10 Things You Should Have Learned With Your Software Engineering Degree

There are a lot of things a person can learn in university, but it’s not everything. A lot of professionals, for example, learn on the job. They may have been taught a lot as a student, but they realize it is not the same when they get to the work field. 

Software engineers are not exempt from this. As an engineer, there are many things about software engineering or computer science that you probably don’t know. Here are 10 of them.


1. Version control systems (VCS)


The version control system is a type of software tool that helps you to keep track of the changes made to a file while checking the edits made to a code. It keeps the history of all the changes you have made to any file. It is somewhat a form of database that tracks the changes you make. 


Over the last few decades, we’ve seen that the new version control systems are a much better improvement on what existed before. 


Version control systems (VCS) are also known as source code management (SCM) or revision control system (RCS). You can find an overview of VCS here. One common version control system is GIT. It is used in software development to keep track of the changes made in the code. It is an excellent tool for program coordination. It is fast and straightforward to use. 


With tools such as this, every good software developer should be able to use it. Navigating such a program should never be a problem. What’s more, having an in-depth knowledge of this tool will help you work better, choose a good project to work and make your work much more straightforward,


2. Developer toolkit


A developer tool kit is a collection of various tools that are deemed necessary and helpful to app developers. These toolkits are handy as they help you right your wrongs. For example, if you are writing a code and make a couple of mistakes only to find it at the end of the process, instead of starting all over again, these developer toolkits would have already tackled the issue for you and rectified it long ago. 


As a software engineer, you should have adequate knowledge of these tools and the know-how exactly they work. It should not be too hard for you as these tools are only here to make your work and life more comfortable.


3. Don't let others define what programming is to you.


The internet can be a pretty brutal space to learn something new or polish what you might have already learned. Many only give negative comments no matter how good something is. What’s more, you need to note that the learning process is different for everyone; hence you should never let anyone dictate to you what your programming should look like or what it should mean to you. 

In as much as many people think software development is a language that needs to be understood, others only see it as a tool to develop applications and necessary software.

Indeed no two heads are the same, and it is okay to disagree with the masses, as long as what you are doing is right. Look deep into yourself and find understanding for yourself and not rely on people's views and thoughts.


4. Clear and efficient communication


Communication is essential, no matter where you find yourself. As a software developer, you need to note that it is not only your codes that you will be writing. You will also write specific footnotes for your program. You may also have to register clear guidelines on using and following the coding you have done. 

This write-up must be coherent and logical such that anyone who picks it up can easily understand it. Most times in school, you are not taught this. Communication is not something lecturers teach computer science students. This is something you have to master on your own. Learn to efficiently communicate.


5. Referring to existing codes


It is okay that you check out existing codes to help you solve issues once in a while. You do not always have to write a new code just to get a part out to fix a bug, or an error made. Referring to old codes does not mean that you are lazy or do not know what you are about. 

It only means that you are trying to save time and stress. You can refer to old codes that exist and are at your disposal to help you move forward—no need to waste time. Go back to the tested codes and make fair use of them.


6. Debugging


Debugging is something basic every software developer should acquire knowledge on. You should be able to find the error in the code you have written and find a way to solve this problem. It should not be too difficult a task for you. 

It may get complicated sometimes, but you’ll have to find a way around it. Also try to find solutions to this and find a way to correct this error and make your code accurate.


7. Teamwork


Working in teams is mostly inevitable in software development. Most developers work in pairs on a software or application. This is sometimes because you need more than one eye looking at a project to minimize errors. 

It may not be something you are used to, but you must adjust and learn how to be a good team player. It would help if you were tolerant of all views from your team members. You will need to treat everyone with respect and must be willing to hear everyone out. 


Also, good communication can make your project easy to complete, in order to meet your targets faster.

That being said, working in a team is not as simple as it may seem, but you need to continually put in the effort always to be a better team player. Learn from your mistakes; even if you are the team leader, never be too proud to ask your teammates for help. 

Try as much as possible to bring them all together and manage your team well.


8. Humility


Although humility is important in every part of life, it is not something that is taught in school. This is a virtue or an inherent quality that you have to acquire on your own. You need to let go of your pride, even if you are the overall best software engineer. 

You need to get off your high horses sometimes, calm down and listen to what others might have to say. You will learn a thing or two. When you are humble, people can correct you easily and teach you what you do not know. This is one virtue that can go a long way to help you in your career.


9. How to take time and pay attention to detail.


With the way software development can be complicated sometimes, you must pay attention to every little detail of the process. Do not take any stage of the development process for granted. You should look at all the details well. Never assume that one particular part is more important than the other—to the extent that you'll give more attention to that part at the other's expense. 

This can cause a total crash of the project you have started. To be able to succeed in your chosen field, never neglect anything, no matter how small it may seem to you. A good software developer pays keen attention to all variables and details of the work.


10. How to be time conscious


Planning and managing your time is very important. As a software developer, you may have a lot on your plate, and as such, you need to know how to manage your plans properly. Create a schedule of your daily activities and ensure that you follow it through. If you keep drifting, you may end using many months for work that could have been done in a few weeks. 

Be time conscious and meet all deadlines you may have set for your clients or timelines set for you by your employer. Do not always procrastinate. Do the work that is required of you at the right time. Plan your time well, and you will achieve all that you set out to do.


We hope you found this article useful. Here at Cloud Employee, we assist both developers looking for work and companies looking to hire dedicated offshore developers across many technologies. Talk to us, learn more how Cloud Employee works, or see our Developer Pricing Guide.

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