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How to Become a Software Engineer Without a CS Degree?

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Are you the one who’s interested in becoming a Software Engineer but don’t have a CS degree? Don’t Worry! Nothing can become a hurdle if you’re determined to achieve your goal. Certainly, Software Engineers are one of the highest-paid professionals and only require hands-on experience in programming even if you don’t have a CS degree. The Software Engineering profession is expected to grow by 24% till 2026 which is the highest growth rate comparatively. 


With the hike in technological advancements which is going to be forever, Software Engineers are in huge demand. It’s never too late to opt for a change in career unless you have confidence in yourself and the determination to achieve it. If you are someone who has a completely different background from CS, here’s a detailed summary of How to Become a Software Engineer Without a CS Degree? But first, let’s understand who is a Software Engineer.

Who is a Software Engineer?

Software Engineers are skilled IT professionals responsible for designing, creating, and developing computer programs or software. They have an in-depth knowledge of programming languages like Python, C, C++, Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and many more. Typically, they pursue a bachelor’s degree in computer science or IT field, however, there are other options as well if you want to become a software engineer. They help organizations with product development. 

This profession has opened doors of possibilities for various positions. For every product, be it an app, operating system, or any software product, there are blocks of code written behind it by software engineers. As mentioned earlier, there are various positions in the software engineering domain, ultimately you have to decide the kind of software engineer you want to become. You get various benefits or perks as a software engineer such as a high salary, collaborative work, remote work, health insurance, leaves, and many more. 

Step-By-Step Guide to Become a Software Engineer

1. Start With Getting Basic Knowledge of the Computer

No matter whether you have a CS degree or not, you can become a software engineer. And to become one, you must have basic knowledge of computers like how it works, how to connect Internet, short commands on keyboards (like Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, Ctrl+X, etc), and many more. You should know about CPU, RAM, ROM, and its internal and external memory units. When you begin software engineer as a profession, a general idea of working on a computer system is much needed. Because when you know how a system works, then only you can work on it. When you know how memory allocations, and working on operating systems takes place, you get a clear idea, and then you can efficiently work on computer programs. You must also understand how a machine converts high-level language into low-level language or machine-understandable format in 0’s and 1’s using a compiler. The whole process of converting a code into machine understandable format should be understood very well.

2. Self-Study is the Best Option

Self Study is the best option. When you study all alone, you get focused on the work as it avoids chaos and confusion. Prepare a schedule for each day and divide your work into hours, and take a 5-minute break after every 2 hours to prevent yourself from any kind of mental and physical issues. Well said, “Too many cooks spoil the broth”, same as too many studies spoil the brain. Self-studying individuals who learn to program are termed “Self-Taught Programmers”. Benefits Self-Taught Programmers have are – developing curiosity, encouraging confidence, building decision-making ability, and the best one being the comfort of learning at your own pace. 

If you’re ready to become a self-taught programmer and looking for methods to follow, read 7 Best Learning Methods for Self Taught Developers. Also, read Why You Should Become a Self-Taught Programmer? If you still have any doubts you can also read 100 Days of Code to bound yourself within the time frame of learning a programming language. 

3. Choosing the Right Programming Language

Indeed, there are a plethora of programming languages for developers which creates confusion among those who have stepped into the programming world recently. It’s you who has to decide which one to choose and continue working on it. Some of the popular programming languages are Python, C, C++, Java, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc. According to Stack Overflow, after JavaScript (being 67.7%), Python is the second-most preferred language which is used by 44.1% of developers. But again, it depends on you which language you’re comfortable working with. You can also start with C, or any other programming language you feel the best. Choosing a particular language also depends on the domain you choose. 

For example, if you choose web development, JavaScript or Python would be the best choice, if you choose business development, Java would be the best option, if you choose Big Data as your career profession, SQL would be the best choice, and thereafter the domain you choose should be compatible with the programming language you want to work on. To solve the problems, you need a platform where you can program your code and that’s where IDE comes into the picture. You can solve problems using GFG IDE

4. Exploring OOPS Concepts in Your Programs

When you can genuinely rate yourself 4 out of 5 in solving coding problems, you should explore OOPS concepts that allow you to divide a problem into chunks that can be further solved easily and ultimately result in greater productivity and better quality of software being implemented.

Using OOPS Concepts brings an evolutionary development in software engineering. It is said that if you’re not very well aware of OOPS concepts, you’re not a proficient software engineer. The four basic concepts of OOPS are – Encapsulation, Abstraction, Inheritance, and Polymorphism. These concepts apply to all programming languages and again it’s up to you which one to choose. The technique it uses of allowing users to create objects and then create methods to handle those objects makes it an efficient way of solving problems. 

5. Solving Complex Problems Using DSA

So, now that you have crossed the intermediate level of coding, it’s time to solve complex problems which can only be solved using DSA (Data Structures and Algorithms). Using DSA in your solution lets you solve complex problems and lets it pass all test cases. It helps in resulting in an optimized solution by working on its time and space complexity. It performs operations on multiple criteria and works on requests, processor speed, and data. 

Data Structures lets you organize data in a particular order so that it can be searched instantly whenever needed. Algorithms are a set of procedures to follow one by one for solving a problem to get the expected result. Various DSA concepts are – Stack, Queue, Linked List, Hash, Heap, Tree, Searching, and Sorting. Work on Dynamic Programming to be proficient in software development. 

Here’s Why Data Structures and Algorithms are Important to Learn?

6. Work with DBMS

Do I need to work on SQL if I want to become a Software Engineer? It’s a Yes. You should know how to handle data while working with the software. You can start working on Database Management System when you’re all done with solving problems using DSA and OOPS concepts. Websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram generate lots of data daily, this is where data handling is required. SQL (Structured Query Language) is the best programming language that is used to communicate with relational databases.

You need SQL to get data from a relational database and enter it into a web application. You should also read about ACID properties which work on ensuring the consistency and integrity of data to save data from theft issues. Start by solving queries of tables using SQL to fetch, update and manipulate data.

7. Exploring Git

When you’re done with solving problems be they easy or complex, try working on building applications. Building applications on your own gives you self-confidence and you become industry-ready. Also, after building applications, you can upload them to Git (a tool for source code management) from where anyone can track the changes made. The repositories made in Git help developers collaborate with other developers. Using Git gives you professional experience and makes you industry-ready. Be it tech giants or startups, many organizations use Git to upload their project and gives access to freelance developers to add new features and come up with an advanced application. 

8. Practice As Many Problems As Possible

“Practice Makes a Human Perfect”. Practice problems as many as possible. Try to solve challenging and complex problems so that you get proficient in them. When you see a question, try to understand it in layman’s terms, break it into blocks and then try solving it step-by-step. Breaking the question into parts makes it look easy and short and you tend to solve them easily and quickly.

I am attaching the best resource to practice Coding questions

Roles and Responsibilities of a Software Engineer

  1. Creates, Designs, and Builds Software
  2. Handles Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
  3. Fixes bugs and all kinds of issues related to software
  4. Works on client’s feedback
  5. Innovate Ideas and work on it
  6. Deploying programs to see live projects working
  7. Works on adding new functional features and technical specifications in the application
  8. Programs with well-structured and efficient code
  9. Planning and Project Management
  10. Monitors and maintains the performance of the system

How to Prepare for an Interview to Become a Software Engineer?

Even if you don’t have a CS degree, it’s completely fine, You can still crack interviews with these few basic steps. There are mostly 3 rounds of interviews conducted for any IT-Based company. They are Aptitude & English (MCQs), Technical Interview, and HR Interview round. 

  1. The first round of Aptitude & English (MCQs), checks your grammar, problem-solving, and logic-building skills. 
  2. The second round of Technical mainly comprises a one-on-one interview where after a self-introduction, technical questions related to DBMS, OOPS, and DSA are asked. 
  3. The third round consists of HR where general questions are asked about self-introduction, strengths, and weaknesses, and it is all about checking your confidence level.
  4. The Most Often Neglected Topic that most of freshers miss is the importance of System Design Rounds. So it is very Important that you are through with the design principles and designing the entire distributed system.
  5. Apart from these rounds if you are applying for international positions, you need to be very thorough with the Company’s Values and Principles as there will be a separate round where you will be tested whether you are a fit for the company’s work culture.

When you clear one round then only you’re allowed to move forward. Ultimately, when all rounds are cleared, you get an offer to join the company, and then you can tag yourself with “Software Engineer”. Here’s a list of Interview Experiences of Product-Based Companies. You can also read tips for Interview Preparation for Software Developers.

These were the steps you need to follow to become a Software Engineer without holding a CS degree. There are no boundaries to your dreams if you aspire to dream big. You don’t need a CS degree and don’t have to spend lakhs of rupees on learning technical terms related to Software Engineering. It’s not easy to become a software engineer without a CS degree, but you’ll find it worthy and meaningful later. You just need the willpower to learn and perform the best. So work hard, stay determined and turn your dream into reality.

Last Updated : 03 Jun, 2022
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