10 Reasons to Become a Software Engineer
Have you thought about joining the software industry? It’s booming. Everything uses software in some capacity, and the number of niches within the field is also expanding.
With average pay > $90k and so many choices of industries and fields to work, now is a better time than ever to become a software engineer.
Interested in finances? They use software. Interested in games? That’s obviously software. Care about art and music? Photoshop and ProTools are both software applications.
Quite literally, you could indirectly learn information about most other industries you’re interested in by developing software for it. And you’ll earn a pretty penny doing it as well.
But if that’s not enough, here are 10 additional reasons you should consider becoming a software engineer.
The job outlook from 2016–2026 shows a 24% growth. To take this into perspective, the average growth rate for all occupations is only 7%. So the software engineering field is growing more than 3x faster than average.
Now, you might lose your job if you work for a startup that fails — but the thing about software is that your career has excellent mobility. Your software skills are useful at tons of other companies, even if they don’t necessarily use the same tools.
Everything uses software. The fear of never getting a job? It’s nonexistent, as long as you know your stuff and can interview well.
Of course, this depends on which company you work for. But if you’re working any job where someone is micromanaging you, you should get out.
In many software companies, especially newer, more progressive ones, software engineers are given free reign to solve problems as they see fit. That’s not to say it’s free-for-all; good companies have documentation. Frameworks. Expectations, metrics, etc.
You’ll likely be working on a specific task, ticket, or feature given to you as determined by the project manager.
But you’re trusted to solve your problems and complete your tasks. Nobody breathes down your neck — they’ll give direct feedback to you when it’s time for code review.
Well, maybe. I can’t promise this because like any other job, there’s a bunch of sh*twork you have to do for software engineering too.
Sometimes you’re stuck just writing tests. Sometimes you’re stuck fixing stupid bugs. If you’re with a bad company you’ll be stuck on a lot of pointless meetings. Documentation. Reports and spreadsheets.
And sometimes you’re called at 2AM because everything’s on fire.
But the sweetest moments come in-between the above. When you’re in the zone, when you’re debugging your code and you figure out what the issue is, and when you run your tests and they all pass, you feel powerful. You feel pride.
You feel a sense of accomplishment few other jobs give as frequently as software engineering does. And depending who you work for, you’ll feel it - while writing the next big app or creating state-of-the-art software.
Have an interesting idea for an app? Imagine being able to just sit down and create it.
That’s a powerful capability. No longer are you stuck just wondering what could be and what if. Just sit down and write the application. Sooner or later, you’ll find out if it was worth it.
Just look at that chart above. $92k/year average. How many different disciplines do you know where you could enter straight out of college and be earning at least $65k/year?
The average senior-level schoolteacher (meaning 5+ years of work) earns that much, according to Google. Now, whether teachers earn enough money or not is a different discussion. But you can see what I mean when I say the software gig is pretty sweet, right?
Unlike many other jobs, you can work remotely as a software engineer. This means you’re no longer confined to working for companies in the area or relocating for a job — you can work for practically any company around the world who hires remote workers.
This also means, among various things, several other perks:
- No time or money wasted on commuting
- Your own working conditions and environment (your home, coworking space, or other)
- Flexibility — if you need to run an errand or go to the doctor or something, you can just go
Compared to the traditional office job, you’re given the space and flexibility to do work as you see fit. The only thing that matters is that you deliver work on time.
Caveat: Be sure to set boundaries. When you’re working remote, it’s easy to let your “work” bleed into the rest of your life. This includes answering work emails or doing work during off-hours.
The tech community has a particular…fetish? It’s called conferences.
When particular companies or software apps become well-known and widely accepted in industry, conferences and conventions surrounding them pop up everywhere.
Take, for example, the various conferences that have happened or are coming up later this year:
- KubeCon (centered around Kubernetes)
- GopherCon (centered around Go, the language)
- DockerCon (Docker)
- AWS re:Invent (AWS)
- …and so on.
Companies shell out money to sponsor these events in exchange for booths where they can freely advertise and sell to all attendees on the convention floor.
And notorious at these conventions is the swag. We’re talking raffles for Nintendo Switch consoles, Bose headphones, t-shirts, socks, coffee mugs… you name it.
As an employee, you can usually get your company to pay you to go to these conferences. It’s an opportunity to learn, travel and network with various people on company dollar. Super awesome.
If you’re a consultant or a sales engineer, you’ll also often get the opportunity to travel to client sites for work. It’s a great field to work in for travel.
Whereas most industries have taken several years to change and shift landscapes, companies in tech, and especially software, can sometimes make huge waves in only a few years, even just one.
For example, in only a few short years, Slack saw a meteoric rise and has become a de facto chat app standard in the software industry.
SwanLeap is another example of a company that has made massive headway in only a few years, stealing market share in the freight industry.
Would you be interested in working at a company making this kind of meteoric rise? If you’re one of the first employees, usually you receive some compensation in the form of stocks or shares — it’s why so many software engineers like startups, among other reasons. There are some lucky 22-year olds who’ve joined startups that went public and gained hundreds of thousands of dollars from their stocks.
Furthermore, because new software apps are pumped out every week, you get the chance to learn a huge variety of tools and languages — it keeps your work fresh and not boring.
Software has, from what I’ve seen, one of the most mobile career trajectories I’ve seen in any field.
Obviously, you could be a software engineer and just spend your whole life writing code. You enter as a Jr. or entry-level engineer, and progress through multiple levels/stages until you reach senior, staff, and principal levels.
But with software, you don’t just need people who write it. You need people to:
- Manage the engineers
- Design the applications
- Lead the projects and efforts
- Do sales and lead discussions with clients
- Test and do quality control
- Maintain and monitor the application
- Develop tools for and enable engineers within the company
- Advocate and educate other developers in the industry
- …and various other roles
You don’t just have to write software — you can steadily progress to other jobs or departments surrounding software as well when you have strong knowledge of the software development process. It’s incredible career mobility and flexibility!
Another unique thing to come out of the software industry is the concept of competitions. This may come in the form of “code challenges” or “hackathons.”
Sometimes you’re working in teams for multiple months to design projects based on some prompt for a chance at internships, jobs, or thousands of dollars cash prize.
Sometimes you’re working alone and racing against others to come up with the fastest solution in 30 minutes.
Whichever it is, there is plenty of opportunity to participate in coding challenges either online or at various places in the world, depending on who is hosting them.
You could win fabulous prizes, or even the chance to get funding for your project. Truly, it’s an opportunity to race to new heights, and all you need to participate is your skill and brain.
Between all of the perks and advantages, becoming a software engineer is a fantastic way to spend (or start) your professional life.
It pays well, there’s a lot of job satisfaction if you choose your roles and companies well, and you’ll have opportunities to learn and explore many things you wouldn’t get the chance to see in other industries.
Interested? The Static Void Academy is doing work to create one of the best online coding schools. We’re not just a collection of courses and how-tos: we’re a complete roadmap to helping you break into the industry as a top candidate.
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