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How should I prepare to become a software engineer or a career in finance?

How should I prepare to become a software engineer or a career in finance?
Is a career in software engineering or in finance fulfilling and satisfying?
How do you work with other people in the same career group?

Thank you comment icon First ,you should learn a programming language Second ,you could work on this field to learn more Asmaa Ata

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Subject: Career question for you

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Robert’s Answer

One thing I haven't seen answered here that you really should look into, have you thought about a career in both? FinTech (Financial Technology) is always in high demand and pays very well. It takes a very special set of skills to be able to program and work with the banking industry. There are a lot of software engineers who don't understand finance. There are a lot of finance people that don't understand software. There is a lot of value there if you can dedicate to both.

It would be a lot of work, but if you could finagle a double major in both - well it would set you up very easily for a great FinTech career. There aren't a lot of people interested in Finance at a low level in the software, but if you find yourself geeking out to both, then maybe a dual major is the way to go.
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Ajin’s Answer

Hi Jason,

It's great that you're considering these two career options. Both these fields are in-demand and have a lot of prospect for growth. It should be noted that both are also very different tracks. That being said, you should first try to choose either finance or software engineering as a career option and then start preparing for a career in it. To give you an initial understanding of what each career would look like, have a reading from the below articles,

Finance - https://www.investopedia.com/articles/financialcareers/11/beginner-careers-in-finance.asp
Software Engineering - https://hbr.org/2021/07/career-crush-what-is-it-like-to-be-a-software-engineer

Once you've read the articles, try reaching out to professors and professionals working in 2 fields so you can get different perspective. Further, evaluate what you think you're best suited for and where your interests lie in. Envision yourself in either of these careers, and ask yourself, down the line would you be happy, which career would you be passionate about. Once you've narrowed down on these questions, you would have most likely got the answer you were looking for. If not try to do more research and understand which field makes more sense to you.

If you were to choose finance as a career option, the below are possible ways to prep for a career in it apart from enrolling in a formal undergrad program,

-Do few finance related certifications
-Read articles on finance trends
-Have a mentor in finance sector
- Do an internship in a financial role or company
-Take up accounting and finance classes

If you were to choose software engineering as an option, the below are possible ways to prep for a career in it apart from enrolling in a formal undergrad program,

-Learn Git
-Do the CS -50 Course
-Understand developer tools
-Enroll in any of the online software engineering related courses or Bootcamp

For the question to understand which career is fulfilling and satisfying, the answer would vary from person to person. For some it might be monetary gain and for others it might mean growth or helping others. Hence, this would depend on your values and goals. In reference to the question on working with other people in the same career group, i would consider this as not something which is career specific, rather more dependant on your social skills such as communication, collaboration, empathy, professionalism etc.

Hope this helps you in choosing the right career path. Good luck!
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Ramesh’s Answer

Hi Jason,
You have some good guidance on Software and on deciding on a career track in previous answers.
One thing I will add, it is possible to have a career at the intersection of Software/Computer Science and Finance.
The University of Chicago Quantitative Finance MS Career paths - https://finmath.uchicago.edu/careers/career-paths-in-quantitative-finance/ is a good guide to what is possible. It is possible to enter this field with a BS degree although a MS is more common. BS in Data Science/Applied Mathematics/Computer Science with some Quantitative Finance courses is a good preparation for this field.
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Perry’s Answer

Hi Jason!

A great starting point is to about any career is learning about what they do day to day. I found it extremely helpful when I was looking for jobs to talk to people in the industry and attend informational events provided by companies and current employees. The company's website is a great starting point to learn more about what they do and what are their values.

I have found from my experience that a career in finance to be extremely fulfilling and have had many friends who have been happy with their experiences in software engineering. That being said, those fields aren't for everyone and while I may feel fulfilled through my career, not everyone will.

To figure out if you would potentially like either of the industries, you should write down the tasks that you enjoy doing and the skills that you are strongest at. Then write down the tasks that you may do in these jobs and the skills needed to excel in the positions. Afterwards, compare the two lists and it will help give you a clear idea if you are a good fit for that industry.
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Skip’s Answer

Hi Jason,
Great questions and exciting things to be considering. I can't speak to finance, so I'll focus on software engineering.

I love software engineering because it requires high-level critical-thinking and problem-solving. It pushes me creatively, as I have to come up with new ways to solve whatever problem is presented. Also, I love building things. In my free time, I build furniture, work on cars, and do most of my own home-repair. Building software shares some general principles with building anything. I love to learn. In technology, learning new things everyday is pretty much mandatory. If you like the sounds of that, you may find a career in software development satisfying.

Software engineering is a very accessible career. If you have the time and money, a degree in computer science is invaluable, but it's 100% not necessary. If you want to commit to learning some professional skills that will make you employable, I'd begin with freecodecamp.org. If you complete their online course, you'll be 100% ready to start looking for your first job and it is 100% free. If you just want to learn how to write some code and see if it's something you enjoy, I would check out Traversy Media's YouTube channel. You'll find tips on what to focus on while learning to code, crash courses in different languages, and his annual Web Development in 202X - A Practical Guide videos which outline the most popular technologies that are currently available for software engineers.

Now for the best advice I can offer - Figuring out what you want to do for a career is a messy process. Maybe you'll get lucky and the first thing you try is perfect, but you're probably going to have to dip your toes in a few different ponds and see if you like the water.

Using software engineering as an example, commit to something concrete, like freecodecamp's first module, Responsive Web Design. See it through, no matter what. If, after you're done, it's not resonating with you, figure out how to try out a career in finance in a similar fashion. As you go through this process, be honest with yourself about what you liked about that particular career and what you didn't. Getting to know yourself is part of the process.

One last thing - Don't chase the money, you'll never catch it. Stick to a process that allows you to get to know yourself; what you enjoy, what you are good at. It doesn't matter how much money other people are making in a particular field, it will never come to you if you're not fired up about what you're doing.

Good luck!!!
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