Guest Post: Fastest Ways to Become a Software Development Engineer in 2021

Today I am excited to share a guest post from Artur Meyster, CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. If you are looking for a new career in software development, this post has some tips to help you get started. Please also check out Career Karma, or get in touch with Artur for more advice (his contact information is at the end of this post).

Being a software development engineer is one of the most important and common jobs in the tech industry. Nearly every aspect of our everyday lives relies on an application which was built by software development engineers.

The smartphone alarm that wakes you up in the morning, the go-to mobile game that helps you kill time in between meetings, the social media app you use to keep in touch with family and friends – all of these were built by software development engineers.

If this is a career path that interests you, there are ways to break into the industry that do not require years of study, one of which is boot camps. There are also many schools offering fast-tracked learning programs online for those looking to master a programming language and become a software development engineer.

Let’s explore some options for you to jumpstart your career into becoming a software engineer as quickly as possible.

Learn to Code

To become a Software Engineer, you need to understand the principles of coding. Some coding languages are more used than others, such as JavaScript, Python and Ruby On Rails. You can start by learning the easiest programming languages and then work your way to the more difficult ones.

Once you get the hang of things, you can then look into attending a boot camp to refine your skills and ensure you have the knowledge needed to actually fulfil your duties in the professional world of software programming.

Attend a Bootcamp

Coding bootcamps are now viable alternative routes in place of a traditional college education. In a way, boot camps are intensive, short-term coding schools, which typically last less than one year. This means you can break into the tech industry as a software engineer within 12 to 18 months.

This is a much more practical option than attending four years of traditional college or university. Once you graduate from your coding boot camp, you’ll be prepared to start a career in tech.

Coding boot camp programs can be part-time or full-time. And as the tech industry grows, more companies will be hiring coding boot camp graduates to fill their ranks. This means many boot camp grads are highly likely to get lucrative careers.

Now let’s take a look at some of the skills you’ll need to master software development engineering right off the bat.

Essential Technical Skills for Software Engineers

There are a number of technical skills you’ll need to land the position of a software development engineer as quickly as possible.

Programming Languages

You’ll need to know at least one programming language to become a software development engineer. The language you’ll want to master will depend on the type of projects you’d like to work on in the future. That said, languages like Java, Python, C or Ruby are essential to many projects. If your motivation for becoming a software development engineer is because you love Apple products and their apps, you’ll want to know Swift or Objective-C.

Note from Cloudy Heaven Games: If you are interested in tips on how to study computer science and different programming languages, we have a short course available to help you.

Testing and Debugging

Once you learn some languages and enter a coding boot camp, you’ll need to know how to test and debug codes. Doing these will ensure the code functions as intended. You’ll need to know how to write and run tests to identify and fix bugs. Otherwise, your code is useless and your application will never get off the ground.

Note from Cloudy Heaven Games: If you’d like a guide to debugging, including a real-life debugging story, why not check out our Confident Programmer Debugging Guide?

Data and Algorithms

Algorithms play a key role in today’s applications, with many more now taking advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning. You’ll want to know how to sort and sift through data. While you’re at it, it would also be good to familiarize yourself with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Web Services and APIs

If you want to build apps which interact with web-based services and databases, you’ll need to know how to work with web technologies and use APIs to retrieve and amend data.


Software development engineers build and maintain the software we use every day. It is because of this that the demand for them is expected to continue growing, with experts estimating their ranks to increase by 21 percent by 2028.

As a software development engineer, you can command an impressive salary as well. The median salary in 2018 for software development engineers was $105,590 per year.

Get moving!

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech. 

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