Ask an Instructor: Jumpstart Your Career in Tech

I have one more question. Do you think a Computer Science degree or a Software Engineering Degree would be more helpful for a future career in tech? Specifically most likely for freelancing? :slight_smile:

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Hi! I am in my 2nd year of community college and looking forward to transfer to a university for the remaining 2 years of my CS undergrad degree. Right now I have basic understanding of C++ and Java. And hopefully will secure an internship for the summer 2024. I was wondering what should I focus on other than a bachelor’s degree to get my foot into the door? As I have heard that only a degree is not enough to get a job. Thank you.

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Hi @fatima.sohail! You are right in your assessment that software engineering is more than just knowing how to code! To be an effective software engineer, you should have good technical skills (knowledge of design patterns, algorithms, how a computer works), you should have good problem-solving skills (how to use the coding language and the technical knowledge you have), communication skills (you will need how to work with your colleagues to effectively discuss solutions), and you will need to have a passion for picking up new skills and languages as necessary. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Hi!
One thing I would say is that job ads often include requirements that companies may actually be more flexible on, so it is sometimes a good idea to apply anyway. It is also really important to network – often, if you can get a referral, companies will be much more willing to give you an interview even if you don’t meet the exact requirements. I see you are in the Code Crew, have you tried seeing if anyone else there is interested in (or currently working in) the field?

The work you are doing already sounds really good. One recommendation I have, if you haven’t already, is to create a portfolio website that collects high-quality samples of your work in open source documentation and FreecodeCamp. Recruiters and hiring managers aren’t likely to go looking into github commits and so forth, but are likely to take a look at a portfolio website (you can also write things specifically for your website that aren’t published elsewhere, to demonstrate specific aspects of your technical writing that you want to show off.)

Good luck!

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@fatima.sohail, to increase your chances of obtaining an internship, you should showcase any technical projects you have been working on. This shows employers that you are passionate about being a software engineer. If you have any GitHub contributions, that helps a lot too!

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Technically speaking, a Soft Eng degree focuses more on concrete skills and working with software systems while a CS degree is more all-encompassing and covers the same topics but also talks theory, algorithms, how computers work, etc.

That said, a lot of colleges only offer degrees in Computer Science and people tend to conflate the two degrees in general. Both are good options, but if you’re not completely sure which direction you want to go in in the world of coding and tech, I would suggest starting with a CS degree.

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Hey, thanks for your question! Full-stack web development encompasses the front-end of applications (the part that users see and interact with) and the back-end (the part that powers the application and stores and maintains data). These are broad technical areas but I’ll try to break down some high-level skills for each.

General skills for front-end web development are HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Back-end web development will require proficiency in web architecture, databases and database management, and asynchronous programming as well as proficiency in a server-side language such as JavaScript, Python, or Java. We have beginner courses in all of this content (I’ve included links) so these might be great places to start.

If you’re interested in exploring a career in Full Stack Web Development, I’d suggest checking out our Full-Stack Career Journey. It will take you through all of the fundamental knowledge you should have to begin a career in this area. We also just started our Full Stack Community Chapter. If you decide to enroll in the FSCJ, this is a great place to network and get support from your peers and others who are going through or have completed the course.

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I am in my final year at university, any advice to be ready for my career and find a good offer?

Hi! I’ve been slowly and gradually studying and repeating a few courses on Codecademy. When is a good idea to start practicing working with a team? I have no clue what project to start or what skills I really have now.

Thanks alot @hishamtouma1 !

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Thanks so much for your reply! :smiley:

That’s a great question! I don’t think it is ever too early to start working with other people – even just finding a study partner (try our discord or forums!) can help maintain motivation and start building those team-working skills.

In our Skill and Career Paths, we have projects called Portfolio Projects. These are usually where I’d recommend starting to look for other people to work with – they are a little more open-ended as projects, though still guided, and so tend to be a place where you can really have fun building a collaborative project together. If you aren’t in those paths, try looking for the portfolio projects on the projects hub!

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Hello! You have many options, but considering that you are coming from a university background I would strongly recommend seeking out internships or entry-level positions. When I was starting out, I sat down and made a list of 5-8 companies I admire and would want to work for. I then looked into who the direct competitors were for those companies, so that I had an expanded list of 30-40 companies and organizations I would want to apply to.

I then reached out to people in those organizations through LinkedIn to arrange informational interviews with them to learn about their career journeys and skills they developed to get into their roles. From there, I would monitor those organizations for opportunities, and where possible reconnected with the people I had informational interviews with to see if they would be willing to submit a referral.

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Thank you so much for your advice. Will look into it.

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Hi! Sorry I’m late to the party (I was busy getting a job offer?!).

  1. I’m curious about lateral movement within a tech company. Have any of you started in one non-development position and transitioned to another position more development-aligned? What was the etiquette like for that scenario? How do you explore that internal movement? When do you start exploring those options?

  2. I am a student with an unfinished degree, but a lot of experience in a number of different languages and software. What can I showcase on my résumé or cover letter that will snag attention for a development role?

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Can you go into an internship without being enrolled in a physical college? Or is it mostly geared towards college students?

Congrats on the job offer! :tada:

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:tada: Congrats on the job offer!

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@ahmedemadeldein, if you want some help on how to craft a solid resume showcasing your background and experience, we have a case study that shows you how to use AI to help you create it: Streamline Resume Creation with Generative AI Case Study. Also, feel free to check out our job readiness checker.

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First of all, congrats!

Secondly, I have not but I know several people that have. The first thing I would do is ask around your own organization to see if there is any kind of formal system for moving between teams, which is fairly common. If that does not exist, investigate who from in your company made that transition, and reach out to them. You can talk to them about what they did and how they did it. Oftentimes, this can also lead to mentorship opportunities for you within the company. I would wait until you are onboarded, about three months, before making such inquiries.

In terms of how to stand out, I would say it really depends on what roles you are applying for. Different companies have different needs. In general, you should be consistently looking to create projects that force you to learn and incorporate new skills. Over time, you will develop a portfolio that shows your wide range of abilities.

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