Wendy Saccuzzo, Director of Career Services at Hackbright Academy, helps place Hackbright students into software engineering roles at some of the world’s fastest growing tech companies and startups.
Hackbright graduates with majors such as Linguistics, Art History, and Spanish land engineering roles in Silicon Valley companies. A Computer Science degree doesn’t determine your success. Other things do.
It’s a good time to be a software engineer. Salaries are high, demand is high, and the outlook for growth in this career long-term is strong. This is arguably the most in-demand profession in our increasingly tech heavy world.
The problem? People can’t get past the antiquated notion that a CS degree determines whether you’ll get a job. It doesn’t.
Stop thinking a Computer Science degree is a necessity.
Mark Zuckerberg was majoring in Psychology before he dropped out of school to start Facebook. Hackbright has gotten over 200 brilliant women into engineering roles. Guess what? Only a handful had CS degrees. Hackbright alumnae are working at partner companies like Eventbrite, Facebook and New Relic and loving their jobs in engineering.
Did you break stuff and try to put it back together when you were a kid?
Did you spend your recess in the lab working on the computer, tinkering with things around the house, or assembling a zine?
Have you taught yourself some code?
Do you love learning new languages, or delving into linguistics?
Do you build and/or play games, and feel driven to know more about how it all worked? Are you good at debate and explaining how things work?
If you said yes, then you have what our graduates have – curiosity, one of the most important ingredients to being a successful software engineer.
Your major doesn’t determine what you’re capable of doing.
Anthropology. Political Science. Biology. Public Policy. These are just some of the majors that our graduates who are now software engineers had. Thank goodness that they didn’t let their majors overshadow their interest in becoming software engineers. Does that mean anyone could be a software engineer? No, but it’s not as hard as our culture makes you believe.
If you’re enjoying the more technical parts of your job or perhaps you do a little coding on the side, then maybe you should look a little further into the field. Try out some meetups, or go to a hackathon. Build something with a group of people who are also curious and see what it’s like. Not only will it give you an idea of what a day in the life is like, but these passion projects and contributions and commits you make on GitHub will make you a marketable candidate.
You can then further your coding skills on your own or join an immersive program like ours. Either way, if you see your capabilities are there then there’s no need to stop yourself from making the career change.
Companies want to see your capabilities now and see a hunger for learning.
As an engineer, you need to be able to fix broken software, leave the code in better condition than you found it, fix bugs, and think about scalability. You must always be thinking, “What if?” New programming languages and frameworks come out on the regular. To stay relevant as a software engineer, you need to keep up with the latest trends by going to meetups, conferences, and reading up on the latest technologies.
At Hackbright, we know what the market trend is and that’s what we teach you. Supplement that with going to coding meetups, being informed of the latest technologies and going to conferences, and guess what?
You’re the type of coder that a company would want on their team. Because even the CS degree majors on their team may not be as up to date on the latest as you are. That’s what makes you extremely valuable.
It’s not just about a CS degree for companies.
Meet Sarah. Jasmine. Alaina. Jessica. Siena. Micki – all graduates of our 12-week immersive program, all engineers, no CS degrees. Many supplemented that experience with the plethora of tech opportunities provided to them in the area.
Engineering leadership and the technical recruiters who are hiring for these coveted positions want to know why you decided to learn how to program. They want to know that you contribute to open source, that you have regular commits on GitHub, and that you spend time outside of your day job on this hobby that you’re turning into a career.
Be able to talk about how you’re always learning, what you’re curious about, and that you’ll contribute to the culture of curiosity on their team. Let them know that you might not know all the answers, but that if you’re stumped, you’ll ask a couple of other people, search for some answers on the internet, and try to figure it out first before you throw in the towel and ask someone else what to do. Now that’s a promising engineer.
Not only can you be an engineer, but you can be an engineering manager!
Hackbright began in 2012 and in three short years, we’re already seeing multiple graduates get promoted to engineering managers.
Why? Curiosity. Passion. Drive to learn… You get the idea!
Check out the new 2015 Course Report on Coding Bootcamp Outcomes and Demographics to see the average result of coding school graduates.
Bottom line: We need more engineers – we need more FEMALE engineers, and a CS degree doesn’t determine if you can do it. Only the time and energy you put into coding now will.