How to Change Careers to Software Engineer: Three Paths for 2022
There’s never been a better time to get into the software industry.
Large tech companies like Google, Apple, and IBM have even announced they don’t require computer science degrees.
All it takes is determination and laser focus (and a passion for it of course).
For me it was 2016, I was working a dead-end job and somehow I started blogging and falling in love with CSS and websites and the rest is history. You can hear all about my story and how I inched my way into the industry here.
Things have changed, a little, because the industry has changed. You can still get in the way I got in (discussed below), but there are other routes that I think may be faster.
Again, it depends on your interests and what path you find most fulfilling.
So why 2022? Because you’ll want to spend at least 6 months learning to code and building up a solid portfolio to prove your competency. Do the math and that puts you into 2022.
Before we get started, if you prefer video, here you go.
Otherwise, continue reading.
So how do you get into a career as Software Engineer in 2022?
Here are three inroads into Software Development that you can shoot for next year (but get started now).
1. Cloud Administrator / DevOps
Now this is a new path that I’ve been pushing this year, especially with my own shift into DevOps.
Why? Well because 1.) The steps are very specific and to the point and 2.) There are only two things to nail down.
I used to feel like the “Web Developer” path was the only inroad for those without a coding background. However, due to the rise of cloud computing and high demand for cloud DevOps and Site Reliability Engineers I believe this could possibly be the fastest and most reliable route to take.
There are simply two steps involved:
Get AWS certified (or Azure or GCP). Here are the exact steps/tools to use. Start with the Solutions Architect Associate Certification. That’s the big first step. The next certs, Developer and SysOps, include the Solutions Architect material but with some more specific things you’ll need to know. Finally, you can shoot for the DevOps Professional, but that’s a hard one and not necessary at this stage.
Get at least the Solutions Architect Associate. It should take a couple of months, tops.
Learn Python well. Not Django or Flask. Python. Start scripting, start interacting with APIs, scraping, and working with files and file systems.
Write AWS Lambda functions. Create EC2 instances or pull IAM data with Python and boto3. While you are getting certified do all things Python. Push it all to Github to show off down the road.
I truly do believe the fastest path into the industry is with an AWS cert and ninja Python skills and to be honest, probably the path I would take today if I started over. I like web development, but I honestly haven’t done CSS or HTML in over a year aside from side projects.
I currently do DevOps in AWS and use Python a lot. It’s a thrilling industry automating all the things.
2. Traditional Web Developer (Front End)
This is the path I took and from 2016 to now was the best path in my opinion, hands down. The barrier to entry is low and the demand is high, still.
The options are wide also ranging from freelancer to agency work to a react developer at a 9-5 job.
The path generally looks like this:
Learn HTML. You can learn it in a week or two.
Learn CSS. This should take about 3-4 weeks. Don’t worry about advanced CSS, like animations.
JavasScript. You want to spend a couple months here really nailing this down. You also want to be sure that you are really comfortable with ES6.
Also start a simple WordPress blog at this point to write about your journey and what you are learning. Get started on Bluehost for only $2.95/month.
This really should be taking place during the above 4 steps, but you want to build up a nice portfolio. Something like:
- A Responsive Website. All you need is HTML and CSS.
- A React app like a bike rental app. Show off your knowledge of API CRUD actions if you can work it in.
- A more substantial React app like an E-commerce site using Firebase as a backend.
At this point all you need is confidence and perseverance. You’ll for sure feel imposter syndrome, but you’re as equipped as you need to be to start pushing into the industry.
Finally, I’ve seen a lot of success and demand for database administrators and analysts. Data is a HUGE industry today (#7 on this list).
SQL, database design, PostgreSQL, MySQL, Redis, etc. are your friends.
And one of the main reasons I added this to the list is because of your ability to easily freelance or consult as a Database expert. Skip the 9-to-5 and be your own success.
Josh Burns is one guy that comes to mind that has had crazy success on sites like Upwork as a DBA. Think about it… become the expert on databases and concern yourself with nothing else. Just market yourself as the guy or girl to go to for all things databases.
Here’s a recent video he released on how he makes $10,000 a month on Upwork as a DBA. It’s good stuff.
Again, changing careers and becoming a software engineer is a very realistic goal in 2022. Countless thousands have done it and either of the above three paths will you get you there.
Are you looking to change careers to a software developer in 2022? Are you taking one of the paths above? Let’s discuss down in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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