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How to Change Career to Software Engineer? If you’re eager to leave your stale career behind and start working as a software engineer, it’s entirely possible even without a computer science degree.
Follow this proven 6-month plan to gain professional coding skills, build an impressive portfolio, ace interviews, and land a high-paying software engineering job in 2023.
Step 1: Take Stock of Your Current Skills and Interests
First, reflect on:
- Technical skills you currently have like coding languages and tools
- Transferable professional experience like project management or analytical thinking
- Past education or training related to engineering, computers, or math
- Aspects of technology that intrinsically interest or excite you
This assessment shows key strengths you can leverage in your transition. Be honest about existing gaps to tackle as well.
Step 2: Choose the Right Engineering Field For You
Software engineering is an expansive field. Narrow your focus by selecting a specialty like:
- Front-end web development – Code user-facing web interfaces
- Back-end web development – Develop server-side web app logic
- Mobile engineering – Build iOS or Android apps
- Embedded systems – Write firmware for IoT devices
- Game development – Use engines like Unity to create games
- Blockchain engineering – Develop decentralized apps and protocols
- Cloud engineering – Work on cloud platforms like AWS
Align with an engineering domain matching your abilities, interests, and career aspirations. This defines the required skills for your learning roadmap.
Step 3: Map Out the Essential Skills to Master
For your chosen engineering specialty, research the must-have programming languages, frameworks, tools, and technical capabilities.
For example, key skills for back-end web engineering include:
- Core languages like Java, Python, Ruby, C#
- Web frameworks like Django, Rails, Laravel
- SQL and NoSQL databases
- API design, microservices, security best practices
- Server management, containerization, caching
- Source control with Git, unit testing
List all core engineering skills and technologies to guide your learning.
Step 4: Design Your Custom Learning Plan
Next, build a customized learning plan to gain job-ready engineering skills within 6 months.
- Set a weekly schedule – Commit 20+ hours each week to learning around work. Treat it like a full-time job.
- Take online courses – Utilize platforms like Coursera, Udemy, edX, Udacity.
- Read documentation – Master official language and tool docs hands-on.
- Join a Bootcamp (if possible) – Intensive 3-6 month programs to boost skills quickly.
- Study computer science – Learn foundations with books, videos, and free online classes.
- Get mentoring – Find an experienced dev willing to advise you 1:1.
Creating a structured learning curriculum accelerates your career transition.
Step 5: Build Impressive Portfolio Projects
As you learn new skills, build real-world projects to showcase abilities. Engineering portfolios prove skills better than any resume.
Great projects include:
- Web apps – Tools, calculators, SaaS products
- Mobile apps – Build simple iOS or Android apps
- Open source contributions – Improve existing developer projects
- Complex algorithms – Show expert coding skills
- Cloud architectures – Demo proficiency with AWS, Azure, GCP
- Capstone class projects – Develop robust programs leveraging diverse skills
Treat portfolio building as a key part of the learning journey.
Step 6: Earn Respected Engineering Certifications
Supplement your skills with certifications from trusted providers like:
- AWS Certified Developer Associate
- Microsoft Certified Azure Developer Associate
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Apple Certified iOS Developer
- Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE Developer
Relevant and reputable certs validate your mastery of must-have engineering capabilities.
Step 7: Perfect Your Engineering Resume and LinkedIn
Once you gain skills and projects, craft an engineering-focused resume highlighting:
- Proficient coding languages and tools
- Engineering certifications earned
- Statistical accomplishments from past projects
- Problem-solving skills and attention to detail
- Links to portfolio, GitHub, and LinkedIn
Then build out your LinkedIn with a strong professional headline, technical skills section, and portfolio projects.
Step 8: Search for Entry-Level Engineering Roles
Leverage your shiny new resume to start applying! Search openings on sites like:
- Built In
- Remote-specific job boards
- LinkedIn Jobs
- Company careers pages
Look for “new grad” or “junior” roles where you can learn the ropes quickly.
Step 9: Prepare for Challenging Interviews
Engineering interviews will rigorously assess your technical abilities. Be ready for:
- Algorithm challenges in languages like Java and Python
- Technical questions testing computer science fundamentals
- Systems design problems and exercises
- Reviewing your portfolio code and projects
Practice leetcode, study CS concepts, learn system architectures, and deeply know your own code.
Step 10: Keep Building Your Skills on the Job
Congratulations – with determination, you leveraged skill-building and portfolio projects to break into software engineering!
But the learning doesn’t stop here. As a new engineer:
- Absorb as much as possible from senior mentors
- Continuously expand your skills with new languages and frameworks
- Consider a Master’s degree in Computer Science
- Read engineering books and blogs voraciously
With hard work and perseverance, an exciting engineering career awaits!
Does pivoting into a software engineering career feel overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be! Follow this hands-on guide to go from beginner to employed engineer within 6 months.
With smart planning, consistent skill-building, impressive portfolio projects, and acing interviews, you can successfully change careers in 2023.
The tech world needs your talents. Determine the engineering specialty that fits you best and start mapping out your learning roadmap today. The rewarding (and lucrative) engineering job of your dreams is closer than you think!