Engineer. One of the most respected words in the dictionary of an Indian parent. If there is any other thing that is more desired by an Indian parent apart from “Roti, Kapda and Makaan” as suggested by Mr Bachchan, is the dream of seeing their offspring as an IIT graduate, not realizing the fact that every year more than 10 lakhs students, see the same dream.
From a wide range of engineering degrees that the numerous colleges in India offer, computer science (CS) engineering is the most common branch of engineering, whereas Software engineering (SE) is sometimes considered a sub-branch to it. While CS offers the knowledge about the hardware, SE pertains deeper into the development of software so that it works in its intended way. Attaining a degree in computer science or any related field serves as the pre-requisite to have a career as a software engineer.
Also Read: How to Become a Programmer Without a Degree?
How to become a Software Engineer in India?
Skills Required for Becoming a Software Engineer
To be a software engineer, the three things on the checklist that must be fulfilled are:
- Love for programming.
- Love for programming.
- Love for programming.
Having a logical bent of mind is an important criterion for taking up SE as a career option. Creating the algorithms, dry running the code to find the mistakes at an early stage, coding for hours, still having errors, just because somewhere in line 263 a semicolon was forgotten, spending hours to find that mistake, re-running that entire code again, takes up a lot of patience and only the people with that true love for coding can keep going on for hours.
Sounding crazily difficult? Makes you want to quit the passion right here, right now? No, it’s not! Though sounding hard, once the person gets hang of coding, that waking up every day to a new problem at hand, challenging your brain every day to come up with new solutions, either for an existing problem, or creating something entirely from scratch, that is a different excitement altogether. Signing up for a career in software engineering, involves continuous racking of brains, creating, innovating and adapting as per the situation demands.
Becoming Software Engineer – The Traditional Way
So, to be a software engineer in India, the first step begins in the early ages in class 10 when the road diverges and you got to take up the heavily populated road, filled with lakhs of students having the same dream of becoming an engineer, which leads to taking “science” in higher secondary. Having Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Computer from an early age help develop the logical part of the brain and 2 years of science, does just that.
Then comes competing with a million dreams to achieve yours, as in India there is a common entrance examination for all the branches of engineering called as the “Joint Entrance Examinations” or JEE. For this, early preparations include enrolling to various coaching institutions so that it helps in preparing for class 12 and the entrance examinations simultaneously. Then, comes the “D-day” and acing it is a combination of both hard work and a bit of luck. Scores and rank play a huge role in determining your entry to your dream college, just like any other entrance examination. The results are followed by extensive hunting for a good college, followed by multiple applications at various places, in hopes of making through one of them.
Securing a position in one of the colleges is just the beginning, to become a successful software engineer, apart from the education provided by the institute, a little nudge or a small push from your side, will help in the long run for sure. As a popular saying goes “Practice makes a man perfect”, the same applies in this field too. No coding, no programming can be learnt by reading books and mugging them up for exams. Coding is an application-based skill and can be only sharpened by practising continuously.
Becoming Software Engineer – The Modern Way
Though, getting through JEE and then securing a seat in the top college for bachelors followed by masters, is the traditional way to become a software engineer. Nowadays, for the gen Z interest in a particular field is what it takes to make a career in a certain field. Interest and Skill are all it takes to have a passionate career in any field. Even if going through all the hassle of year-long preparations seems a daunting task, there is nothing today that cannot be learnt through online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, LinkedIn and many more. Be it, any programming language, or a diploma degree.
A formal degree of a software engineer is becoming less of a mandate these days for pursuing your passion. Even a person with the degree of a BCA/MCA who has the love for coding can go on to have a bright future in the field of software development. Now, who does not know, Mark Zuckerberg? A Harvard University dropout, but still his love for coding and software development, has made him one of the most successful persons and the co-founder of one of the most widely used application – Facebook. So, a degree does not matter, only the passion, skill and love for coding is the driving force for a software engineer profession.
Internships – The Next Step Forward
Though the degree may be optional, learning to apply all the gathered knowledge, in the form of internships is a must. Applying for internships, getting through with it, gives a peek into the day-to-day activities in the life of a software engineer. Working on projects provides the required practice and thus prepares you to face the real-life challenges that an IT employee faces. Reading books of established authors and thus using those to develop some software, also provides a great boost. Keep developing the software, thus gaining practise and knowledge together.
Building strong networks in the field also help to go the long way. Helping the people in your community, gaining insights from peers, maintaining close networks with them, helps. Different problems can indeed be easily solved in different languages. So, instead of learning a single language, having proper knowledge of 2-3 different languages, from the basic level, serves truly helpful.
Interviews – The Final Step
Just gaining knowledge, won’t be enough. To convert all the learnings and insights gained, proper preparations to enter the corporate world is a must. Essentials here includes:
- An impressive cover letter (which states why exactly should you be hired),
- A professional resume and
- The most important of all an impeccable online presence.
All of these create an image of yourself, in the minds of the recruiters even before you get a chance to create an impression yourself. So, an impressive digital footprint (which shows how aware you are of the ongoing scenarios), leaves a healthy mark in the potential recruiter’s mind.
Acing the interview seems like the final step in becoming a professional, corporate-working software engineer. Apart from the basic interview questions, core technical questions with past experiences (here, your long hours of slogging in the name of practice comes to the rescue!), on-spot presence of mind, mandatory soft-skills go on the to-do list before an interview. Clearing the interview is like saying hello to the life of an IT employee, developing software, coding and all the technical stuff you have dreamt of!
Thus, in this ever-changing era where tech is the only thing that will stay in the long run, being a software engineer, definitely gives you an edge. Being continuously adaptive with the ongoing technologies will be the only way to survive and will be an extremely satisfying journey in itself. In all, software engineer provides a very lucrative career graph, being in continuous touch with the technology. Thus, being a software engineer/developer has always been and will always be a great career choice, with continuous learning.
Hey, This is Aanchal! A statistician turned MBA aspirant. Writing is my passion and glimses of which can be seen @thewriteowl on instagram! Writing helps me put my thoughts on paper and would like to explore more areas in writing!. Currently I am working as a content writer at Zigsaw, the fastest growing recruitment firms of India.