Written by Maddie Salata
Considering a career change can be understandably nerve-racking. The unknown lies ahead, complete with mysteries about what it takes to launch a new career and find success. For those interested in software engineering, it’s often no different. Perhaps you’re in that position now – interested in learning to code, but wondering if you’d be a good fit.
We’ve had the great fortune of seeing thousands of coding bootcamp graduates make the career change into software engineering, often coming from industries and professions very different from tech – and we’ve seen what it takes for coding beginners to not only find success, but actually enjoy their work, too.
Inspired by this helpful article, we surveyed some of our beginner bootcamp instructors about traits they believe are vital to coding success, such as patience, persistence, attentiveness, and more. They ranked those qualities from most to least important, and based on their responses, we created the list below to inspire potential coders like you to get started. (By no means do you need to confidently possess all of these traits right now, but feeling connected to at least some of them will help you figure out your best next steps.)
A career in software engineering will be full of challenges that you’ll have to overcome. After all, this career is essentially rooted in identifying and solving problems over, and over, and over again. So if you’re a problem solver, programming is likely a great fit for you. Being able to push through a challenge and not give up quickly or easily is a key trait for any successful coding bootcamp student and professional software engineer.
If you’re the type of person who’s always asking questions or trying to figure out how things work, a career in coding could be right up your alley. Being curious is crucial for anyone who wants to succeed in this field because it’s what pushes you to explore, innovate, and make discoveries.
3. Ability to think for yourself
Being able to develop and share your own perspectives is necessary if you want to be a great problem solver. Relying on others to tell you exactly what to do when faced with a challenge will not only hinder your performance, but hinder the outcome of your work as well. The ability to think freely can open you up to enhanced possibilities and ideas that will help you solve problems in ways that work best for you and your teammates.
Taking the initiative to learn, grow, and sometimes fail is important for any successful programmer. Through your own experiences (and inevitable failures), you’ll gain knowledge and understanding that no one else can teach you. Being confident enough to take action — and then learn from the outcomes of those actions — will set you up for success in a coding bootcamp and beyond.
Being a coder requires a lot of patience, especially with yourself. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or frustrated as you face challenges and problems head-on – and as you learn new languages and skills – but patience will allow you to persevere and achieve success. That patience should also extend to teammates and coworkers as your career develops, as you’ll often be working on projects with others who are also learning and growing as they go.
6. Flexible but organized thinking
In the world of programming, it’s important to strike the right balance between being flexible and staying organized and on task. It’s critical to be able to stay diligent and focused on the task at hand while still being able to see the bigger picture and pivot if something isn’t working. Doing both of these things simultaneously will improve the quality of your work as well as your ability to successfully work in a team environment.
7. Attention to detail
Coding is extremely precise. One typo can cause hours of problems that could’ve been avoided. Although mistakes are inevitable (and sometimes even encouraged as a way to learn!), by paying careful attention to the small details, you can avoid errors as much as possible and therefore work more efficiently.
8. Ability to focus
This career requires a lot of mental energy that can make it difficult to remain concentrated at times, so having the ability to focus will help any future coder throughout their career. Keep in mind that just like your body will get stronger with physical exercise, your focus will get stronger with mental exercise. As you spend more time learning and coding, your sense of focus will consequently improve and you’ll find routines and practices that work for you and enhance your focus.
9. Enjoys a sense of accomplishment
If you crave the feeling of success when resolving a problem (whether big or small), it’s a good sign that you’ll enjoy a career in software engineering. Overcoming challenges and obstacles is required often, so if that’s something you seek out and enjoy, this may be a naturally good fit for you.
10. Comfort with multiple answers
More often than not, there isn’t a “right” or “wrong” answer in coding. There can be multiple solutions that are all correct. Depending on the goal and circumstances, there might be many different ways to solve a problem. Being okay with a spectrum of answers as opposed to just one answer is crucial for any coder.
If you possess all of these traits or even just a few, it’s a solid indication that you’ll enjoy coding and would be a good fit for one of our Beginner Coding Bootcamps. If you’re ready to dive into the world of software engineering and start your journey toward a new career, learn more and start the application process. No coding experience is required.