How to become a Software Engineer

Overview, Courses, Exam, Colleges, Pathways, Salary

Engineering & technology


Who is Software Engineer ?

With the increasing popularity and the recent boom in the advancement of technology, jobs in the field of software engineering are widely sought after.  Software engineering comes under the broad branch of engineering which uses scientific, mathematical and computational principles to design, develop, maintain computer software. This job primarily involves designing, coding computer software programs and operating systems as well as debugging and optimizing them to be efficient, feasible, and user-friendly. They are responsible for the entire lifecycle of the software, from the initial conceptualization phase to its delivery.  The maintenance of the software also comes under the purview of the software engineer.  A software engineer can specialise in areas such as database management, web development, system designing, artificial intelligence, system testing, machine learning, software development to name a few.

Here are the general steps to becoming a software engineer:

1. Educational Qualifications: 

Obtain a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Some software engineers may also have electrical engineering, computer engineering, or information technology degrees.

2. Programming Skills Development:

 Learn programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, or JavaScript, depending on your area of interest.

 Familiarize yourself with software development methodologies like Agile or Scrum.

  Develop skills in software testing, debugging, and troubleshooting.

3. Personal Projects and Side Projects:

Work on personal coding projects or contribute to open-source projects to gain practical experience and build a portfolio.

4. Internships and Co-op Programs:

Seek internships or co-op programs with tech companies or software development teams to gain real-world experience.

5. Advanced Education (Optional):

Pursue a master's degree or specialized certifications to enhance your skills and knowledge in specific areas of software engineering.

6. Job Search:

Apply for entry-level software engineering positions in companies or organizations that align with your career goals.

7. Continuous Learning and Skill Enhancement:

  Stay updated with the latest developments and trends in software engineering by participating in training, workshops, and industry events.

   Continuously improve your coding skills and explore new technologies and tools.

8. Networking and Professional Development:

Build a professional network by connecting with software engineers, attending tech conferences, and participating in online forums and communities.

9. Soft Skills Development:

Enhance your communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills, which are crucial for collaborating effectively in software development teams.

10. Career Growth and Specialization:

As you gain experience, consider specializing in a specific area of software engineering, such as mobile app development, web development, data science, or artificial intelligence.

Typical day at work

What does Software Engineer do?

Depending on the educational background, experience, skill sets and area of specialization,  a software engineer's tasks for the job may differ. However, their role typically comprises of the following responsibilities: 

  • To evaluate and analyze user requirements to guide the creation of technical specifications of the product
  • To code the software program using complex programming languages such as JAVA, C++, Python, while refining and writing it as necessary
  • To write the technical specifications of the products
  • To test new software and investigate new technologies to integrate with the existing programs compatibly 
  • To modify and improve existing software and correct any software defects
  • To write the operational documentation of the process in order to communicate, record, and monitor the development of the product as well as to demonstrate solutions
  • To create software solutions in accordance with the client's needs and specifications
  • To run the testing and debugging processes to check for any errors as well as areas for improvement in existing software
  • To coordinate with the clients and the team comprising of project managers, sales and marketing professionals as well as graphic artists, systems analysts -  and gain feedback about the performance of the product
  • To continually work towards updating their knowledge and skills to keep up with the emerging technological advancements.

Abilities and Aptitude needed

What are the skills, abilities & aptitude needed to become Software Engineer?

Along with academic knowledge, getting on-the-ground experience that strengthens the aspirant's grasp of the subject is always an additional benefit in any given sector. It is highly encouraged to take up an internship and gain exposure to the latest software and hardware tools, methodologies and technology and become fluent with industrial standards. Internships may be obtained while students are still in school and even after graduation. Many educational boards have made it necessary for students to participate in at least one internship throughout their degree programme in order to better prepare them for real-world competency.


Salary for Software Engineer?

A Software Engineer's minimum and maximum monthly salary in India can vary based on several factors, including experience, skill level, location, industry demand, employer size, and specific roles and responsibilities. 

  • Minimum Salary: The minimum monthly salary for a Software Engineer in India typically ranges from Rs.20,000 to Rs.40,000. This range often applies to entry-level positions or those with limited experience working in smaller organizations.
  • Maximum Salary: The maximum monthly salary for a Software Engineer in India can range from Rs.50,000 to Rs.1,50,000 or higher. This higher salary range is usually offered to experienced professionals with advanced skills, specialized expertise, managerial responsibilities, and working in larger organizations or high-demand industries.
  • Highest Paying Jobs and Scope: The highest-paying jobs for Software Engineers in India are typically found in multinational IT companies, large technology firms, and product-based companies. Senior positions such as Technical Architects, Engineering Managers, and specialized roles in emerging technologies like AI, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, and Big Data can offer higher salaries. The scope for Software Engineers in India is promising as the country continues to be a hub for software development and IT services. Industries such as IT, e-commerce, finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and technology startups offer significant opportunities for professionals in this field.

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How to become an Software Engineer?

Entrance Exam

Entrance Exam for Software Engineer ?

In order to enrol into a Bachelor’s program at an esteemed university, aspirants are expected to clear the JEE main and subsequently, the JEE Advance exam which makes the aspirant eligible to apply anywhere in India. It is a very difficult and challenging exam to crack that requires hard work as well as rigorous and consistent preparation. Some states have their own entrance exams that are admissible in their respective universities. Many educational institutes conduct their own entrance tests.  


Which course I can pursue?


Which Industries are open for Software Engineer?

Depending on one’s educational background, experience, and skillsets, aspirants may apply for the following software engineering jobs:

  • Software test engineers
  • Software Technicians
  • Software research engineers
  • Software Programmers
  • Maintenance Engineers
  • Applications developer
  • Database administrator
  • Game developer


Are there internships available for Software Engineer?

  1. Tech Companies: Major technology companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon, offer internships for software engineers to work on cutting-edge projects and technologies.
  2. Software Development Companies: Many software development companies and startups offer internships for software engineers to contribute to software design, development, and testing.
  3. Financial Institutions: Banks and financial institutions often seek software engineering interns to work on projects related to financial software, data analysis, and security.
  4. Healthcare Industry: Healthcare organizations may offer internships for software engineers to work on medical software, health informatics, or healthcare data systems.
  5. Automotive Industry: Car manufacturers and automotive technology companies may have internships focusing on software development for autonomous vehicles and vehicle connectivity.
  6. Gaming and Entertainment: Gaming companies and entertainment studios offer internships for software engineers to work on game development and virtual reality projects.
  7. Government Agencies: Government departments and agencies may have internships for software engineers to work on government software systems and technology initiatives.
  8. Research Institutions: Software engineers can intern at research institutions to contribute to projects in fields like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science.
  9. E-commerce Companies: E-commerce platforms often seek software engineering interns to work on website development, user experience, and backend systems.
  10. Social Media Companies: Social media platforms may offer internships for software engineers to work on app development, algorithm optimization, and user interface enhancements.

Career outlook

What does the future look like for Software Engineer?

With more and more of the workforce now turning tech-centric, the demand for software engineers is rapidly increasing. One of the reasons for the popularity of software engineering is the ability of these professionals to find opportunities in a wide variety of industries since its application is not limited solely to one. For example, Specialist IT firms, the Manufacturing industry, Financial Services, Public utilities etc to name a few. It is also one of the most important industries for today's economy. They generally work a 9 to 5 job, usually as a part of a team, spending most of their time at the keyboard. Another perk of this job is that one could work remotely as well, offering more flexibility to the employee. Apart from the high employability opportunities, this job also allows an individual to earn rewarding salaries in compensation for their work. Software engineers can also work as freelancers or take up contractual work. They typically work with companies across a range of sectors like IT firms, financial services, healthcare, public utilities as well as manufacturing companies.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is needed to become a software engineer?

Answer: To become a software engineer, you typically need a strong educational foundation in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. A bachelor's degree is usually the minimum requirement, although some employers may accept candidates with relevant experience or associate degrees. Key skills needed include programming languages (e.g., Java, Python, C++), problem-solving abilities, analytical thinking, and a passion for technology.

2. What should I take after 12th to become a software engineer?

Answer: After completing 12th grade, you should pursue a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, or related fields. Several universities and colleges offer undergraduate programs specifically designed for aspiring software engineers.

3. How many years does it take to become a software engineer?

Answer: The time it takes to become a software engineer depends on your chosen educational path. Generally, a bachelor's degree takes about 4 years to complete. Some accelerated programs or associate degrees may take around 2 to 3 years. However, gaining proficiency in programming languages and relevant experience may extend the timeline.

4: How do I start my career in software engineering?

Answer: To start your career in software engineering, follow these steps: a. Earn a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field. b. Focus on learning programming languages and software development concepts. c. Work on personal coding projects to build a portfolio. d. Participate in internships or work on open-source projects to gain practical experience. e. Network with professionals in the industry and attend tech-related events. f. Customize your resume to highlight your skills and experiences relevant to software engineering. g. Apply for entry-level software engineering positions and attend job interviews.

5. What is a software engineer's salary?

Answer: The salary of a software engineer can vary depending on factors such as location, experience, education, and the specific industry or company. Generally, software engineers are well-compensated compared to many other professions. As of my last knowledge update in September 2021, the average salary for a software engineer in the United States was around $100,000 to $120,000 annually. However, this figure may have changed over time, so checking more recent data for the most accurate information is essential.