Careers in tech: How to become a software engineer

Female software engineer working on coding on a computer in the office


Always dreamt of becoming a software engineer? Not sure what it takes or where to start? Get a head start with our handy career guide!

In this series, SheCanCode takes a look at what qualifications and skills are needed for roles across the tech industry. We will also look at earning potential and the prospect of career growth as a software engineer, as well as pointing you in the right direction of companies and open job roles.

What is a software engineer?

Software engineers build and develop operating systems, applications and programs, such as web browsers and applications. Software engineers have an extensive knowledge of software development, programming languages and operating systems.


Software engineering is a high-tech field and as a result, traditionally it demands a Bachelor’s or a Master’s degree in computer science or something similar.

Already got the degree? If you are looking to change careers or seeking further experience, then you could also gain a software engineering certification. Certificates tend to teach you to design, test and write code for software products.

Below are just a few of the certificates available:

AWS Certified Developer

Microsoft Azure Fundamentals

LinkedIn Learning

Coding courses are also a good place to start, and many organisations offer free training. You can find a selection of our top 10 coding courses here.  


To pursue a career as a software engineer, you’ll need technological efficiency and attention to detail. A knowledge in programming, HTML, CSS, SQL, Javascript and Python are vital skills.

Being a team player is also pivotal to the role, as is problem solving, as you will need to work with your colleagues to solve and fix problems when they arise.

Earning potential and career growth

The average base salary for a software engineer in the UK is £48,628 per annum.

There are a number of roles and areas of growth from a software engineer. A senior software engineer, software architect and principal engineer are just some of the roles available to an experienced software engineer.

Ready to become a software engineer? Discover roles at companies who value diversity:

SheCanCode Job Board Software Engineer roles


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