By Marsha Austin For Hack Reactor
Software engineers are their own breed of funky, fun, brilliant, and humble-yet-massively-self-confident. They are some of the most insatiably curious problem-solvers on the planet; like overgrown toddlers on a mission to make our world a better place, at least our digital world, anyway.
Best of all, software engineers revel in their own quirkiness, says Kevin Kirkpatrick, Senior Software Engineer, OpenStack DevOps at Time Warner Cable.
Software engineers emerge from coding boot camps, and dank basements riddled with Mountain Dew cans, capable of tackling unique and unfamiliar problems, building complex applications, and slaying system bugs like a pro. They make our lives better, even when most of us are completely oblivious to their behind the scenes magic.
“Understanding how software is written, and what it does, affects massively how you look at the world,” says David Vollmar, staff engineer at Twitter. “I wish more people would get a basic understanding, because it has so many implications: National security, privacy, public discourse, social media.”
If using your mad analytical skills to save the world with code excites you, you could be on the path to becoming a software engineer. We probed the brains of some seasoned industry veterans to help you find out.
9 Signs You Might Be a Software Engineer:
You love creating new worlds using your problem-solving skills, coding acumen, and abstract thinking.
Your preferred social habit is to hibernate like a lone wolf. But your confidence and insatiable curiosity inevitably draw you into the company of others, and you get juiced generating results as part of a team.
Where other people use pencil and paper to create a to-do list, you write software that maintains the to-do list, syncs with your apple watch and your phone, and when you are done six months later, you forgot what you wanted to put on the to-do list in the first place.
You are not confused by software that behaves in a weird way, because you kind of understand how the software ended up there.
You groan continuously during movies when programmers are portrayed because it is all so silly. You’ve seen Office Space and Silicon Valley more times than you can count.
Your passwords are very complex, very long, and you never re-use a password.
You really do not trust that our voting machines are secured from hacking.
You’ve got the Eagle-Mouse vision thing down. Even though you’re working in the nitty-gritty day-to-day of code, you thrive on being a part of big-picture solutions for the company you work for. You crave context for the system you’re working on, and if you don’t get it, you always ask “why?”
You dislike meetings more than anyone else.
If this sounds like you, the good news is that demand for software engineers is among the highest of any industry, and software development is often rated as one of the best jobs in the country.
Software development typically provides an excellent work-life balance allowing the ability to work remote, on evenings, or weekends if needed. And, the pay rates for software developers are often higher than other industries, according to Ryan Cosyns, a senior software engineer and president at Boulder Valley Consulting.
Lastly, don’t be afraid of the technical aspects of the profession, says Cosyns.
“The perception that software development is too difficult for most people is a bit off base,” he says. “Newer and easier to use tools combined with a wealth of information on the internet have reduced the learning curve in software development significantly.”
Coding boot camps can be a great place to dive in. So what are you waiting for?