As a software engineering college student, i am confused with my career.
August 14, 2008 6:51am CST
i have studied in college for a whole year and selected software engineering as my speciality. With a year of hard-working learning, i am interested in this field and do my best to study. i participated in some coding contests like acm/icpc, Topcoder, google code jam and so on, and made great progress. Although i do well in college, i have some questions about my future career. I heard that as a software designer, you can only work about 10 years on this job. After that you should quit and find other jobs, because you are too old. Is it true? And can you tell me something about this career? i am so confused, thanks.
15 Aug 08
Don't be confused. You can work as a software engineer all your life, and that's a promise. You just have to choose who and where to work. I've never experienced joining in contests, so I can see that you really are the man. And software engineering is a very complex subject so congratulations for pursuing that. I know people that has been working long enough for a software engineer, like 15 years already. And even though I've been wanting to become one before, I shifted and now focuses on being in the game development industry. With software engineering, you will design the infrastructure of new technologies. You'll code, yes, but more than that you'll design the software in terms of efficiency, user-friendliness, and other stuffs that is underlying in many programs. Like in Windows, you just use it, but the framework behind it usually we have no idea of. That's where software engineers comes, in the true essence of the profession. So if you're the guy who is much concerned with let's say the runtime of the program or the efficiency, you should be one. If you like coding you should be a programmer. Remember that in any field a software engineer can work, but it's not necessary for the engineer to be also the coder. I'm seeing a lot of those lately, but applying for a software engineering job doesn't mean you have to do the codes all the time, or check the bugs. Yeah, others can say "no you're wrong we do the coding ourselves" but then I'm saying it in a general sense. I have a friend who got a job of programmer, but they're not the engineers themselves, they only do the codes and then let those engineers evaluate it. Kind of like that. Anyways my tip for you is don't be confused, because in any instance in the IT industry you can use those software engineer skills you have. Don't be afraid to lose a job, just keep yourself updated because technology is fast-paced, so you have to be keeping up with the current trend. Also, it's not necessary to know all of it, you just have to be updated. Look at .Net, it's the new technology that's making PHP look so obsolete, but then PHP programmers here are getting paid with double or even triple digits, because not everyone can cope with the new technology. And lastly, you should love what you're doing. Because if you don't, you'll get bored. If you want to build new technologies, you can be a software engineer. If you want to do codes, you can be a programmer and still incorporate those engineering skills. If you want to be a debugger or tester, there's still software engineering there. You won't lose your job. Besides, other prefers new graduates or younger ones just because they get to study the latest, but then other companies wants those with a good portfolio and resume. So continue on and keep studying. Keep at it and don't go slacking, because I can tell you, slacking won't get you to a job. You know I did, and I'm still a big bum. Sorry for the lengthy reply, hope you get something from it.
15 Aug 08
Thanks for your detailed explanation. i learn something from you that i never know before. As you say they are many opportunities for me to fight for. Althogh i am not sure what job i will get, i learn that i should work harder. There are many technology in this field and even when i get a job, i also need to learn the new technology. Through your replying, i have a sense of what this career may be. Thanks again for your advice. Best Wishes to you!
15 Aug 08
I'm just giving you an idea. It may not be exact, but at least you get the idea. Anyways if you ever get past something about game development, please let me know. Man I'm obsessed with it, if not only for this slow computer of mine I would create stuffs already. Thanks for the comment man.
• United States
14 Aug 08
I've never heard that before and I've been in the computer technology field for over 15 years, part of them employed in the college community. I think that you are going to have to keep your skills current as new code is developed or upgraded all of the time but there's no reason why you wouldn't be able to do that. It doesn't always require that you take a formal class...I taught myself some programming languages back in the day after buying a book on the subject. The most important thing is that you're doing something that interests you and that inspires you to get out of bed and go to work every morning.
• United States
14 Aug 08
I wish you a lot of luck with your career. I have worked in different areas of the computer technology area, only because I beame bored with programming fairly quickly and other opportunities came my way, but the one common thread in everything that I have done career-wise, has been keeping current on what's going on in your industry.