How to Become a Software Engineer – A Comprehensive Guide

If you enjoy computers and coding, you may be curious about how to become a software engineer. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for software engineers, quality assurance analysts, and software testers will increase by 22% between 2020 and 2030. Even better, this high-level position is more reachable than you would imagine, with an industry growth rate projected at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2023 to 2030.

But before we look at the steps to know how to become a good software engineer, let us explore what a software engineer does.

6 Steps To Become a Software Engineer – Unlocking the Potential

Let us now look at the different steps and stages that will make up your learning and practical journey to becoming a software engineer.

  1. Earn a Degree
  2. Consider Obtaining a Certificate
  3. Gain Experience
  4. Building Your Portfolio
  5. Applying For Jobs
  6. Continuous Learning

1. Earn a Degree

One major question we receive is how long does it take to become a software engineer? While the typical answer is 4 years, as that is the duration of a college degree in computer science or software engineering, the answer is more complex. So let’s explore this further.

There are various ways for software engineers to join the employment market. However, most firms demand entry-level software engineers to have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a closely related discipline.

Getting a relevant degree on your way to becoming a skilled software engineer should be your priority.

2. Consider Obtaining a Certificate

If your college education is not in a field relevant to software engineering, you may also attend a coding bootcamp. To help you, we have combed the industry and combined the best coding bootcamps for you.

These accelerated programs teach major programming languages and platforms to students. For example, a coding bootcamp usually lasts 12 to 24 weeks. Also, this might be a suitable fit if you’re changing jobs or want to avoid investing time and money in a degree.

You can also pursue different software engineering certificate programs in addition to Bachelor’s degrees and coding courses. Visit, to help identify which route is the best learning option for you.

3. Gain Experience

For you to gain experience, internships are the primary step. They are the ideal way for students to gain hands-on industry experience and exposure, opening up many career options. In addition, several businesses provide internships for undergraduates who want to work on industry initiatives. 

Internships provide students with practical training and real-world industry exposure as they work on projects or products related to their talents. They also learn how to operate as part of a team, which helps them adapt to the business culture.

Internships typically last three to six months, and we urge that every student participates in specific internship programs during their college years. In addition, internships are beneficial in obtaining a full-time job offer from the organization you are interning.

4. Building Your Portfolio

The next step towards how to become a software engineer is for you to create a code portfolio. A coding portfolio is a website that shows employers your credentials and professional experience. You must include the following:

  • Education\Certifications
  • Projects involving programming
  • Screenshots of your work as examples of your work

As you work, your portfolio should change. You may even begin developing your portfolio before you find your first job. For example, you may utilize extracurricular work examples or original images and animations you have created.

5. Applying For Jobs

The next thing you need to do is create a résumé and browse job search websites. Indeed, LinkedIn and Glassdoor have the most listings and will be able to expose you to the world of software engineering job opportunities. Your resume should include the following information:

  • Programming Languages Skills
  • Areas of specialization
  • Professional credentials in education
  • Any certifications  or relevant wards

Customize your resume to the keywords and expectations of each job listing. This is critical to ensure that your profile makes the initial screening, usually done by software.

6. Continuous Learning

When we are asked by software engineering professionals how to become one, we must emphasize enough that the learning process should always continue, whether in the form of courses or by keeping ourselves updated with the latest trends in the industry. 

Professional courses or certifications may help you stand out in the job market and demonstrate specific talents as you seek more advanced roles. Numerous technology businesses provide relevant certificates. For example, Microsoft and Salesforce all provide professional certifications.

Candidates often require a combination of education and experience to obtain their certifications. A test is also needed for the majority of organizations. This is why the learning process should continue alongside your job to prepare you for such tests.

To Become a Software Engineer, Which Programming Languages Should You Concentrate On?

One of the significant areas that we must highlight in this guide on how to become a software engineer are the programming languages that you must know and have command over as part of your typical computer programming languages skillset:

  • Java: It is a high-level programming language with an object-oriented focus. It is critical to a software engineer’s arsenal and that of a Full Stack Developer. You should check out the best full stack bootcamps to have a better understanding of its importance.
  • Python: It is also a high-level programming language that is general purpose. It is dynamically typed. Check out the best Python courses to get command over this language.
  • C/C++: It is also a high-level programming language that is a general purpose, similar to Python. C++ is an extension of the C language. It is statically typed.

Software engineers may also develop skills in Ruby, SQL, or other languages depending on their specialization and field of interest.

Can You Become a Software Engineer Without a Degree? 

You can become a self-taught software engineer without a degree, and how you do that depends entirely on you, your time management, and your determination. However, learning independently and obtaining employment in the sector is quite feasible. Several online courses, videos, books, and groups will assist you.

While studying alone, scheduling regular time and having a place to go when you get stuck are critical. In addition, this is a vital tool if you’re considering becoming a software engineer without a degree.

A more organized coding certification may be a better alternative if you are not highly self-motivated. You’ll have deadlines and people to turn to if you’re in a coding bootcamp or another school.

How to Become a Software Engineer – FAQs

What Are the Skills Required to Become a Software Engineer?

Following are some of the essential skills required to become a software engineer:

  1. Computer Programming and Coding
  2. Problem-Solving and Logical Thinking
  3. Software Development

What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Software Engineer?

To be a software engineer, you must have a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a relevant field. In case you do not have a related college degree, you can look into certifications and relevant bootcamps

What Is the Salary of a Software Engineer? 

In the US, a software engineer earns $101,671, on average, per year, for an entry-level position.


Transitioning into the software engineering profession may appear daunting, but it is, like everything else, a series of steps.

While considering how to become a software engineer, the essential thing to remember is to define your goals, devise a strategy to reach them, and take things one step at a time.

There is no one way to accomplish it, so take a critical look at yourself, your learning style, your time, and your interests. Software engineering is a fantastic, in-demand career with excellent pay, fascinating work, flexibility, and perks. 

Individuals from various walks of life shift into software engineering and technology, and you can, too, if you set your mind to it. So, stay focused and begin this journey with zeal!