software engineers than there are for designers. I'm biased because I am an engineer but recommend doing a bit of research on what degrees have the higher employment rate.

All in all, good luck!

Go Sox,

Juan

Juan recommends the following next steps:

Do some research on employment rates between the two roles
Figure out what you prefer doing. Both are, in the grand scheme of things, problem solving roles. One involves computers while the other involves human interaction.
Thank you comment icon This is an awesome answer. I would add that one way to tell which role interests you more is to think about what you're curious about. When you use a website or app, do you tend to wonder how it was built, or are you more curious about how to make it more user-friendly? Tova Lieberman
Thank you comment icon Thanks, Tova! I'd like to +1 your comment. You're spot on that, that's a really good way of figuring out what you're going to enjoy in the long run. Juan Areces
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David’s Answer

Hi Antonio,

A CS (Computer Science) degree is the most common track if you want to go through college before getting a job as a Software Developer. It's worth noting that many companies employ Software Engineer's who do not have a formal College Degree. These companies look for people that have hands-on experience building software applications. The good news is you can start getting experience with that now! The best way to become a Software Engineer is to jump in the deep end and start coding yourself. There's a bunch of online resources that can help get you started -

https://digitaldefynd.com/best-free-web-development-courses-tutorials-certification/

Hope that helps,

David

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Arvind’s Answer

Pursuing a degree in Computer science would be the way to go. But these days, it is also possible to learn the skills needed for becoming a software developer or web designer through online training programs. There are several open online courses available that will help you become proficient with software development including web design.

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Jae Hak’s Answer

Like others have mentioned, Computer Science/Software Engineering would be the one to pursue.

Also note that there are also many other engineering/science courses that have programming as a major or at least have programming subjects.

Lastly, there are tons of resources/online courses available on Internet (some of them are free) - google is your best friend ;).

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Michael’s Answer

Hi Antonio,

There are some great answers here. Its good to see you already have some great advice to go by.

In my opinion a 'Computer Science' based degree or diploma would be of great benefit regardless of which programming or IT career field you are looking at.

A computer science degree provides a solid foundation in the technical concepts required for programming or any career in Information Technology.

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