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Becoming a Software Engineer

Having sleepless night thinking about unemployment in Nigeria, having a hard time searching for jobs in Nigeria? There are sure plenty jobs out there that you can take opportunity of to keep yourself really busy, engaging and one that you can possibly made a career out of. From full term jobs to remote jobs or part-time jobs, there is a beehive of opportunities in Nigeria that is sitting there just waiting for you to grab and take leverage of. The good thing with some of this jobs is that you necessarily do not need to go to the university to learn them, do not get me wrong university education is important and you should go school, but then the point is that some of this jobs are jobs that you can easily learn outside the four walls of the university, although there are some university that offers the course that will make you qualified to do these jobs, however there are other professional courses that you can do to have a good grasp of these jobs making you a certified PRO.

Numerous among these jobs is software engineer, yes there are many myths that surrounds becoming a software engineer, some call them nerd or geeks because of their perchance for the horned rimmed iron glasses and their unending romance with the computer and other IT gadgets. It is a common jokes on the social media backed up with several memes that ladies should never date IT guys because they never leave their laptops. Funny right

While jobs in Nigeria might be hard to secure, as a student, graduate … it is a job that you can adopt and learn during the holidays probably as a hobby , the internet, especially platforms like the YouTube gives  tons of content which explains with illustrations on how you can become a software engineer.

Earlier on I told you that there are many myths surrounding the word or job software engineer that is misconceptions that are ABSOLUTELY FALSE about the job, but right before we dig into that blaring on all cylinders; let us take a cheeky right turn to explain what or who a software engineer is. Maybe we can start re-writing the misconceptions and house wives tales that soft -ware engineers that software engineers are not synonymous to yahoo-yahoo or hackers.

 

 

 

Software Engineers

Software engineering is a process of analyzing user requirement and then designing, building, and testing software application which will satisfy those requirements. Now I doubt if you understand this definition except you are internet or IT savvy, probably a computer science student, so let us try defining this in another way which might actually be better.

Using your sense of imagination, what comes to your head when you think about Software Engineer?

A super-genius type who creates thing out of the thin air like a magician by just sitting and pressing a bunch of keys of the keyboard, like Bill Gates, Alan Turing? Or someone in a dark room with his horned rimmed glasses, a cup of coffee with soft weird music typing furiously like a rabbit working his way through a sack of carrots!

Maybe you envision a corporate-style engineer- with a really big headphones and going to scrum meetings in an office or a freelance/remote “digital nomad “engineer who codes from a café on the beach wearing a floral patterned beach top and shorts with a dark sunshades to rock.

So to a more simpler definition, a software  engineer is someone who uses computer principles to develop software solutions that will satisfy the wants and needs of businesses and consumers. Software engineers create many types of solutions such as desktop and web applications, mobile apps, games, yes mobile games, that FIFA 2020 PC games that you so like playing was created by a software engineer, they also create robots, operating systems, network system among many other applications and software.

However there is a big difference between software developer and software developer, the two are often used interchangeably by many people, I bet you probably do not know that. Cheers!!! Here is your chance to know.

 

 

 

Software Engineer and Software Developer

A software engineer is someone who applies computer science and engineering concept to create software solutions. A software engineer understands why the code works, and the best, most efficient way to write it.

On the other hand, a software developer is the creative driving force behind making the solution come to life.

What does a software engineer do- Responsibilities

Software engineers support the product delivery process to take a project from its goal and requirements to the final level product. Their responsibilities are listed below

  1. Design, implement, test and maintain logic component
  2. Design and build systems with automated instrumentation and monitoring
  3. Consistently improve maintainability and stability of the code base.
  4. Collaborate with product and business operations teams to translate business requirement and build highly robust and scalable products.
  5. He or she should be a good programmer and should be well-versed in data structures and algorithms.
  6. Should be fluent in more than one programming language.
  7. Should be familiar with various design approaches.
  8. Responsible for defining the feasibility of software operations through problem definition, evaluation, analysis, and solution development.
  9. Documenting and demonstrating solutions by developing flowcharts, diagrams, documentation, diagrams, layouts, code comments, etc.
  10. Developing solutions by following software development standards.
  11. Improves operations by completing systems analysis work and make a recommendation for inefficient procedures and policies.
  12. Obtaining and licensing software after gaining relevant data from vendors.
  13. Testing and approving products
  14. Providing relevant data through the collection, analysis, and summarizing of service and development issues

Common Misconceptions about Software engineers.

  1. Software Engineers is for special people– this is absolutely not true, software engineers, developers, programmers or whatever you choose to call them are not geniuses nor do they possess some extra-ordinary skills to become one. Like every other member of the society, anyone can become a software engineer. All you need is the interest and commitment. However we cannot deny the fact that the learning process of each child is relative which implies that we have fast learners as well as slow ones. However this does not imply that the job is for only some special set of people.
  2. Learning to Software Engineering is like learning Brain Surgery– many people think that learning how to code or master software engineering is as hard and tough like learning how to conduct a brain surgery operation. Chill there is nothing to worry about or fret over. It is no rocket science. Learning software engineering is not as hard as most people think or paint it to be. However to code means to talk to a computer and there are specific languages written to this effect. Special language such as PHP, JavaScript, Ruby etc. as a software engineer, your job is to talk to a computer and give it certain task to perform as instructed by him. A typical example is that of building a website. To build a website, the computer requires the software engineer to meticulously write and list out a list of step by step instructions
  3. I need to be a math geek to learn Software Developing– to be a full time software engineer; you do not have to be gifted in mathematics. You do not need to learn advance mathematics or statistics or anything related, however, you need to know the basic algebra and practice a strong problem solving skills. Other than these two prerequisites there are no other ones.
  4. Knowing the best programming language will accelerate my journey to becoming a software engineer– this is another misconception, you need no best language to learn how to be a good software engineer. The truth is that the requirement of a project will determine the best programming language to use. Adding to this there are times when you will have to use multiple language to complete a project. This is because many languages work together and not against each other. Each language has an intended purpose, for example,, JavaScript is historically a front-end language intended for UI development. By implication you should understand that knowing the best programming language is not your best bet to knowing how to become a software engineer `or becoming a software engineer.
  5. Software Engineering is for young people– this is absolutely untrue as anybody can become a software engineer. Either you are young or old, male or female; you can become a certified software engineer. This means that you are never too late to start a career in software engineering.

Here are some best practices for software engineers:

  1. Software engineers should act in such a way that it is beneficial to the client as well as the employer.
  2. Ensure software products and related modifications which should meet the highest professional standards.
  3. Need to maintain integrity and independence in their professional approach.
  4. Promote an ethical approach for software development and maintenance.
  5. Software engineers shall be supportive of their colleagues

Essential Technical Skills for Software Engineers

There are a couple of technical skills you’ll need to know in order to become a software engineer. These software engineering skills include programming languages, development processes, and other technical concepts.

  1. Java, Python, C, Ruby. In order to become a software engineer, you’ll need to know at least one programming language used in software development. The exact language(s) you need to know will depend on the role for which you are applying, but it’s helpful to know Java, Python, C, or Ruby. If you’re looking to develop software for Apple products, you may want to know Swift or Objective-C
  2. Software Testing and Debugging. After you have written code, you’ll need to test it and make sure it functions as intended. You’ll need to know how to write tests to ensure your code is functional. You’ll also need to know how to find and fix bugs in your code – a key part of any job in coding.
  3. Object-Oriented Design. Object-oriented design has become increasingly popular over the last few years, a method of design that involves planning a system of interacting objects to solve a software problem. You should have an awareness of how object-oriented design works, and an understanding of the core concepts of this development technique: abstraction; inheritance; and encapsulation.
  4. Data Structures and Algorithms. You should have a strong understanding of basic algorithms such as different methods of sorting and searching through data sets. You should also understand different formats of storing data, and how applications process this data.
  5. Web Services and APIs. As a software engineer, you may be building tools which interact with web-based services, tools, and databases. As a result, you’ll need to know the basics of working with web technologies, and using APIs to retrieve and amend data.

Essential Soft Skills for Software Engineers

Software engineers need more than just technical skills to be successful – you’ll need a set of “soft” skills as well. The top soft skills you can expect to use on the job include:

  1. Teamwork. You’re going to have to work as part of a team as a software engineer. You should be able to work effectively with others, be willing to support others when they are struggling, and know how to respond to collaborative environments.
  2. Attention to Detail. Software engineers need to pay attention to detail. After all, one misplaced character could prevent a program from running, or from operating correctly. You should be able to pay attention to every detail, and think about the impact of each change you make on the broader program.
  3. Problem Solving. To succeed in any role in programming, you have to be good at solving problems. You should be able to break down problems into smaller components, and think critically to come up with an efficient solution to that problem. Indeed, software engineering is all about solving problems through code.

Software Engineering Certifications

An additional step that will help you stand out in the job interview process is certifications. Certifications are like exams that let employers know you meet a certain skill or knowledge requirement for a particular technology.

Here are some of the most useful certifications for software engineers:

  • Amazon AWS Certification
  • Microsoft MCSD
  • Oracle Certified Associate
  • CIW Web Foundations Associate
  • Rather than try to collect as many as possible, focus on certifications that will support the technologies you plan to use most in your career

How to become a Software Engineer

  1. Be intentional about what you want

Starting a new career is not easy. However, when you have a final destination in mind, it helps when you find and deal with a hurdle in your road. You should have a clear goal like:

I want to build my career as a software engineer

I want to work as a software engineer at an established IT company.

I want to work as a team member and get paid well for it,

  1. Get An Education

Completing a formal education is the first step toward becoming a software engineer. Prospective students can select from both traditional and nontraditional training programs to gain the education necessary to pursue entry-level positions.

  1. Learn Programming Languages

Just like people communicate with each other through languages, you also need to tell your computer what to do using a language that these computers can understand. Even if you are graduate or have a degree it’s not helpful if you don’t have a deeper understanding of any programming language using it to build software. Now you need to take the responsibility of your own education so choose any programming language as per your choice and goal and have in-depth knowledge in it. Ruby, Java, Python, C++, C#, Javascript are some languages you can go with. It’s not important to learn 3-4 languages simultaneously as a beginner.

  1. Do Some Internships

Internships are the best opportunity for students to get hands-on industry experience and exposure and that’s the reason it opens a lot of job opportunities. A lot of companies offer internships for students who want to work on industry projects. In internship students’ get practical training and real industry exposure where they work on some projects or products related to their skills, they also learn how to work under a team and it helps them to adapt to the company culture.

Generally, internships are three to six months long for students and we recommend every student to go for some internship programs during their college time. Doing an internship can be really helpful in getting a full-time job offer and the same company where you are working as an intern can give you the opportunity for a full-time position once you complete your internship.

  1. Enhance Your Skills

Programming is a never-ending journey so your education is not finished when you have completed your degree. It’s true that pursuing a degree helps in understanding the core principle of software engineering but you should know how to implement academic knowledge practically in the real world. You need to keep practicing and you need to keep updating yourself with software updates and new technologies. You should have the knowledge of some tools and technologies that are being used in industries

Marcus Amudipe

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