April 18, 2021

How to Become a Software Engineer Without Any Coding Experience

How to Become a Software Engineer Without Any Coding Experience

If you have been thinking about or considering switching careers and feel stuck because you don’t have a college degree, not to worry, there is hope. Read on to discover how the Holberton School in Tulsa Oklahoma is creating opportunities for those just like you.

Despite common misconceptions, it is possible to become a software engineer without a 4-year college degree. No programming experience is necessary to get started.

Is it worth it?

Whether you’re between jobs, re-entering the workforce, or stuck in a career you dislike, becoming a software developer is totally within your grasp—as long as you’re willing to put in the work. Is it worth it? According to O*NET (The O*NET Program is the nation’s primary source of occupational information), software developers have a median salary of $87,660 per year, making it one of the most lucrative technology careers.

For those seeking an upwardly mobile technology career path with a variety of professional opportunities, being a software engineer may be worth pursuing.

GeekWire’s Programming Job Gap

3 percent of college graduates studied computer science
Source: GeekWire

Career growth potential

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, projects a 21% growth rate in demand for software engineers (2018-28).  Meanwhile, the average growth for all occupations is 5 percent. This translates into 284,100 job openings. As technology increasingly shapes the way we live, programmers will be at the forefront our economy’s transformation. As society’s dependence on technology continues to grow, demand for programming skills is projected to outpace other professions.

Despite the abundance of opportunities, only 3% of college grads studied computer and information science, leaving a jobs gap for skilled programmers. GeekWire’s Programming Job Gap illustrates that in 2020 there were 1.4 million computing jobs versus the 400,000 CS students.  

Software Engineering can be an ideal career choice for those seeking professional growth, opportunity, and a flexible lifestyle. Now, the important part, how do you get the skills without sitting through four years of Computer Science classes? More importantly, how do you land one of these in-demand and highly paying careers? Read on to learn how the Holberton School in Tulsa changes the game.

What is a software engineer?

Software engineers use programming languages to develop software and applications.

Some engineers develop the technologies that websites run on, others develop applications for computers and smartphones, and some can even develop applications for household appliances like refrigerators and stoves.

Software engineer, software developer, what is the difference?

Is there a difference between a software engineer and a software developer? The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook does not make any distinction between these two job descriptions. The terms tend to be used interchangeably, and companies often view them as the same thing. Some technology companies, however, may distinguish between roles by function.

Do you need a college degree?

A traditional college degree has value and is a worthwhile experience for many. However, the traditional learning environment is often not the most ideal or convenient path to a career as a software engineer.

According to a survey conducted by Stack Overflow in 2018, “27% don’t have any degree at all.” Brainhub goes on to comment that “Google is one of them, extensively hiring in the USA for data security managers, product managers, etc., welcoming talents without education.”

To prove their position, many big companies have openly stated they don’t require a degree for certain jobs anymore.

Aspiring programmers and developers tend to start out by taking online courses, boot camps, workshops, and other short-term programs. These methods tend to be hyper-focused on one particular aspect of what it means to be a developer. For example, courses may focus on specific programming languages, workflow processes, or best practices. However, each of these are just one aspect of becoming a software engineer. There is so much more to learn, at least if you wish to embark on a professional technology career path. Learning a program language is akin to a carpenter only knowing how to use a hammer. Like a carpenter, each tool has its purpose and best ways to use it, and each project requires certain tools and expertise to get the job done.

How do you know if you are a good fit?

People who are interested in starting a technical career often show an interest or affinity for technology early on in both their personal and professional lives. The following list of characteristics is not indicative of aptitude but does play a key role in learning the skills needed to become a successful software engineer.

  • Analytical skills. The ability to collect and analyze information, problem-solve, and make decisions. Developers must use this ability to analyze a project’s goals based on the user’s needs and then design software to meet those needs.
  • Communication skills. Developers must be able to give and interpret instructions clearly while working on a project.
  • Creativity. This does not always mean artistic ability. Creativity often consists of clever ways to innovate, fix problems, and achieve goals.
  • Detail-oriented. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and must be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.
  • Interpersonal skills. Software developers must be able to work well with others who contribute to designing, developing, and programming successful software.
  • Problem-solving skills. Programmers use logic and imagination to make sense of a situations and come up with effective solutions. Because developers are involved in the software design process from beginning to end, they must be able to solve problems that arise throughout the design process.

These characteristics work well in just about any professional capacity and translate well into the role of a software engineer.

"Nothing worth doing is ever easy"
— Theodore Roosevelt

Is it hard to become a software engineer?

Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

Yes. So is becoming a chef, a teacher, a mechanic, etc. Any career worth pursuing is always challenging. On the path to becoming a professional, you will sometimes feel frustrated, overwhelmed, tired, and possibly even feel like quitting. These feelings are normal. Overcoming challenges makes you stronger. The key is to tackle it one small bit at a time. As you get comfortable, the tasks become easier. What you learn today becomes the foundation for tomorrow’s lessons. You don’t just learn; you build your skills.

We encourage aspiring software engineers to seek formal training. It can be tempting to rely on self-learning, but this can put you at a career disadvantage. Self-taught developers often miss critical concepts, leaving them with gaps in their professional knowledge.

Graduate Placement Assistance

Holberton School does not guarantee employment. The Career Development office assists graduates in obtaining employment in the fields for which they are trained. This continuous placement service is available to all Holberton graduates at no additional charge. Professional assistance is available on interview skills, resume writing and other job search techniques. Holberton assists graduates in networking with employers in their field and brings graduates and prospective employers together under favorable circumstances.

Where to begin

To become a software engineer you must understand that there are no shortcuts. No easy paths, no easy answers, and no one can do it for you. No feeling comes close to the sense of accomplishment one feels after learning something new. This is why Holberton doesn’t just change how you learn, but how you apply.

Unlike traditional schools that rely on entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT, Holberton uses an interactive application process that allows you to get a taste for what it means to be a software engineer. This hands-on application process proves your technical aptitude and demonstrates your determination to succeed. Don’t be afraid if you have no programming background. No experience is required. The application includes clear instructions and all tools you will need. If you have a logical mind for problem-solving, you can complete the Holberton application.  

Holberton’s selection process is based only on talent and motivation. We are not interested in your academic history, previous programming experience, or your ability to pay. If you possess curiosity, determination, and drive to succeed, then we want you as a student. There is no cost to apply. If interested, you can apply here.

Is it hard to become a software engineer?

Holberton Tulsa Student

Unlike traditional schools, we believe in taking an innovative approach to educating students for a career in software engineering. We focus on engaging our students using a project-based approach in a peer-learning environment. As a result, students will develop critical thinking, problem-solving skills, project management, time management, researching information, goal setting, and learn how to prioritize. This provides our graduates with the academic, cognitive, and professional skills necessary for career advancement.

Applying at Holberton is different

We don’t require grades, test scores, or essays. We value ambitious students with a problem-solving mindset.  The application process at Holberton takes about 4 weeks to complete and it is actually fun! It also allows you to get a feel for what classes will be like, access to support, and use what you learn to build projects. Don’t worry if you are a beginner! The application process gives you everything you need to succeed, even if you know nothing about programming. If you get stuck, there are resources to help you.

After you complete the application, you will feel confident in your ability to thrive in our project-oriented learning system. Completing the application demonstrates your determination and your aptitude. If becoming a software engineer is something you are serious about, you can apply here.

Tuition, even that is different

Holberton makes quality education more accessible by removing financial barriers to education. Our flexible payment options alleviate many common financial concerns for students. To learn about our financing options, including our Income Share Agreement works, contact us.

Source: ThisIsEngineering

Creating opportunities through partnerships

The City of Tulsa has partnered with organizations focused on funding startups and growing the city’s tech sector. One example is Atento Capital, a Tulsa-based investment firm focused on technology. Another key player is Tulsa Innovation Labs, which was founded to develop a city-wide strategy that positions Tulsa as a tech hub and leader in the future of work. TIL creates economic development programs that seek to make Tulsa the nation’s most inclusive tech community. We are constantly creating connections with new companies to provide a continuing source of opportunities for our students, graduates, and the communities we serve.

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