How long does it take to become a software engineer?

Your thoughts?


I am a self taught programmer. It took me 3 years to build and manage my own blog. While there are millions of blogs out there, managing the full stack implementation of that is a great foundation to full stack development.

This project along with enrollment in a 9 week intensive training course got me my first developer job.

progressing to the senior level is it’s own challenge. This can take years to achieve and also requires a bit or “right place right time” meaning you stick around at the same place long enough to show your worth your weight.

so the entire journey obviously continues but I’d say close to a decade gets you to that mastery level you’d seek as a career long goal.


I was originally in finance and made the career change about 5 years ago. I have a formal education in business (undergraduate) and enrolled in a specialty school for additional web development training.

the truth of the matter is programming these days is like learning a language. If you take the time to do it you can get a good paying job with just a few years of disciplined effort.

the reason why so many people never become engineers is because of how boring and mundane modern day programming can be. It takes a really special type to enjoy sitting around all day making configuration changes but they exist. And I am one of them :)


becoming a software engineer for a company usually requires at least a couple of years of intensive self education and "on the job" training aka building stuff. While the time it takes is entirely dependent on the one learning, you can get paid to do modern "software engineering" tasks reasonably well.

in my opinion, the best way to learn is to build things. The more projects you create, the more examples you have to show. It also demonstrates your passion as a developer. These are the things that will really help you become a "Software engineer" in the modern job market.


it's true that you must be a "life long" learner to become a software engineer. in some ways, you never stop "becoming" a software engineer. Of course you get paid for what you do differently based on your current spot in the journey.


Engineers that work for FAANG companies typically have formal computer science degrees (at least at the undergrad level). This is not to say that those coming from other backgrounds can't play catchup quickly with the "Trade school" approach aka 9 week programs where they teach you the basics of full stack development.

Obviously the time is going to vary. But if you are passionate about it the entire thing just kind of takes care of itself :)


a lifetime :)