How to Become a Software Engineer

Software engineers, also known as systems analysts, apply computer science and mathematical analysis principles to the development, design and assessment of computer systems and applications that enable computers to perform specific tasks. Software engineers are divided into two specialties: computer application engineers and computer systems engineers. Computer application engineers analyze the needs of the user to design, create and maintain broad-focused computer application software or specific use programs. Computer system engineers build, develop and maintain computer systems for large organizations, such as payroll or internet companies [source: bls]. Let's find out how to become a software engineer.

  1. Take advanced math courses, such as calculus, as well as any computer courses your high school may offer.
  2. Familiarize yourself with computer word processing programs, internet search engines and computer games. This will help you gain a basic understanding of what software engineers do.
  3. Earn a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer information systems or software engineering. Although some people manage to land jobs as software engineers without a bachelor's degree in a computer-related area, these people are few and far between.
  4. Gain experience by getting a part-time internship with a software company while pursuing your bachelor's degree. This will enable you to learn about the various systems available and combine your theoretical knowledge with applied practice. It will also help you gain a foothold in the job market.
  5. Earn a master's degree in computer science. While not absolutely necessary, this will help you advance in the field [source: source: bls].
  6. Seek employment as a software engineer. Software engineers are employed in diverse areas, such as finance, consulting, information and communication, etc. [source: UMASS].