How To Become a Software Engineer With No Experience

Every single app on your smartphone has at least one thing in common: they were all built by a software engineer. Software engineers are responsible for coding apps and websites, and because of this, they enjoy a wide range of career opportunities. Virtually every industry needs software engineers, so if you have a software engineering skillset, you can apply it to whatever industry or field interests you.

So if you’re interested in a career in software engineering, but don’t have any experience (yet), then you’re probably wondering how to break into the industry. Software engineering degrees aren’t offered by most universities, and in our opinion, a degree isn’t necessarily the best way to break into the industry anyways.

From attending career-centric, online bootcamps to building out a software engineer portfolio with personal projects, there are a number of things you can do to gain a foothold in the industry without ever having had a job in software engineering before. Read on to learn more.

Learn the Fundamentals of Software Engineering

If you want to become a software engineer, but don’t have any experience yet, you should start by learning the fundamentals:

Programming Languages

Programming is the core responsibility of software engineers, so if you don’t yet know how to code, then it’s time to get started. Software Engineers typically need to know how to use Java or Python to build programs, and there is no lack of available resources to help you familiarize yourself with them. How you decide to learn a programming language is entirely up to you. YouTube tutorials, books, and online courses are all at your disposal. 

Data and Algorithms

Besides programming languages, themselves, the next most important element for becoming a software engineer involves developing an understanding of data structures and algorithms. This typically involves using tools like BigO to create applications and developing an understanding of data structures such as stacks, queues, hash tables, trees, graphs, and more.

Software Engineering Soft Skills

While building up your hard skills is the most important thing for finding success in software engineering, there are also a number of soft skills that you can build upon to increase your chances of starting a career in software. For example, showing that you have experience working with a team can make a huge difference in how potential employers will see you.

Build a Personal Software Engineer Portfolio

Once you’ve gained the skills you need to work as a software engineer, then it’s time to start building a portfolio that you can show to employers. You don’t necessarily need a resume of relevant work experience if you can demonstrate that you have the know-how to get the job done. In fact, showing that you have applicable skills is arguably even more important. Building out such projects is something you can do in your free time or through attending online coursework.

You may be asking yourself: what kind of project is worth building? Our advice is to focus on projects that show off the breadth of your skills. And when you’re ready to start applying for jobs, it can be a good idea to tailor your portfolio to each job that you apply for, in the same way, that you should be tailoring your cover letter and resume for each employer.

Embrace Contests or Freelancing

Many organizations and websites host coding challenges and contests, and these are great ways to sharpen your skills. Some healthy competition also gives you an idea of what you may be up against in the job market.

Outside of these challenges, you can also consider offering up your software engineering services in the freelance market. This kind of work will typically not require previous experience and will let you build up your portfolio outside of “just” personal projects, potentially while also helping you earn some money on the side depending on the project.

Join a Bootcamp

While there are many ways to become a software engineer with no experience, there are a few ways to give yourself the biggest possible advantage. Our greatest recommendation is to sign up for an online course, such as UMass Global’s Software Engineering Bootcamp.

UMass Global’s Software Engineering Bootcamp offers a curriculum designed to meet the growing demands of software engineering. From every step involved in front-end development to comprehensive lessons on data structures and algorithms, the professionals at UMass Global has meticulously crafted lessons that will help you launch your career as a software engineer.