Software engineering is still one of the most in-demand skills in a number of industries, and its importance will only grow as the appetite for digital transformation increases. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor projects that between 2018 and 2028, the field of software engineering will grow by 13%, much greater than the average for all occupations. As mobile devices and emerging technology continue to grow in popularity, the demand for web developers will also rise.

If you’re interested in becoming a software engineer, now is the time to get in on the action. Below is some additional information about the field. We’ll look at Practicum, an online tech bootcamp with a new approach to learning how to code. Then we’ll discuss the importance of mentorship, community support, social interaction, and practice.

What should a beginning software engineer know?

Typically, software engineers are responsible for making websites work. They create sites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, make user interfaces with React, use Git when working on a team, employ Webpack to automatically bundle project files, and build servers with Node.js.

Of course, technology is constantly evolving, so being a successful software engineer means you’re able to self-educate and keep your skills and knowledge up to date. That’s why many employers focus on candidates’ specific skillsets rather than their educational background.

Practicum: teaching skills to get you hired

Dive into software engineering for free

Investing your time, money, and energy in building a new career may feel like an intimidating commitment. To help you decide if you really want to dive into software engineering, Practicum offers a free introductory course that gives you a feel for it. The 20-hour course will immerse you in a learning environment designed to simulate the routine of a junior software engineer

Understand heavy-duty concepts

First, let’s talk about the technology stack that we teach our students. We believe every junior software engineer should have a fundamental knowledge of these tools.

We start the free introductory course by teaching the basics of HTML and CSS, then gradually progress into advanced HTML, CSS, vanilla JavaScript, and general programming basics. This represents a solid foundation for any beginning programmer. In less than three months, you’ll be able to translate complex designs into webpages that actually work and spice them up with a diverse array of features. In fact, if you successfully complete these three months of the program, you will already know enough to start taking on small freelance projects.

Once the foundation is in place, we dive into React, a great framework for understanding concepts related to building user interfaces. In the final stages of the course, we cover the fundamentals of back-end development. If at some point in your software engineering career you stumble on a back-end problem, the skills you’ll learn here will come in handy.

Practicum’s curriculum is designed to be useful both for beginning devs who lack experience in the field as well as self-taught developers with a few years of work under their belt. Such a developer may have worked extensively with HTML and CSS, but never with React. For these students, the Practicum course is a good way to refresh their knowledge and make sense of some heavy-duty software engineering  concepts.

Practice, practice, practice

In each section, you’ll have three or four days dedicated to learning and practicing on our interactive platform. Starting on day one, you’ll be performing real-life development tasks and applying your new knowledge by writing your own code. Practicum offers 24/7 learning support, so you can practice and ask questions on our platform at any time that’s convenient for you.

The interactive platform is just one element in the learning process. After three or four days of practicing on our platform, you’ll start working on an independent project that will challenge you to apply multiple skills at the same time. You’ll work on some pretty practical and cool projects, too: you’ll start by building a landing page, then build apps with JavaScript and React, before finishing off the course by creating a final project which also includes some backend and server work.

You’ll have a week to complete each project, after which a code reviewer will look at it. If your project is not accepted, you’ll have a few days to fix any bugs. You are allowed four code-review iterations per project.

Embrace feedback

Project reviews are one of the key elements of Practicum’s Software Engineer program — not only because they’ll definitely be part of your future routine as a software engineer, but also because they help you improve both your hard and soft skills.

If you are tasked with reviewing code, this too can be a very enlightening experience. Seeing how others think, and even what mistakes they make leads you to become a much better developer.

The code reviewer’s job is to help you recognize areas where you excelled and point out where you could have done better. Our code review team consists exclusively of professional software engineers with years of experience in the field. We train them how to analyze student projects, how to give motivating and positive reinforcement, and how to give straightforward feedback to help students deepen their understanding of software engineering. As you read comments on your project and perform any necessary tweaks, you’re both improving your knowledge and learning how to embrace feedback.

Stay motivated

With our interactive platform, we’ve made learning more practice-oriented while eliminating boring lectures that lack interactivity. Still, we don’t want our students to be interacting with technology one-on-one all the time. That’s why, from the very beginning, we’ve put tremendous effort into building a strong, effective, and supportive community.

At Practicum, students can interact with the learning support team from day one. This is true even for our free introductory courses. This gives newly enrolled students a better idea what to expect in the full course and helps them decide whether they’re ready for the investment.

The support team and code reviewers give you a large amount of feedback on your projects and your code. But that’s not all.

Throughout the program, you and your fellow students will be able to ask a tutor questions on Slack or during live sessions. Your tutor does not check your code or your project; their job is to help you solidify your knowledge. Tutors share their own practical experience, show you how particular developer tools work, or break complex concepts down into simple ideas. Tutors also help you to stay motivated so you can move forward even when the going gets tough.

Like code reviewers, tutors, and the support team, your fellow students provide a helping hand and a dose of encouragement.

Finally, at Practicum, you learn how to work on a team. Along the way, you’ll receive a good deal of support from fellow students, as well as from community managers. When you start Practicum’s Software Engineer program, you get grouped with about 50 other students. These students form a kind of “class” that you can interact with throughout the bootcamp. Students move through each two-week sprint together and can rely on each other’s support. When you encounter tricky problems that you don’t know how to solve, you can reach out to your peers on Slack. After all, some of them have likely already gone through the same challenges that you encounter. Like code reviewers, tutors, and the support team, your fellow students provide a helping hand and a dose of encouragement.

Starting a new career in tech can be an intimidating challenge, but Practicum programs are designed to help you overcome obstacles and kickstart your new life in software engineering. If you’re ready to change your career trajectory, sign up today Practicum's Software Engineer course.


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