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My career statement


My goal is to become a software engineer or a software developer. So far, I am in the AP computer science principles. I enjoy writing codes for small apps on the website, unthunkable. I am learning how to code on python and other various coding languages. I am also planning on taking the next course of the AP computer science course to increase my skills in computer science. However, I am still not sure what my next steps to achieve my goal.

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Subject: Career question for you

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Jay’s Answer

First, congrats -- this is a fantastic field to get into and can be an extremely rewarding career! As you have discovered, figuring out what the next steps are in order to achieve your career goals can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different facets and areas of concentration in Software Engineering; all of which have their own requirements, intricacies, and "pros/cons". Personally, I found it easier to determine what I was truly passionate about and making a career out of it, rather than trying to "fit" a particular job. It is helpful to ask yourself some questions to help you narrow the options and discover what you love to do which will ultimately inform and guide your career path. Start by asking really high-level, general questions and use those answers to narrow your options.

Here is an example of what this self-discovery might look like:

- Do I enjoy programming / writing code?
--- If yes, then what type of software do I enjoy developing?
----- Full Applications
------- What platform do I want to build applications for?
--------- Mobile Apps
----------- Do I prefer iOS or Android devices?
------------- iOS
--------------- I should probably learn to write Swift and/or Objective-C
------------- Android
--------------- I should probably learn to write Java and/or Kotlin
--------- Internet-based/Web Apps
----------- Do I like designing the user interface, or do I prefer working with data?
------------- Design (front-end)
--------------- I should probably learn to write JavaScript, React, or similar JavaScript libraries
------------- Working with Data (back-end)
--------------- I should probably learn to write PHP, Python, Node.js, or similar back-end technologies
--------- Desktop Apps
----------- Do I prefer working with Windows or Mac?
------------- Windows
--------------- I should probably learn to write C#, C++, or Java
------------- Mac
--------------- I should probably learn to write Objective-C, or Java
----- Scripts
------- ...
----- Bots
------- ...
----- Games
------- ...
--- If no, then maybe software development isn’t the right choice for me.
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Alexandra’s Answer

I love Jay's response and am seconding it. However, based on what you said I would argue you probably enjoy this and have all of the answers above. The next steps for you I'd argue is finding a problem to solve and building out a project to submit when you apply to college. You sound like you are talented already. I would also argue that you need to find a mentor to help you frame the work that you are doing in a way that it speaks for you!

Alexandra recommends the following next steps:

Find a mentor!
Build out a catalog of work to showcase if college is in your plans.
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Jenelle’s Answer

Low or no-code app builders like Thunkable are a great way to get started, and to learn design thinking. Since you're also learning to code in parallel, you might consider combining the two - try to build your Thunkable app from scratch. This could be as a desktop app or using something like React Native to get started. Along with strengthening your coding skills and giving you a project to show off, having the structure of the prototype app can help keep you focused on what you want to build.
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