Is it possible to be software engineer from Mechanical engineering background

I am currently studying Mechanical engineering 2nd year at my university, and at one point i dont feel really passionate about mechanical engineering . But software engineering things like programming and coding really make me wanted to be part of it. And i do think to be Software engineer but at the same point i realised it totally different with my engineering course rn. Can i be software engineer if i really commited to study programming and coding here at FCC ? I do need ur honest opinion and support. Thank u to anyone who are willing to share something to me.

As a young IBM systems engineer, I was helping a company
convert from an IBM 1440 computer to the newly announced
IBM System/360 mainframe. The company still had both
computers in the conversion process, as the programming
languages and the data formats of the two computers were
different. I was teaching the DP manager and chief programmer,
Gene Fluehr, the new programming languages we would be
using—IBM Assembler language and a new, “hot” programming
language called RPG (Report Program Generator). He would
need to learn these to replace his IBM 1440 Autocoder
programming language skills.
One day Gene and I heard a knock on the computer room door.
It was Sid Manas, who was a cutter in the cutting room, where
stacks of fabric were cut into the patterns of parts of clothing
with electric saws. Sid had been a cutter for sixteen years, even
though he was afraid of cutting off his fingers with the saw. He
timidly asked us a question: “Is programming hard?’”Gene and I
both answered no, we thought not. Sid then asked the key
question: “Will you teach me to program at night?” Gene and I
looked at each other and said yes, since we were working nights
anyway.
We taught Sid the “hot” RPG programming language, and
without a single day of formal programming education—or a
college education—Sid soon got a corporate programming job
at another company, with the help of our references.
Sid took over programming responsibility for an incentive payroll
application where tens of thousands of incentive payroll
“coupons” were processed against operation rate masters to
compute the sewing machine operators’ pay. The payroll was
run every Wednesday, to be paid on Friday, and it took about
seven computer hours for processing on the very expensive
corporate computer. That left little time for problems or recovery,
or processing other key corporate applications. Sid looked at the
key long-running program and quickly found a way to rewrite it
so that it ran in twelve minutes instead of seven hours.
Sid had looked at the payroll programs with a new and creative
perspective that none of the programmers who preceded him in
developing and supporting that key application had employed.
The company CFO who was in charge of IT gave Sid a raise on
the spot, because he had solved a critical scheduling and
recovery-time problem.
Sid became a successful programmer because he could draw
on the particular qualities that are essential for high
achievement in this field—the courage to try something new, the
willingness to drive hard toward a goal, the kind of intelligence
that spots a solution that no one else has spotted, the refusal to
say “it’s not my job.”
And he still has all of his fingers. If he can do it, so can you.

Source: How to Become a Highly Paid Corporate
Programmer
by Paul H. Harkins

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Yes, you can. But if you’re only in your 2nd year of university, I strongly suggest changing your major instead of completing your mechanical engineering degree and learning computer science on your own. Changing majors isn’t a big deal. People do it all the time. You’ll be a little behind, but you’ll be ok.

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thank u so muchh for the inspiring story! appreciate it

but i think changing major in my university maybe a lil bit difficult , because it is changing from different faculty , engineering to cs , and need a dean approve if i want to make it happen, anyways thank u for the suggestion. yeah, i often think that as solution too but maybe im too afraid and not confidence.

you can always try, if it’s not approved nothing will change, if it’s approved you get to study CS in university

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Hi @Mir_Naim!

I agree with @ArielLeslie’s suggestion of trying to switch majors.
If you are denied then at least you tried and then you can go through with the self taught route.

But if you are able to switch to a cs degree than I would do it.

Self study is a great option for those like me who are not able to go back to college full time. But you have to structure your learning and realize that one source is not going to be enough. When it comes to self study, you have to do a lot of research on what it is going to take to land that first job being self taught.

With a university setting, you have faculty, structured classes, college internships and other career service opportunities.

When I went to college for music, I used the career services center alot. I also relied on my network and alumni to help me get started with my sheet music business. So don’t underestimate career services and alumni centers at universities. It is a really valuable resource if you choose to use it.

Plus a lot of job applications still ask for cs degrees and that will help you get pass the job requirements filters online.

2 Likes

Welcome, Mir_Naim.

I am in my 4th year of a Mechanical Engineering, and also really enjoy software engineering. The way I see it, an ideal field would probably be something like Embedded Systems Engineering, for me. Although, the only Software Engineering course throughout my degree was purely focused on teaching methodologies, I still greatly valued all of my courses and enjoyed them, and expect to get a software development job.

However, I do not see myself working as a Mechanical Engineer. So, if I did not have the passion for the course materials (Thermodynamics, Control, FEA, etc.), I would definitely have changed my degree, halfway through. I have no idea what the process is like at your varsity, but I do not think changing in your second year is a problem whatsoever.

As others have said, you will not know, if you do not at least ask.

Somethings to keep in mind:

  • It is much easier to get a Software Engineering-related internship, if you are studying Software Engineering.
  • Most Software/CS courses do not involve much programming. Do your own research into this, but I saw many compulsory courses I did not want to take in Software Engineering, despite my interest in programming.

I hope this helps

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Trying to learn on your own while completing a degree and then getting into the field with an irregular background would definitely be more work than changing majors.

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Thank u dear, i will give a try!

Hey there, thank u for ur concern!
Now i do think to give it a try to change my major, and thanks for those useful tips. Yes, most of job applications they required degree in cs, engineering, thats why i thought i can be software engineer even with ME degree.

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Hey thank u for ur concern!
yeah it seem happen to me too, i dont have a picture inside my head to work as ME , i dont really feel the passion thats why i discover Software engineering. It really interesting and i can achivere a little bit freedom then work as Mechanical engineer. Actually i’m afraid to change my major because i will leave all my friends in ME which im comfort with, and they will graduate first before i do. However, at the same time i do think getting software engineering degree is really beneficial

is it too late for me to change my major? i will start over my degree if i change my major , and i already wasted 1 year.

there are some exams that could be transferred, something like maths and such, you could approach some office and ask for info, the transferring is a process that is usually well documented

also, it’s never too late, you could change now and in a few years have a CS degree, or you could not change and in a few years still be stuck with ME

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My Dad’s a software engineer for over a decade and a half(I’m 13), but he too was a mechanical engineer before that. You can do very well. You don’t need a degree to get computer science jobs if your work is satisfactory

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Some people waste their whole life doing something they hate. And while much of that may not apply to your degree, what you learned is not wasted. I have my degree in Music and I believe that that makes me a better coder. And I know many devs with degrees in other fields, even engineering - I can think of 3 with mechanical engineering degrees off the top on my head.

See if you can switch. If you can’t, see if you can start over. Go for what you want, not what’s easiest from inertia.

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thank u kevin, much appreciate!