Software engineering is a fascinating and rapidly growing field, but it has its fair share of myths. From the idea that software engineering is only for men to the belief that it’s exclusively about writing code, these myths can discourage people from pursuing a career in this exciting industry.
Let’s take a look at the most common misconceptions about software engineers.
Myth one: You need to be very good at math
We often perceive software engineers as math geniuses. Math is an important aspect of software engineering, but you don’t need to be a prodigy to become a successful software engineer. Numerous libraries and frameworks are available that handle complex mathematical operations, such as machine learning or data analysis.
A limited number of fields require advanced math skills, and typically they are adjunct to software engineering. Most software specializations require only basic arithmetic and logic or a high school level of math at most.
Look at one of our alumni as an example: Jenn Foskett had 15 years of experience working in the health insurance industry. She understood that hospitals lacked good data analytics, but she herself lacked the necessary skills and was intimidated by math. Still, she applied for TripleTen Bootcamp and won a scholarship!
"It was very complicated. A lot of business problems I did were tech-related, so I really had to analyze outside of what the curriculum was teaching me, think about putting myself in the shoes of a software developer. [...] I really wanted to succeed because being able to write code in Python, seeing beautiful dashboards and tables of data from these lines of code, was really exciting for me… The more projects I completed, the easier it became," said Jennifer.
Myth two: Software engineering lacks creativity
While many people believe that software engineering is quite boring, the reality is that it requires a significant amount of creativity. Writing code is not just about following rules - it requires thinking creatively to develop unique solutions to complex problems. Software engineers must think outside the box to create innovative, user-friendly software that meets the customers’ needs.
The honor of debunking this myth goes to one of TripleTen’s grads, Joe Lott. He decided to make a career turn from system administration to software engineering.
As someone in tech support, I use problem-solving every day, yet I don’t get to be creative about it because the ways to solve different issues are pretty standardized. But I’m a creative person — I like to write in my free time — so I wanted something that would allow me to express myself. Programming is definitely that.
In addition to creativity, software engineering also requires various other skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and project management. It’s a multidisciplinary field that involves collaborating with other developers, designers, project managers, and stakeholders to create software that meets the needs of everyone involved.
Myth three: It’s all about writing code
Coding is essential. You need to know how to code, even at the levels where you just supervise people doing code. While writing code is an important part of software engineering, it’s only one aspect of a broader process.
First, you must make sure that the code you wrote does exactly what you planned. Automated tests do one thing -- check the code itself, but often developers are asked to go into the application and check their work as an end-user. This is often called a “sanity check”.
Writing code is just one aspect of software development. Documenting the code and its functionality so that others can understand and work with it is equally important. Documentation includes things like code comments, user manuals, and technical specifications.
Besides testing and writing docs, engineers need to have good communication skills. Software engineering is a collaborative effort involving various stakeholders, including designers, product managers, and project managers. Effective communication with these stakeholders is critical to the success of software engineering projects.
Myth four: It’s a lone-wolf work
This myth is not entirely untrue. Long hours of coding give the impression that this job is very solitary, but a lot of the time, it requires communication and team effort
Collaboration and communication skills are essential to succeed in the field. Software engineers often work in teams, where each member contributes to the project. Each person has a unique role in creating a successful software product.
Not to mention that many software engineers participate in open-source communities (like various communities at GitHub like freeCodeCamp and React Native), collaborating with other developers worldwide on open-source projects. This allows for knowledge sharing, peer review, and the development of shared best practices.
Working in teams can be very beneficial. Like Nathanael Anderson made some great acquaintances during the study process at TripleTen, and it helped him a lot:
“We had a small group of people in the chat that were very communicative. There were four or five of us that really formed this solid core team. And if anyone said they had an issue, if one of them posted, the other members of that group jumped in to help. It wasn't ignoring other people that were outside of that group, and if anybody else posted, we jumped in to help them too. We just formed this great little friendship, this little clique, and it really worked for me. I had people to compare myself to and compete with, but at the same time if I ever felt like I was struggling or falling behind them, I'd tell them and they'd help me catch up,” he shares.
Our students can also practice teamwork skills on real-life projects during externships. During one of such events, our students were assigned to help an eco-friendly plastics supplier Arqlite create a new interactive landing page. Though it was their first teamwork experience, they were able to develop an efficient process where they were working independently and grouping when the processes were overlapping.
Myth five: Software engineering is only for men
It's a well-known fact that women are underrepresented in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math). Women share only 25% of positions in the market and even less in C-level positions, which has been discussed for many years.
Software engineering may seem like a boys-only club, but women are welcome and highly in demand in the industry. In fact, many initiatives encourage and support women who want to pursue careers in IT. These include mentorship programs, networking events, and scholarships (e.g. Women Who Code provides scholarships, and one of them is with TripleTen.)
Don’t let the myths and common misconceptions stop you from pursuing your dream career in tech! With proper training, software engineering can be a rewarding and exciting career path that welcomes people from all backgrounds.