How to Become a Software Developer Without CS Degree: A Complete Guide

With the increasing demand for software solutions in the digital world, the employment of developers, quality assurance, analysts, and testers is definitely going to increase.

In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has also reported that the employment of developers is projected to grow 25% from 2021 to 2031. This is much faster compared to any other occupation. This means there is surely an opportunity to build a career in software development.

But how to become a software developer?

As a top customized-software development company in Canada, we know the complexities of the industry, the evolving tech trends, and the skills to navigate this dynamic field successfully. We also understand the commitment, passion, and continuous learning required to become a software developer. So, we are here to guide you every step of the way.

Here are the points you will learn:

  • Step-by-step process to become a software engineer
  • How much time does it take to become a software developer?
  • FAQs related to software development

Step-by-step Process to Become a Software Developer

  1. Get Clear With Basics of Computer Software Programming

    Computer programming is a process of writing code for a specific action that you want to run on a software solution.

    If you want to be a successful software developer, then it is essential that you not only start with the basics but continue to upgrade your programming skills to hold a firm grip over them. Knowing programming skills will help you write code efficiently for your software.

    With programming languages, you are able to communicate with computers. Even if you go for pursuing a computer science degree, without having programming skills, you won’t be able to build software. So, you will need to start with the basics of programming languages.

    However, you need to choose the programming languages based on your career requirements. For example, if you want to make your career in machine learning, then start learning C++, JAVA, and Python. Do you have an idea for developing web-based software? Do you want to create software without getting into the nitty-gritty of technical things? We have a team of experienced software developers to help you succeed.

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  2. Learn Fundamentals to Design UI/UX in Software

      Software development is divided into 2 parts that include:

    • UI/UX Design
    • Back-end development

    In this section, you will learn about the user interface that is responsible for developing the graphical user interface of software that a user can see and interact with.

    Not only the visual components but also involves designing and managing the interactive functions of the software, such as navigation, buttons, or any other feature which impacts the functionality of the software.

    To help you with complete details of learning front-end, here is the roadmap of design the UI/UX of your software.

    Note : To view the below graph properly, use the Ctrl key and “+” for Windows and CMD key and “+” for macOS.
    Desktop Applications Electron Web Assembly Keep Learning Web Assembly or WASM is the binary instructions generated from higher level languages such as Go, C, C++ or Rust. It is faster than JavaScript and WASM 1.0 has already shipped in the major browsers. take quite some time to go mainstream though. W3C accepted it as an official standard at the end of 2019. It will still Tauri Linters and Formatters Prettier ESLint Gridsome yarn HTML Front-end Learn the basics Writing Semantic HTML Forms and Validations Conventions and Best Practices CSS Floats Positioning Display Box Model CSS Grid Flex Box Learn the basics Making Layouts Find the detailed version of this roadmap along with resources and other roadmaps Responsive design and Media Queries JavaScript Syntax and Basic Constructs Learn DOM Manipulation Hoisting, Event Bubbling, Scope, Prototype, Shadow DOM, strict Understand the concepts Learn Fetch API / Ajax (XHR) ES6+ and modular JavaScript http : / / Internet How does the internet work? What is HTTP? Browsers and how they work? DNS and how it works? What is Domain Name? What is hosting? Accessibility SEO Basics Basic Usage of Git GitHub Repo hosting services Create account and Learn to use GitHub Version Control Systems What are they and why you should use one Package Managers npm Bitbucket GitLab Web Security Knowledge Personal Recommendation / Opinion I wouldn’t recommend Order in roadmap not strict (Learn anytime) Alternative Option – Pick this or purple CORS HTTPS Content Security Policy OWASP Security Risks Get at least a basic knowledge of all of these CSS Preprocessors CSS Architecture BEM Build Tools Task Runners npm scripts Webpack Webpack Rollup Rollup Parcel Parcel Module Bundlers Pick a Framework React Angular Vue.js Modern CSS Styled Components CSS Modules Emotion Apollo Static Site Generators GatsbyJS Next.js Nuxt.js Vuepress Jekyll CSS Frameworks CSS first frameworks that don’t come with JS framework components by default. Bootstrap Bulma JS based and better to use with your framework based JavaScript apps. Tailwind Material UI Mantine You can fill all your testing needs with just these. react-testing-library Enzyme Jest Cypress Testing your Apps and Functional tests and learn how to write them with the tools listed on the right. Learn the difference between Unit , Integration , Type Checkers TypeScript Progressive Web Apps Service Workers Storage Location Notifications Device Orientation Payments Credentials Web Sockets Learn different Web APIs used in PWAs PRPL Pattern RAIL Model Performance Metrics Using Lighthouse Using DevTools Calculating, Measuring and improving performance Server Side Rendering (SSR) React Next.js Angular Universal Vue.js Nuxt.js Mobile Applications React Native NativeScript Flutter Hugo Ionic GraphQL Relay Modern Web Components HTML Templates Custom Elements Shadow DOM PostCSS Sass Styled JSX Webpack esbuild Parcel Vite Radix UI Eleventy pnpm Svelte Solid JS Chakra UI DaisyUI Playwright Remix Remix

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    What are the Skills You Need to Design the UI/UX?

    To successfully design the UI/UX of software, you need to hold a firm grasp of the following skills.

    • Java Swing : Learn about how to create a user interface in desktop and internet-based applications.
    • SwiftUI : Learn about SwiftUI to create great applications and user interfaces for macOS apps.
    • HTML : You need to start with HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) as it has good browser compatibility and integration with other programming languages
    • CSS and Javascript : Go ahead with learning new scripting languages like CSS and JavaScript
    • Frameworks: Learn React or Angular, CSS processors, and other development tools will add an advantage to it

    Best Resources to Learn Front-end Development

    Following are the courses to master front-end development.

    No.Platform NameName of the CourseTimeRatings Out of 5
    1.UdemyJava Swing (GUI) Programming: From Beginner to Expert14 hours4.5
    2.UdemySwiftUI Masterclass 2023 – iOS App Development & Swift30.5 hours4.5
    3.CourseraProgramming Foundations with JavaScript, HTML and CSS33 hours4.6
    4.EducativeBecome a Front-End Developer42 hours4.4
    5.SimplilearnIntroduction to Front-End Development12 hours4.5

    Next, you need to learn about programming languages.

  3. Learn Programming Languages for Developing Software

    A back-end developer is responsible for the development of server-side logic, along with writing code for the databases, servers, and software. It is also known as client-side programming. It works behind the scenes that a user doesn’t see but that powers every function.

    To build software, the back-end developer performs database migrations and API integrations and sets up the server-side technologies.

    Here is the complete roadmap for learning the back end.

    Note : To view the below graph properly, use the Ctrl key and “+” for Windows and CMD key and “+” for macOS.
    Keep Learning Building with Observability in mind Metrics logging and other observable items that could help you in debugging and solving the issues when things go wrong Architectural Patterns Monolithic Apps Microservices CQRS and Event Sourcing Search Engines Elasticsearch Solr SOA Neo4j RabbitMQ Kafka Message Brokers Containerization vs Virtualization Web Servers Nginx Apache Caddy MS IIS Docker LXC GraphQL Apollo Relay Modern Graph Databases WebSockets OAuth Basic Authentication Token Authentication JWT OpenID SAML Caching Redis Memcached Server Side Client Side CDN Relational Databases PostgreSQL MySQL MariaDB MS SQL Oracle NoSQL Databases Document MongoDB , CouchDB Realtime Firebase , RethinkDB ACID More about Databases Transactions N+1 Problem Sharding Strategies Database Normalization Data Replication Indexes and how they work Learn about APIs REST Read Roy Fielding’s Paper JSON APIs SOAP HATEOAS Open API Spec and Swagger CAP Theorem Authentication Web Security Knowledge CORS HTTPS Content Security Policy OWASP Security Risks MD5 and why not to use it SHA Family scrypt bcrypt Hashing Algorithms Cookie Based SSL/TLS Testing Integration Testing Unit Testing Functional Testing Backend Find the detailed version of this roadmap along with resources and other roadmaps http : / / Personal Recommendation / Opinion I wouldn’t recommend Order in roadmap not strict (Learn anytime) Alternative Option – Pick this or purple Go Java Rust C# Learn a Language Make sure to learn its quirks. Core details about its runtime e.g. concurrency, memory model etc. PHP JavaScript Python Ruby Internet How does the internet work? What is HTTP? Browsers and how they work? DNS and how it works? What is Domain Name? What is hosting? Basic Frontend Knowledge HTML CSS JavaScript Memory Management Interprocess Communication I/O Management POSIX Basics stdin, stdout, stderr, pipes Basic Networking Concepts OS and General Knowledge Terminal Usage Basic Terminal Commands grep, awk, sed, lsof, curl, wget tail, head, less, find, ssh, kill Process Management Threads and Concurrency How OSs work in General Basic Usage of Git GitHub Repo hosting services Create account and Learn to use GitHub Version Control Systems What are they and why you should use one Bitbucket GitLab ORMs CI / CD Design and Development Principles SOLID KISS YAGNI DRY GOF Design Patterns Domain Driven Design Test Driven Development Serverless Building for Scale General topics that you should learn and care about for the sustainability of the product. Mitigation Strategies Understand the Diff. Monitoring Throttling Backpressure Loadshifting Graceful Telemetry Instrumentation Circuit Breaker Migration Strategies Horizontal vs Vertical Scaling Degradation gRPC Column DBs Cassandra Time series InfluxDB , TimescaleDB

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    Which Skills are Required to Develop Backend of Software?

    To make your career as a back-end developer, you need to have the following skills.

    • Understanding of back-end development, which includes configuration, administration, and management of databases and servers
    • Learn programming languages like PHP, C#, and Java
    • Get to know the database technologies, such as MySQL and SQL
    • Best practices of security and authentication
    • Experience writing RESTful APIs

    Best Online Resources to Learn Backend Software Development

    Learn from the below courses to master backend development.

    No.Platform NameDescriptionTimeRatings Out of 5
    1.CodecademyBack-End Engineer – learn interactively4 – 8 monthsNA
    2.UdemyComplete Backend Development 2023 Bundle – Python Roadmap 15.5 hours4.6
    3.CourseraMeta Back-End Developer Professional Certificate8 months4.7

    Once you develop the proper understanding of the backend, let’s learn about the database.

  4. Learn Database

    Basically, a database helps you store all the essential files related to the software solution. Therefore, having knowledge of databases is needed to build your career in software development.

    The information you will store will surely be sensitive. Therefore, ensure you are focused enough while allowing or manipulating the information in the database. Choose the database based on your project requirements, experience, and ease of usage.

    Which are the Skills Required to Learn Database?

    To master databases for software development, you need to learn the following skills.

    • Get training on the technologies and programming languages, such as SQL programming language
    • Data structure & algorithm for database creation
    • Basic understanding of data science

    Best Online Resources to Learn About Database

    Avail of these online courses to hold a strong grip over your database skills.

    No.Platform NameName of the CourseTimeRatings Out of 5
    1.LinkedInDatabase Foundations: Database Management2 hours4.8
    2.Google Digital GarageDatabase Management Essentials29 hours4.6
    3.UdemyDatabase Management System1 hour4.5

    Once you are clear with all three core components of software development, next you should opt for online bootcamps and courses.

  5. Purse Online Courses and BootCamps

    Though over 65% of developers hold a computer science degree, it is not always essential to find a job in software development. Either you can choose to learn through free or paid online courses or a coding Bootcamp. We have already mentioned the online courses in the above steps, so now let’s discuss more coding bootcamps.

    Attending bootcamps will simply give you a chance to gain job-ready programming skills. It is specially designed for those students who are not able to be a part of a four-year degree program. It lasts for just 6 months and is cheaper than the degree programs covering computer science theory.

    What You Need to Learn

    To make your software development career without a CS degree, you need to learn through bootcamps and online courses. You can focus on the following points.

    • Start with the basics of the software development process and architecture
    • Understand all that is required on how to build a software solution
    • Join bootcamps and pursue online courses based on your career choice options

    Where You Should Learn

    The following are some of the top bootcamps to learn software development.

    1. Flatiron School
    2. Fullstack Academy
    3. Hack Reactor
    4. Lambda School

    Getting a proper understanding of coding to develop software. Then you need to find your specialization whether you want to move into web-based or desktop software development.

  6. Find Your Specialization in Software Development

    Software development is like a deep sea. Covering everything beginning itself would be challenging for you. Hence, you would need to focus on a specific niche, such as web development or mobile app development, or either you just want to be a front-end developer or a back-end developer.

    Based on your choices, you will further need to go ahead to learn the software tools and technologies. Therefore, decide on your specialization at the beginning. In case you want to learn more skills later or want to change your specialization because of a lack of interest, you can do it anytime. Next, you need to build a software project to excel in your chosen field and practice real-time development.

  7. Start Developing Your Own Software Project

    Just as developing a project is important for your portfolio, consistency is also essential to identify your strengths and weaknesses. And when you find that you are weak in some of the areas, you can focus more with your consistent practice and overcome it within no time.

    So, devote your time to programming languages and try your hand at development. Then, slowly and steadily, you move on to developing more complex software projects to build a strong portfolio.

  8. Build Your Portfolio

    As you begin practicing, compile all your projects into a portfolio. Try to add your best work because the portfolio makes the first impression of your work and increases your chances of impressing the interviewer. Here are the following things a portfolio must have.

    • Provide a brief introduction about you, your interests, and your capabilities
    • Include your portfolio and work experience (don’t include simple projects)
    • Highlight your technical skills
    • Link to your resume, include your LinkedIn and GitHub or GitLab profiles
    • Accolades or awards, if received any
    • Mention your contact details

    Follow these best practices for your software development as it helps enhance the performance of software and face fewer issues later on. After having a strong grip on software development, apply for internships.

  9. Apply for Internships

    Before you apply for internships, you must create your technical resume.

    Here are the things that you need to consider before you go to create your resume.

    • Customize your resume that matches the skillset aligned with the specific job requirements
    • Include your technical skills and level of proficiency
    • Don’t try to fabricate your qualifications and experience in your resume
    • Stick to a clean format when it comes to designing a resume
    • Don’t add too much personal information and make any typing errors

    So once you are ready with your portfolio and resume, start to apply for internships. Find the company that provides customized software development solutions and which fits your qualifications and skill sets.

    If you are nervous about appearing in the interviews, then it would be best if you could go through some of the most asked interview questions and check the company’s profile to get a clear insight.

  10. Apply for Full-time Software Developers Jobs

    Only your consistent practice, hard work, dedication, and positive attitude will help you convert your internship into a full-time job. After completing your internships, it is time for you to apply for a full-time job.

    There are various job search portals that you can leverage to apply for software development jobs, such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed. Or you can also find clients directly through the portals like Fiverr, Upwork, and Clutch and work as a freelance software developer.

    Here are some tips for surviving a cut-throat competition in an organization after getting a job.

    • Be enthusiastic and passionate about learning and helping your co-workers
    • Know your colleagues and team to learn from them and expand your knowledge
    • Do hard work because this will help employers to notice your endeavours
    • Be professional and adhere to all the policies

    These are the core steps that you need to follow for becoming a dedicate software developer. Now, you might want to know about the time duration to become a software developer.

How Much Time Does It Take to Become a Software Developer?

The time to become a software developer ranges from 6 months to 4 years.

The time duration depends on your technical experience, background, and the path you choose. Either it could be taking professional training from any institute or pursuing a bachelor’s degree, and many go on to earn a master’s degree in Computer Science.

How Much Does a Software Developer Make?

According to a report by Payscale, the average yearly salary of a software developer is $68,908 in Canada. This data is prepared based on the 5,704 salary profiles. And, the average yearly salary of a software developer in the USA is $74,273/year.

Have a look at the following image to check the average salary of seasoned software engineers.


Image Source: Payscale

The following table illustrates the average pay salary based on the experience level of software developers. Have a look.


Image Source: Payscale

Are you looking to develop web-based software? Do you hire developers instead of getting into technical aspects? You can get in touch with us.

Looking for Experienced Developers to Build Your Software App?

Let’s discuss your requirements. Consult with our technical team of experienced software developers to achieve success in your project development.

Want to know other related questions on software engineering? Check the following section.

FAQ About Software Developers

  1. How hard is it to become a software developer?

    Becoming a software developer is not as hard as you might think. But on the other hand, it is not even that easy. You need to spend some time learning to program from scratch and do it regularly. And when you do it, getting your entry-level job is possible without even having a computer science degree. All required is time, hard work, and dedication.

  2. What are the must-have skills for a software developer?

    Here are the following technical skills that a software engineer must have.

    • Basic knowledge of programming languages and software frameworks
    • Should have an understanding of databases and IDEs (Integrated Development Environment)
    • Data structures and algorithms
    • Knowledge of version control systems and source control
    • Debugging and testing knowledge

Get Started With Your Dream Job as a Software Developer

Following all the steps mentioned in this blog will help you become a software engineer and lend you a dream job in a multinational company. Along with this, all you will need is your consistent hard work, dedication, and efforts.

As we know that the average salary of software developers is pretty high, a software engineer role will surely turn out to be a rewarding career option for you. In case you want to consult your idea or discuss a project, get in touch with us through the ‘Contact Us’ page.

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Rakesh Patel

Written by

Rakesh Patel is the Founder and CEO of Space-O Technologies (Canada). He has 28 years of IT experience in business strategies, operations & information technology. He has expertise in various aspects of business like project planning, sales, and marketing, and has successfully defined flawless business models for the clients. A techie by mind and a writer at heart, he has authored two books – Enterprise Mobility: Strategy & Solutions and A Guide To Open311

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