Career Change: How I become a Software Engineer without a CS Degree 📈

Hilman Ahmad
TornadoByte
Published in
3 min readJun 14, 2023

--

Photo by Kevin Ku on Unsplash

After completing my bachelor’s degree in physics, I felt lost and uncertain about my future. In an attempt to find my calling, I made another series of misguided decisions and ended up pursuing a Master’s degree in electrical engineering. Feeling confused and unsure about my next move, I unexpectedly reunited with old friends from our school days. Little did I know that this chance meeting would set in motion a series of events that would change my life. It became a remarkable journey of self-discovery and transformation that I never could have anticipated.

Hidden ‘blessing’ decision

When I reconnected with my friends, one of whom happened to be an experienced software engineer, they generously shared valuable advice on potential career paths I could explore. Surprisingly, my decision to pursue a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering, which I initially considered a mistake, turned out to be a hidden blessing. It led me to discover the world of coding. Motivated by this newfound interest, I embarked on a self-taught journey, starting with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. As I dived deeper into web development, I learned about the Angular framework to recreate the web application of the Golden Screen Cinema (GSC) ticketing system.

Rejection

After wrapping up the experimental phase of my Master’s degree, I returned to my hometown, fully dedicated to writing my Master’s thesis. At the same time, I eagerly sought out software engineering job prospects, only to encounter disheartening setbacks in the form of repeated rejections due to my lack of a computer science background. Undeterred, I embarked on a new path within the oil and gas industry by day while devoting my nights to relentless learning and coding. To bolster my chances, I tirelessly worked on various mock projects to build a robust portfolio.

Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

COVID-19

In early 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about major disruptions in my life. Due to the circumstances, my factory had no choice but to implement unpaid leave for 80% of its staff, including myself. With newfound free time during the day and night, I embraced the opportunity to fully immerse myself in coding practise. I devoted up to 16 hours each day to learning and honing my skills while building an impressive portfolio through various mock projects. The transition to online interviews made the job application process more accessible, and after persevering through numerous interviews, I was ecstatic to receive a job offer from a telecommunications company. This moment marked a significant milestone in my personal and professional journey, filling me with genuine happiness and a profound sense of excitement for the future.

Photo by Jukan Tateisi on Unsplash

Message

The IT industry is currently experiencing high demand, and many individuals are eager to transition into this field but often lack a clear path forward. To address this, I recommend visiting the website https://roadmap.sh/, where you can explore different career plans. Personally, I suggest starting with front-end development as it offers a tangible visual output, unlike back-end development, where you primarily work on code, APIs, and data handling without immediate website visualisation. Once you’ve chosen a skill, such as front-end development, you can further specialise by selecting a framework like Angular, React, or Vue. From there, it’s crucial to focus on one stack and put in the hard work to master it.

When it comes to learning, there are numerous free resources available. Platforms like Udemy, Coursera, and YouTube offer a wide range of educational materials. However, it’s essential to maintain focus and concentrate on learning one thing at a time. Rather than trying to absorb multiple subjects simultaneously, prioritise one specific area of interest and dedicate your efforts to mastering it. This focused approach will allow for deeper understanding and better retention of the subject matter.

Good luck in your career! 🚀

--

--