how to become a software engineer (2024 Guide)

Is Software Engineering Hard to Learn?

BrainStation’s Software Engineer career guide is intended to help you take the first steps toward a career in software engineering. Read on for an overview of whether or not it’s hard to learn software engineering skills.

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Yes, software engineering can be somewhat hard to learn initially – especially for those without programming or coding skills or any background or knowledge of tech – but there are many courses, tools, and other resources available to help people learn to become a Software Engineer.

Being a really good Software Engineer requires a combination of skills that sets it apart from other roles in tech. For instance, talented Software Engineers with all the coding skills in the world but with no interest in steering projects or dealing with company leadership might not be ready for a software development position. Similarly, someone with a knack for project management and stakeholder management but no experience writing code would also be disqualified for a Software Engineer job.

But if the biggest learning challenge that one must overcome to become a Software Engineer is programming, then perhaps learning software engineering isn’t that hard after all.

To help someone learn to code, there is a near endless supply of options, including completing a college-level course at an accredited school to attending a streamlined coding bootcamp or to learning to code through online resources like podcasts and web tutorials.

Web development is full of people who were, at least to some degree, self-taught in learning programming and software engineering. Anyone could pick up coding skills or learn a couple programming languages if they have the right motivation. Even Software Developers with formal college education or a degree at some point go the self-taught route when it comes to learning to use a new tool online or programming language in their everyday work life.

Beginners could make the learning curve even smoother by starting with a relatively intuitive open source programming language like Python (which is often taught now at the high school level or earlier) before moving on to programming languages like JavaScript, CSS, or Ruby.

It’s useful for anyone who wants to become a Software Engineer to get used to spending free time online trying new web projects and computer software, or exploring further learning with other programming languages, data structures, or computer systems. Fortunately, there’s nothing stopping any aspiring Software Developer from getting started and learning the fundamentals needed for a career in software engineering.

What Do You Have to Study for a Career in Software Engineering?

Although there is no specific area of study required to become a Software Engineer, most companies in the software industry require some kind of college degree for a career in software engineering and it helps if the degree is in a related field like computer science, math, development, or engineering.

Although a degree – especially from a well-known college – could certainly help someone land an interview or even get a job in software engineering, top companies in the real world need to know that you can do the job, which puts the emphasis on your ability to learn software development, gain real-world experience developing software, and complete projects that demonstrate your technical skills and your command of relevant programming languages and software engineering principles.

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