What are the best software engineer qualifications and training to get ahead?

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What is the best training for becoming a software engineer? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective software engineer?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

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Adam in Painesville, Ohio

73 months ago

That's ridiculous rob. i was a journalist for five years before going back to school for computer science/software engineering. i had no experience programming or anything. you can learn it if you truly put your mind and energy into it. sure, you might have to work a lot harder than someone else who picks up on it right away, but that's the same with every subject/skill. don't let elitists like rob discourage you. there's a lot of techies out there like him.

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jackie in Rajkot, India

70 months ago

Host said: What is the best training for becoming a software engineer? What types of ongoing training or certifications are necessary to be an effective software engineer?

What do non-traditional career paths look like?

can u say me in detai that how we can become an software engineer?

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Saud Karim in Marietta, Georgia

70 months ago

I reallly want to become a software engineer, but don't really know if it is hard or easy for me. So if anybody could help me, I would be thankful.
Email me at worthmillions_7@hotmail.com

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Tim in Sunnyside, New York

54 months ago

I do agree with comments here that experience is important. Also, some engineering related degree is usually a requirement to get your foot in the door (unless you really have a lot of relevant experience). Where I would disagree is on any mention of professional certifications having value. One particular firm I interviewed with mentioned that they actually wouldn't interview people with technology specific professional certifications. So if you have them, unless you know you're interviewing at a company that really looks for this sort of thing, keep them off your resume :)

Just to stress the experience part a little more, this is so much more important than just having a degree. I graduated from a top CS program, however, I do believe there were plenty of people who graduated in my class who had trouble finding a job in the field that they were really happy with. The opportunity difference is huge when you have some real, practical experience designing, building and supporting systems compared to when you've only read about it and attended lectures on it. I've been coding for over ten years now, and at least half of that time it was on fun hobby projects that helped me learn what to do and what not to do. Learning programming languages isn't hard, but learning to effectively solve problems in ways that perform, scale and lend themselves to reuse and low maintenance is something that takes time to pick up.

However, I do not believe software engineering is one of those 99% perspiration 1% inspiration things. Of course, there are moments like that, and it does take a lot of time practicing to be good at creating software, but just working really hard won't get you very far. It is as much art as science, and so working smart - reading code, reading about system architectures (good and bad) and talking to and working with (pair programming) other engineers - is very important. If you do these things and practice, I believe you'll get their faster.

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Tim in Sunnyside, New York

54 months ago

Finally, I disagree about an engineer being different than a developer. You do both or you do none (well). Some organizations have a culture such that you have "architects" who design things - generally, the "engineer sort of folk", and they hand these off to developers who can just "program things". I do not believe that the resulting software is usually of very good quality. Good stuff is produced by engineers who design by doing and who not only can, but do implement their designs. If you only write code, I'm not really sure who would hire you and for what purpose. If the code you're writing does not take engineering effort, why isn't it automated?

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Tim in Sunnyside, New York

54 months ago

Tim in Sunnyside, New York said: If you do these things and practice, I believe you'll get their faster.

No excuse for that one, hmm. Well, ehmm, if this forum was engineered better, it would correct my grammar :)

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Greg in Portland, Oregon

54 months ago

Certificates: Quick note. In my opinion, these are not useful on their own. If someone who has a degree and quite a few years of experience has certs it makes a difference. I study for certs on a regular basis (don't actually get around to taking the exams as I usually get busy). By studying for a cert, I pick up parts of a domain/field/etc that I may not have had a reason to study and broaden my knowledge. Such as studying for the MCPD (new MCSD). Will this cert make me a better engineer, no. Did it expose me to parts of the Microsoft frameworks and technologies I don't normally get into, yes. Having a cert and nothing else means you memorized enough info to pass a test ad may have brain dumped it afterwards. I generally look at is as a little frosting on a big cake. So, with 2 identical candidates a cert adds an additional 1% in my opinion (and only if the cert is relevant). A cert also shows that someone has dedicated time to expanding their knowledge in a measurable way. I have met way too many 20 year plus folks who learn just enough to do their current gig. This in my opinion does not show a dedication to your craft.

So, for managers who say they will not interview someone because they have a cert is stupid. Interview the person if they meet the criteria (engineering experience, domain exposure, etc). At least a cert holder has proven they want to expand their knowledge. You won't know what other candidates know until you bring them in and interview them.

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Greg in Portland, Oregon

54 months ago

Developer vs Engineer.
"Software engineering is the establishment and use of sound engineering principles in order to obtain economically software that is reliable and works efficiently on real machines"

The difference is using sound engineering principles. CS majors are not taught engineering principles (I believe SE is creeping into CS degrees programs these days). There are a lot of "SW Engineers" out there who don't follow anything, lacking repeatable processes, etc.

Quality Engineers are developers as well. Developers are note necessarily engineers. I would agree with orgs that have Architects handing down specs to engineers who develop LLDs, interface and components designs, etc and then have someone code it. These do no necessarily generate quality product. Why? You are having the least common denominator writing the finished product. If your architect and engineers are not hands on, you will have problems. I've seen this with Mechanical and electrical engineering orgs as well as SW engineering orgs. Hands on in the trenches work keeps your Archs and senior engineers sharp and grounded in the real world (not the hypothetical one).

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Zaphod in Hollis, New Hampshire

53 months ago

Any advice for a Hardware Engineer that wants to move into Software Engineering? Have any SW Managers hired any HW Engineers with little 'real' SW experience, and had good results?. If a HW Engineer had a lot of experience with HDL languages like Verilog, and verification languages like System C and System Verilog, as well as scripting languages like Perl and Ruby. Would that help them make the cross over to the SW side? Thanks for any advice or input.

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Mike in Chicago, Illinois

53 months ago

Zaphod in Hollis, New Hampshire said: Any advice for a Hardware Engineer that wants to move into Software Engineering? Have any SW Managers hired any HW Engineers with little 'real' SW experience, and had good results?. If a HW Engineer had a lot of experience with HDL languages like Verilog, and verification languages like System C and System Verilog, as well as scripting languages like Perl and Ruby. Would that help them make the cross over to the SW side? Thanks for any advice or input.

What type of software do you want to work on? Do you want to stay close to the hardware or not?

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charlieS in Hollis, New Hampshire

52 months ago

Zaphod, I would recommed that you get into Engineering Design Automation (EDA). This field provides software tools for the hardware industry. Experience in hardware is invaluable for SEs in this field.

The experience you have using the Scientific Method to engineer and debug hardware designs will be almost completely translatable into engineering software. The languages you have used in hardware be familiar to you in writing software, but, as stated here before, language is the least important part of software engineering.

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junead in India

31 months ago

what are the best courses in engeanearing?

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PAMPAM in Buena Park, California

13 months ago

Adam in Painesville, Ohio said: That's ridiculous rob. i was a journalist for five years before going back to school for computer science/software engineering . i had no experience programming or anything. you can learn it if you truly put your mind and energy into it. sure, you might have to work a lot harder than someone else who picks up on it right away, but that's the same with every subject/skill. don't let elitists like rob discourage you. there's a lot of techies out there like him.

Hello
So how did you do in this field? I am interested of getting a Masters of Software engineering and I am sure I can learn C++ and java on my own but I am afraid that I will be lacking the programing experience.. What do you think?

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