If you’ve started researching programming languages, you’ve already discovered there are a lot to choose from. Some “popular” languages like Python, Java, and Go (sometimes called Golang after its domain name, a language developed at Google) appear to be clear winners for learning if you’re just starting out or looking to add a programming language to your toolbox. Indeed, depending on your individual career path, industry, or company, aspiring and established software engineers may well have to learn a variety of popular programming languages or lesser-known languages over the course of their career.
So does popularity matter? Yes and no.
Hackbright Academy leads with Python for a reason—it is a widely utilized language of software engineers. But the story doesn’t end there. And the life of a software engineer doesn’t revolve solely around the programming language or languages you learn.
What Should You Know to Be a Software Engineer?
The internet is filled with articles, videos, webinars, and tools—both paid and free—to learn foundational programming concepts. Such self-study is a brilliant way to begin your journey. For those with good time management skills and a heavy dose of discipline, self-study resources can be enough to prepare you for entering a career in tech. This is especially true for learners with a specific trait. More on that in a moment.
For many others, the structure of an immersive learning environment such as a software engineering bootcamp can be the key to unlocking their inner potential. With that learning comes a greater sense of the technological landscape and what languages are currently being used in what sectors. To broaden this idea, many software engineers do find themselves obligated to stay up-to-date with the latest technology developments—and many do so willingly, as the evolving nature of the profession and continuous learning can be part of the fun.
If you have an appetite for learning and staying current in tech, perhaps it is intuitive that being a software engineer will be easier for you than if you’d rather not work at a computer for hours on end.
It can take the right kind of person, personality, or working type, to be a software engineer.
Some boil it down to one skill: problem-solving.
Problem-solving comes naturally to some of us, while others have to study and learn the best practices and methodologies of their coding language and field of study. In fact, candidates may find success with general coding and problem-solving skills demonstrated in any language. That, paired with attention to detail and the focus and drive to produce quality code, can go a long way as a learner and as you grow within your career. In some ways or in certain roles, the exact programming languages you use can become secondary to such skills as you grow in your career.
If all this sounds like you, then you can actually learn the basics of software engineering reasonably quickly, especially at Hackbright. (For more, Read The Best Ways to Learn Code.)
What Do Software Engineers Do Day to Day?
The day-to-day work or a software engineer can consist of business meetings, work conferences, coworker lunch breaks, and, of course, time spent at a computer, developing and maintaining software on both the front- and back-end. Depending on how specialized the position is, you can be in charge of a very small but crucial set of data or you can be a jack of all trades.
A large portion of software engineering is problem solving, no matter where or how you work, no matter the programming language in which you’re working. In a nutshell, that’s the job. You find problems, diagnose them, identify solutions, and implement fixes. You’ll repeat those steps over and over again whether you’re working on your own projects or those of the company you work for. Sound fun? To a lot of people, it does.
Can I Have a Life Outside of Software Engineering?
One concern you may have about becoming a software engineer is whether or not you will still be able to have a life outside of software engineering. There are several factors to consider here, but the short answer is yes, you can have a life filled with other things besides your work. If you find a company that allows you to have a work-life balance, then this will be like other office jobs.
How Hard Is it to Start a Career in Software Engineering?
Hard is a subjective term, so this will be a subjective answer. Starting a career in software engineering is hard in the sense that you have to learn a new set of skills from the ground up. However, starting a career in another field of work could be just as hard. And unlike some careers, it doesn’t take years to get started. You can prepare yourself for a career in software engineering in a matter of weeks at Hackbright Academy. Learn more.
How Can You Get a Taste of Software Engineering?
If you’re new to the world of software engineering and you’re unsure about whether or not you’d enjoy the career, you’re probably looking for a way to get a taste of what it’s like to be a software engineer. At Hackbright Academy, our 5-week Prep course teaches the foundations of the programming language Python.
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