Skip to main content
9 answers
13
Asked 612 views

What skills do you need to become a software engineer ?

Will I have to take a course to ensure I have the skills I need to have to become a software engineer?

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

13

9 answers


5
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Doc’s Answer

Yaritza Software Engineers need a rare combination of technical skills and soft skills to thrive, as Software Engineer skills include both the computer programming expertise needed to design, develop, test and debug software and the soft skills to navigate communication with company leadership, team members and other departments.

COMMUTATION SKILLS - It’s extremely rare that Software Engineers work in isolation. In fact, what separates Software Engineers from similar roles like Software Developers tends to be the amount of high-level collaboration, leadership, and team building required of a Software Engineer – and communication skills are key to all of that. Software Engineers should be able to clearly communicate – in writing and orally – with virtually any type of team or company stakeholder, regardless of that person’s technical background.

TEAM PLAYER - Software Engineers typically work as part of a team – or leading one – and creating or maintaining great software programs requires the input and expertise of a great number of people. Success or failure will be shared by that team. Successful Software Engineers must understand how to compromise, how to motivate others to deliver the best work they’re capable of, and how to take and learn from criticism.

PROBLEM SOLVING - Successfully steering software development projects to completion requires quickly identifying and solving a lot of issues along the way. Software Engineers must be curious and creative problem-solvers, able to sift through code to pinpoint a programming error while also anticipating other issues before they arise and adapting quickly to solve them.

Hope this helpful Yaritza

Doc recommends the following next steps:

Coding and computer programming is a must for a variety of reasons for a good Software Engineer to be familiar with all of the same programming languages that a Web Developer would know, including Python, Java, C/C++ and Ruby, as well as other programming fundamentals such as data structures and algorithms.
Even in the age of automation, understanding the ins and outs of software testing and debugging is one of the core technical skills required if you want to become a Software Engineer. Testing is still a costly and time-consuming part of any software development project so becoming adept at performing these tasks is valuable to a Software Engineer. The testing process also relies on one of a Software Engineer’s soft skills: problem solving.
Thank you comment icon This was super helpful, thank you! Yaritza
Thank you comment icon Thank You Tarek. Help one another. There’s no time like the present, and no present like the time. Doc Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Allisson. We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. Doc Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Matt. Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much. Doc Frick
Thank you comment icon Thank You Matt P. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are we doing for others. Doc Frick
5
2
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Allisson’s Answer

Hello, Yaritza!
We already have some great answers, but I'd like to touch on some other skills still not mentioned:

- Flexibility: Being flexible in different situations and with clients' or teams' requirements/requests is essential for being a great Software Engineer, especially if you are considering being a full-stack by working on the front-end, back-end, databases, APIs, etc. Getting outside your comfort zone is very common in this area, so you should be used to the feeling and, based on my experience, doing so will help you learn many great things and be a better professional.

- Creativity: Some people may think that being creative only helps with arts-related work. But that cannot be more wrong! The more creative you are, the better you will perform as a Software Engineer. Studying the aspects of the programming language you're working with and knowing its capabilities can boost your creativity even more.

- Resiliency: This is a tough one! But being resilient and going from one task to another without letting them affect each other is helpful. As a Software Engineer, you'll find yourself hitting walls from time to time, where nothing seems to work and you cannot think about anything to solve a problem. When that happens, go take a walk, grab a coffee, explain the problem to a teammate (rubber ducks!) and don't give up! There's nothing more satisfying than solving a problem that held you for some time.

- Note-taking: I'd say that this has saved me a lot of time lately. If I didn't take note of some clever way of solving an issue or about how to fix a very weird error, I would've lost precious hours of work. Also, it can make you the person to go to in order to get a quick answer to something (because you have everything written down and don't need to keep everything in your brain to remember) and this is great!

All the skills above are not mandatory or exclusive to being a Software Engineer. Still, they will help you be a better professional and make your life easier!

I hope my answer has helped you :)
2
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Matt’s Answer

John's answer is fantastic, but I wanted to add on that being a good software engineer isn't just about typing in code and producing something.

To really be good at software engineering, it's important to understand you'll need to be making tradeoffs. This field isn't always about producing the best solution or perfect code. There will always be multiple approaches to the complex problems we're working on, so it's on us as engineers to analyze those solutions and select the best solution for our team. There are a myriad of factors that contribute from team size, product roadmaps, prioritization, scope, and many more.

As a junior engineer no one will expect you to be good at this nor expect you to make those evaluations since such decisions are usually made by more senior members of your team. But if you start thinking about it now and make it a point to recognize the tradeoffs you make as you learn, you'll be ahead of the game.

On a more code-focused level, I also want to mention that a good software engineer cares about the craft. They make code that is maintainable not just by themselves but by others. One way I've heard it described is "Write your code like the next person is a psychopath who will hunt you down if they can't understand your code." It's important that when someone reads your code they can understand what they're reading without too much thought--reading code is already a complex activity and adding complexity on top of it makes it a Herculean task. Some tips:

* Use descriptive variable names -- make the variables tell the reader what the variable is for if I'm writing code that tracks time, using `int hour = 12` is far better than `int x = 12`
* Make your functions concise -- when we read functions we tend to track what all the code is doing in our heads, the more verbose a function, the harder it is to keep track of what is going on; I don't believe there is a maximum number of lines per function, but try to keep your functions focused. If they start to get too complex, break them out into other functions.
* Write comments that describe the "why" more than the "what" -- comments that are obvious like "Assign 12 to the variable hour" are not as useful as comments which detail why code is written a certain way (e.g. "We track hour use an integer since we'll never need to track partial hours")

And one last thing to start learning about sooner than later is writing tests. For me, in college/university, we were taught nothing about writing tests. In a professional career writing tests (unit, integration, and/or acceptance) are so important. Regardless of whatever programming language or field you're in, make sure that you understand how to write tests and what comprises a good test.

Best of luck! The fact that you're even asking means you're already on the right path!
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Daria’s Answer

In order to become Software Engineer, you should work on both soft and hard skills such as:
- Understanding algorithms
- Understanding data structures
- Understanding basic concepts regarding desired IT branch - I can speak from perspective of object-oriented software engineer, so it that case would be basic concepts about architecting code, object-oriented terms (polymorphism, abstraction etc)
- Some basic experience with IDE - experiment a bit with it when you are accomplishing projects, watch some videos on tips and tricks about IDE, which will help you in the future
- Code documented even if you think code speaks for itself - after couple of months you will not remember a purpose of your project
- Teamwork skills - if you are able to gather your friends and create a project, make sure that you communicate well with them about aspects which needs to be refactored, implemented or when you are struggling with various errors.
1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Charanya’s Answer

In an Information Technology company there are different roles you can take up. Generally a team that builds software consists of Developers, Quality assurance engineers, Business analysts/Product managers, Data analysts, Project Manager. For each of these roles you will need a specific skill set.
For example if you choose to be a Developer then primarily you will be the person writing code to build the software using a set of programming languages like Java script, Java, C# dot net, python etc. Based on what the company uses the developer will be working on 1 or 2 programming language, for you to get started it would be good to start on some online courses for basic programming, Javascript and Java or C# dotnet as these are the most used languages once you get the hold of one of these courses and you understand your interests then you can join specific code bootcamps conducted by organizations like general assembly(not sponsored just an example) where u can learn more on the programming language , related tools and how u can use it in real time.

If you choose to be a Quality assurance engineer there are again online courses about what is software testing and automation testing , there are youtube videos for that take a look at them and if u think this is something you are interested in then again u can take up courses like Udemy and prepare for some Software testing certificates like ISTQB which is the certification for software testing https://www.istqb.org/

To be a Data analyst you will need to take up Data analysis / Data science courses offered by some universities, this is a growing industry and a great area to be working in.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Donald’s Answer

To become a software engineer, it is good to get a degree. It is good to have it in order to apply for a job. An employer usually looks for a someone with a degree. On the other hand, there are many way to learn new Coding Languages and Techniques and skills. School is not the only source of information/knowledge. I would encourage anyone who has the desire to learn to look.
For any job it is good to have several kills
- Be positive
- Be a good team player / teamwork
- Have good troubleshooting kills mindset.
- Be able to communicate clearly
- Be proactive and not Reactive
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Nadzeya’s Answer

Just wanted to add to all that great answers that you don't have to have all of those skills mentioned above right now if you decided to become an engineer. Yes, they are all important and needed, but they can be developed over years of study in Uni and even during work. You learn and upgrade your skills during your journey, if you have a growth mindset and motivation!
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Siddharth’s Answer

Yes to be a software engineer a good Bachelor of Science degree in computer science would be essential to be a successful software engineer/developer.
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Rihem’s Answer

Hello Yaritza,
To excel as a software engineer, you must possess a unique blend of skills that go beyond coding. While technical proficiency is crucial, the most successful software engineers also exhibit strong problem-solving abilities, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning. Here are some skills and attributes that set exceptional software engineers apart:

Analytical Thinking: The ability to break down complex problems into smaller, manageable components and analyze them systematically is key to successful software engineering.

Algorithmic and Data Structures Knowledge: A deep understanding of algorithms and data structures is essential for efficient problem-solving and creating scalable solutions.

Coding Proficiency: Mastery of multiple programming languages, including proficiency in at least one, is crucial. Your code should be clean, maintainable, and well-documented.

System Architecture: Knowing how to design scalable and efficient software systems is vital. Understanding trade-offs between different architectural choices is crucial.

Problem-Solving Skills: Exceptional software engineers excel in creative problem-solving. They can devise innovative solutions to unique challenges.

Teamwork and Communication: Software engineering often involves collaboration with others. Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate technical concepts clearly are valuable.

Version Control: Proficiency with version control systems like Git is essential for collaborative development.

Testing and Debugging: Being able to write and run effective tests, as well as debugging skills, are necessary to ensure software quality.

Continuous Learning: The technology landscape is ever-evolving. Being open to learning new tools, languages, and frameworks is a hallmark of a great software engineer.

Project Management: The ability to manage time, set priorities, and work efficiently within deadlines is vital.

Security Awareness: In an age of increasing cyber threats, understanding security principles and best practices is critical.

User Experience (UX) Awareness: A user-centric approach to design and development can differentiate your software from the rest.

Documentation Skills: Creating clear, comprehensive documentation for your code, APIs, and projects is often overlooked but essential for maintainability.

Domain Knowledge: Understanding the domain or industry you're working in can be a significant advantage in creating more relevant and effective software.

Empathy and Empowerment: Being able to empathize with end-users and empower them through technology can lead to more user-friendly and impactful software.

Ethical Considerations: Consider the ethical implications of the software you develop, particularly when handling sensitive data or creating applications that can impact society.

Creativity: The ability to think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions is a unique trait that can set you apart.

Resilience and Patience: Software development often involves facing challenging problems that may take time to solve. Resilience and patience are crucial.

Becoming a software engineer is not just about coding but also about problem-solving, creativity, and interpersonal skills. A unique combination of these attributes can make you a standout software engineer.
0