How to become a software engineer and land a 6 figure job


Let me start by saying first and foremost, a job in software engineering is amazing.

  • I work from home, every day
  • I don’t have to worry about being late to work, because I essentially choose my own hours
  • My schedule is insanely flexible (which comes in handy when I have 2 little kids running around the house all day)
  • If I need to take a day off, I just let my manager know that I’ll make up the hours at night or over the weekend. No Big Deal!
  • Because I work from home, I make my own food for lunch, thus saving money by not going out for lunch (and also eating healthier)
  • And speaking of money, software engineers make great salaries and have a very good job outlook for the foreseeable future!
  • And did I mention I work from home? Guess who didn’t get laid off during Corona Virus season?

Ok, perhaps I’m bragging a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I believe my job as a software engineer is one of the best career choices out there today, but it also has it’s challenges.

  1. It’s a technical job that requires a lot of thinking, a lot of patience
  2. There are still deadlines I have to meet (but I suppose most jobs have deadlines too, so not much of a difference there)
  3. The field is constantly changing, so you must be constantly willing to learn new material and continue to invest in your knowledge

If you want an easy career where you can learn a couple quick tips and tricks on how to learn computer programming then this career might not be for you. This is a fast-paced and challenging career, but of course with that challenge comes the amazing rewards and benefits I’ve mentioned above.

So who am I anyways?

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Adam Allard and I am a Principal Software Engineer creating applications for the Department of Defense.

Because I love teaching and helping others learn, I am also a Software Engineering Coach and Mentor, helping aspiring software engineers land their first gig.

Adam Allard is a Software Engineer Mentor

I live in Maryland on the East Coast of the United States, but I mentor individuals virtually all over the world.

What does a Software Engineering Mentor do?

My main goal is to help you get into your first software development job. How we get there depends much on you. As a coach, I work with aspiring software developers to learn their goals and help them create their very own Career Roadmap.

The Career Roadmap is essentially a detailed technical schedule for you to know what to learn and when to learn it by. It lays down the foundation of your studying to acquire the skills you need to get into software development.

As your coach, I sit down with you (or through a virtual meeting if you’re not local) and find out what your goals are, what you want, how much time you have and are willing to invest in your skills. I work with you on creating a detailed roadmap so you know exactly what you need to study to become a software engineer.

Do I need a mentor, tutor, or coach?

Absolutely not. All the information is online, available, 100% free, for you to go look up and learn yourself right now. You don’t need me, or any other coach or training program to get into software development. And don’t let anyone else try and sell you otherwise.

Then why do you offer services as a coach if I don’t need one?

My Software Engineering Mentorship Program is to help those who want and need it. Let’s face it, we’re not in school anymore. We don’t have scheduled assignments, teachers grading our homework, or that nerdy friend to cheat off of anymore. And learning new skills (let alone technical skills like computer programming) can be extremely hard.

There are lots of topics to learn, lots of different ways to go about becoming a software developer. For many people, it can become quite over-whelming at first, not knowing exactly where to start or what to learn first.

In addition to that, many newer developers fall into the “tutorial trap” or “the new shiny object syndrome” where they jump from tutorial to tutorial, or learning new language or framework to learning a different next new language or framework. They bounce around to the “next big thing” too quickly, before they’ve even had a chance to fully learn the topics they need to learn first. Because of all this bouncing around, they never truly learn the advanced concepts they need to in order to get their first job.

This is where I come in, and this is why a career roadmap is so critical. We make sure you have a detailed plan with actionable objectives and milestones for you to hit. We ensure you don’t fall into the tutorial trap or jump to the next shiny object because we’re following your technical learning agenda.

It’s true that you definitely don’t need a coach to help you learn software engineering, but having a coach and mentor can definitely help speed up your learning curve (thus getting your first software developer job and eventually landing that 6 figure job!)

So where do I start?

If you want me as your mentor, please reach out to adam@pragmaticways.com or sign-up for a FREE pre-screening to see if a Software Engineering Mentorship is right for you. Go to https://software-mentor.as.me/ to setup your meeting.

If you want to do things on your own, I completely respect that too! There are plenty of ways to get started. First and foremost, it’s important to have support in this new journey, and that’s what my Facebook group is all about, the Software Engineering Mastermind Group. Feel free to join!

After you join that Facebook group, then you should start figuring out what type of software engineering you want to do. Do you want to build web applications? There’s frontend web development, backend web development, User Interface Development and User Experience Design. You could become a mobile application developer, or systems or embedded systems developer. There’s data scientists or data analytics you could get into. Some people prefer the Database Administration side of things, or cloud computing and learning about DevOps or DevSecOps.

(And by the way, if all of those fancy words sound confusing to you, Google will be your best friend or, of course, you know, sign up for my mentorship program and we can walk through all the different options for you to understand!)

After you know what type of development you want to do, then start learning the most common language for that category. For instance, if you’re doing mobile application development for iOS, then you’d benefit from starting to learn the swift programming language. Or if you’re more on the Android side, then consider learning Java or learning Kotlin first.

If you want to do frontend web development, then start learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Then learn about a frontend framework like Angular, React, or Vue. If you want to do backend development, then start learning either Java, Python, or C#.

There’s plenty of ways to start. Too many that I won’t go through in this short blog article. But here are a couple extra resources for you:

  • Get good at Googling things. (There’s plenty of jokes about how Software Engineers are really just really good Google-ers)
  • Get used to learning on your own, either from books or from YouTube, or reading great programming blog articles.
  • Get used to knowing how to ask a question, especially on StackOverflow, which is a large “questions and answers” site for software engineers

And above all, NETWORK. Start talking with other developers. Feel free to find me on Facebook (remember to join that Facebook group) and start learning from others who are either doing what you’re doing, or better yet have already done what you’re doing.

Best of luck to you, your studies, and your new journey of becoming a Software Engineer.

And one last attempt to get you to join me in my Software Engineering Mentorship Program, sign up for your FREE pre-screening at https://software-mentor.as.me/

Adam Allard

Father of 2, husband of 1, developer of many. I'm a Software Engineer for Northrop Grumman creating web applications for the DoD. Currently I'm primarily working with Java and Angular based applications, although I have some years of experience in various languages and frameworks from previous jobs where I dabbled with Python & Django, C# & Xamarin, PHP, and Bootstrap. My hobbies include time with my family, wondering when the Green Bay Packers will win their next Super Bowl, drinking over-priced beer, and of course learning and teaching.

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