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Software Engineering

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Software Engineering: Courses, Training, and Other Resources

How to Learn Software Engineering

Software engineering pertains to the development and maintenance of all the software we use every day, from productivity tools to web browsers. Developers are in demand worldwide, as more fields of business continue to rely heavily on technology. As a result, software engineers earn an impressive salary and have strong job prospects.
In this guide, we’re going to cover how to become a software engineer. We’ll give you all the information you need to decide whether this career is right for you. Then, we’ll give you access to helpful resources on salaries for software engineers, training programs, and guidance on how to start your career.

What Is Software Engineering?

What Is Software Engineering? image
Software engineering is the application of engineering concepts to software development. Its main goal is the creation, improvement, and maintenance of software. Software engineering takes into account engineering aspects like the hardware and software environment when working on a program.

While software engineers’ job descriptions often heavily overlap with software developers, software engineers and software developers are not the same. The main difference is that software engineers apply engineering concepts and principles to software development. Engineers consider beyond the code they’re writing and onto the environment that the program will reside.


With help from a bootcamp, you could be a software engineer in 12 months.

What Does a Software Engineer Do?

Software engineers work on creating, maintaining, and managing software applications of various types. Below are some duties of software engineers.
  1. Updating programs.
    Software engineers ensure an active program runs smoothly through updates and bug fixes.
  2. Creating new programs.
    Software engineers design and create new programs for users.
  3. Analysis.
    Software engineers may look at an organization’s needs and create software to meet such needs.
  4. Keep track of software development.
    Creating software often involves the work of multiple teams. Software engineers keep track of internal code and ensure the application meets the users’ needs.
The full scope of software engineering duties depends on the organization and the size of the development team. Software engineers’ responsibilities could be as broad as designing, developing, and maintaining an entire product. They could also be as small as simply helping structure the code of an app on larger teams. More often than not, software engineers will have to work with other developers, clients, and stakeholders to fulfill a design need for their product.
Some software engineering roles include artificial intelligence, whereas others may work on managing server-side programs. Whatever the role, a software engineer will use programming languages to write and maintain code to meet a certain need.

Types of Software Engineering

If you want to break into tech engineering, the first step is figuring out which career path you want to target. Let's cover some of the more popular paths for software engineers.

Software Engineer

Software engineers develop software for electronic devices. These developers use programming languages such as C++, Java, and Python to create applications that will run on computers. They work on both the user interface and the back-end, which refer to what the user sees and the mechanics that make a program work, respectively.

Embedded Systems Engineer

These engineers are responsible for designing, developing, testing, and maintaining embedded systems. Embedded systems are combinations of hardware and software designed to perform specific tasks. For example, an embedded systems engineer may work on the software which powers ATMs or the program which controls a robot.

Security Engineer

A security engineer is responsible for creating systems, methods, and policies to ensure an information system meets certain standards and has no security flaws. Security engineers often operate as “white-hat” ethical hackers and attempt to break into existing systems to determine if any security problems exist.

Learn more about security engineering in our cybersecurity career guide.

Quality Assurance Engineer

Quality Assurance (QA) engineers write, review, test, and maintain software. These engineers are responsible for ensuring the development team writes a consistent quality of code. They create standards and policies to ensure all code is efficient and works correctly.

Learning Software Engineering

There are many paths you can take to become a software engineer, but the most common route usually follows these steps:
  1. Choose a software engineering career path.
  2. Learn about software engineering through a bootcamp, self-study, or college.
  3. Develop and refine your technical skills while building your portfolio.
  4. Prepare for and start your job search.

How Long Does It Take to Learn Software Engineering?

It can take anywhere from six months to four years to learn software engineering. If you participate in a coding bootcamp or course, you can become a software engineer in six months to a year, on average. Alternatively, you can get a formal education in software engineering by pursuing a four-year bachelor’s degree in the field.

How to Learn Software Engineering: Step-by-Step

There are three common paths to learn software engineering, namely:
  1. Pursue a computer science degree at a college or university.
  2. Attend a coding bootcamp specializing in software engineering.
  3. Learn software engineering through self-study.
Each path has its benefits and drawbacks. In the past, only college graduates qualify for professional software engineering roles, but that has changed over the last few years. Many recent software engineers have thrived in the field despite having taught themselves and lacking any formal coding education.
However, there is another option available that’s grown in popularity: coding bootcamps. Coding bootcamps provide a viable alternative to a traditional college education. In a coding bootcamp, you’ll learn all the practical, real-world skills you’ll need to succeed in a career in software development.
Also, most coding bootcamps offer a robust career support system for students and graduates. You’ll work with mentors and instructors to learn new skills and build a portfolio of projects to showcase your skills and abilities to potential employers. They even provide help with your job search.

How much can you earn? (source: Glassdoor)

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The Best Software Engineering Courses and Training

Software engineering training programs are a viable alternative to a college or university education. One of the most popular types of programs come in the form of coding bootcamps. Below is a list of some of the highest-rated and most popular coding bootcamps in software engineering.

Online Software Engineering Courses

App Academy is a coding school that offers both in-person and online training programs. There are no tuition costs until you’re hired in a software engineering role and earn over $50,000. App Academy has put over 3,000 people in full-time software engineering positions, that rake in an average salary of $80,000. Alumni for the bootcamp work in over 1,000 companies around the world, such as Twitter, Netflix, Apple, and Google.

Flatiron School offers online and in-person programs in software engineering. Students take part in a rigorous curriculum that is aligned with the demands of the market. Flatiron School teaches students how to think and work like a software engineer.

Applicants must submit a written application that details their reason for applying in the bootcamp. They must also learn some basic skills to qualify for the immersive programs through Flatiron School’s free preparatory courses.

Thinkful is an online coding bootcamp that offers a seven-month-long course in software engineering. The courses can be taken full-time or part-time. Throughout the program, students receive a personal mentor, career coach, and academic success manager. They also join a supportive peer network to help ensure success.

In some courses, students are eligible for Thinkful’s tuition guarantee. This means that if a student does not find a job within six months of graduating, they get their money back.

Rithm School is a 17-week full-time software engineering program. It is founded by a team of experienced instructors that emphasize small class sizes. Each class is capped at 18 students with three experienced instructors.

The curriculum focuses on Python, SQL, Node, React, Data Structures, and Algorithms. Unlike other coding bootcamps, students spend three weeks contracting for companies and gaining professional experience.

software skills

Software Engineering Books

Beyond courses and certifications, software engineering books can expand your knowledge significantly. These books are filled with advice and useful information about the field. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced professional, the following are useful resources for any software engineer

Gayle Laakmann McDowell

If you apply for a software engineering position, you may need to take a coding interview. This book helps you look for hidden details in coding questions, break problems down into manageable chunks, and improve your ability to learn concepts.

There are also 189 interview questions and solutions in the book, which will help you prepare for your next interview.

Steve McConnell

Code Complete is an analysis of software construction. It is well-written and considered an industry standard. Practically every programmer should at least skim this book. It covers topics in design, coding, testing, and debugging.

This book is particularly useful for those with some early professional experience in programming. However, beginners will receive more confidence when making software after reading this book.

Robert Martin

This book teaches you all about disciplines, tools, techniques, and the practices of software craftsmanship. It comes with practical advice for coding, testing, refactoring, and estimating.

After reading the book, you’ll learn how to deal with conflicts, difficult managers, and tight schedules. You’ll also learn how to create an environment for thriving developers, avoid a burnout, and get into flow coding.

Thomas H. Cormen

This is a great guide to all types of algorithms. A necessary part of software engineering, this book covers everything for beginners and professionals alike. You’ll learn about fast algorithms, polynomial-time algorithms, graph theory, computational geometry, and data structures. It even gives some examples through pseudo-code.

David Thomas and Andrew Hunt

This book is filled with professional and technical advice to help you become a better software engineer. The book examines what it means to be a modern developer, exploring topics from architectural techniques to career development. Upon reaching the last page, you’ll have learned how to create adaptable, flexible, and dynamic code.

Software Engineering Certifications

An additional step that will help you stand out in the job interview process is earning certifications. Certifications are like exams that let employers know you meet a certain skill or knowledge required for a particular technology.
Here are some of the most useful certifications for software engineers:
Rather than trying to collect as many as possible, focus on certifications that support the technologies you plan to use in your career.

Online Software Engineering Resources

This is a large online community, with hundreds of thousands of members on the site. It connects experienced programmers, allowing them to share information with one another. The site has detailed programming tutorials, code snippets, and a forum where you can receive any software engineering assistance.

This free resource is an online educational tool. It is comprehensive and covers a wide range of subjects, such as Ruby, SQL, C++, Python, C#, HTML, PHP, and several others. While programming can be complicated, this online resource is simple and straightforward, making it easy to get you started.

Stack Overflow is a community part of the Stack Exchange network. It focuses on giving information to developers of all skill levels. This site is used by programmers all over the world. If you have a question, you can expect to get it answered through this site.

Codecademy is an interactive site for aspiring programmers. The site provides access to a free program to build skills for web development. There are educational programs that teach you specific programming languages. The site also allows students to craft their curriculum and work at their pace.

Software Engineering Overview
Education PathsBootcamp certificate, bachelor's degree, or self learning.
Essential Technical SkillsSoftware testing and debugging, programming, object-oriented design, data structures and algorithms, web services and APIs
Essential Soft SkillsTeamwork, attention to detail, problem solving
Average Salary$98,500

Should You Study Software Engineering?

No matter what type of software engineer you want to be, Career Karma will help you find the right coding bootcamp. We’ll provide you with free mentorship, coaching, and access to a community of other aspiring software engineers who can help you along your way. We’ll also help you prepare for and get accepted to the top software engineering bootcamps. This way, you can learn everything you need to succeed in your new software engineering career!
There has never been a better time to become a software engineer. You can get started today!

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Check available Software Engineering courses

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  • Options for both in person and online bootcamps
  • Immersive and structured program
  • Mentors, instructors, and peers at your fingertips
  • Quick-start to a new career
  • Learn to collaborate with others
  • Build a strong professional network in technology


  • Requires motivation and hard work
  • Fast-paced learning style
  • Staying up to date with evolving web technologies

Apply to Software Engineer Bootcamps

Whether you’ve decided you’re ready to apply for a software engineer bootcamp or you still aren’t sure which coding program you want to attend, Career Karma can help. Our mentors are here to not only help you find the perfect coding bootcamp for you, but we will also help you every step of the way from the application process to supporting you with any questions or hiccups you run into while interviewing with multiple bootcamps.

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Answers to commonly asked questions

What’s the difference between a software engineer and a software developer?

Both job titles overlap heavily. Software developers create and maintain software, while software engineers create and maintain software while applying engineering principles. While both create software, a software engineer will consider the...

Can software engineers work from home?

Software engineers can work from home, and many do! Because of the digital nature of the job, all of the work can be done online remotely. It is important that software engineers that want to work from home become proficient in remote work...

Why do software engineers earn so much?

Software engineers are in high demand, but experienced software engineers can be hard to find. Digital business becomes more and more essential every day, to more and more businesses. Now nearly every business needs a website at minimum to...

Can I become a software engineer without a degree?

There are plenty of software engineers with successful careers that will tell you that you can. However, it should be noted that some hiring managers prefer software engineers with a degree, so those that hold one may find a job easier.