Not a CS major: can i still get a job?

hi, I’m a 3rd year undergraduate majoring in civil engineering but want to get into coding. i am doing FCC plus some extra courses from Coursera.

My question is that can i still get a job by the end of my 4th year in college, just an entry level job in coding.

I have only started this year and feel that i am too late. I also have a fear that all my peers will get good jobs at MNC’s and ill be the only one left because i started too late, because my branch is not right.

Also, for someone who has just started, how should i learn DSA or from where, nothing too hard because I don’t want to give up too soon.

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Can you get a job without a CS degree? Sure. Will it be harder? Probably.

I got a coding job without a CS degree. Of course, I think my non-CS degree helped - it showed that I could think and follow through on something. And engineering degree would probably help even more.

My question is that can i still get a job by the end of my 4th year in college, just an entry level job in coding.

I don’t know. What does your portfolio look like? How well do you interview? What is the job market like where you are? How well does you skill set match up with that? Etc., etc., etc. And luck plays a part.

I have only started this year and feel that i am too late. I also have a fear that all my peers will get good jobs at MNC’s and ill be the only one left because i started too late, because my branch is not right.

If that is your concern, how well you do vs your peers and how fast you get into the market, then yeah, this is probably going to take longer. But why do you care? We’re talking about your happiness and job satisfaction for the rest of your life. But that’s up to you.

Also, for someone who has just started, how should i learn DSA or from where, nothing too hard because I don’t want to give up too soon.

Just start learning. Take some classes at the uni. Maybe you can do a minor. FCC can teach you the basics of web dev.

Just start learning. Pick a path and start learning. Learn things and build things.

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Hi Kevin
Thank you for the response.

I’ll share my LinkedIn. I don’t have a portfolio yet because I started this year in January. the reason I started was also because
No.1: I believe that coding is a power tool that is needed in every industry.

No.2: I have some ideas for start-ups that I want to work on, but I realise that it requires much of coding, so it’s like killing two bird with one stone. I hope to work on my ideas and even if they don’t work, it’ll be considered as a completely new fresh project built from scratch.

No.3: The last 6 months of the previous year was the time period where companies came for internships. I couldn’t get the internship I wanted. (Side note: I need to develop on my communication skills mainly because I’m an introvert, don’t have many friends, the pandemic surely did not help and I just overall don’t feel confident about myself.)

I live in India, and the whole education system in India is different. Here, people get into engineering in masses, because a good degree from a good college matters more than what you want to do in life. Because opportunities for what you want to do don’t even exist here. Also, the more important thing is that people get into different field of engineering based according to their ranks in IIT JEE and IIT JEE Advanced. I doesn’t matter which branch or college you want, the ranks you achieved in the test decide that.

Now, since I’m in a non-circuital branch, that too civil engg., in most colleges you cannot sit for coding and Tech companies, even during placement season.

Like there’s too much to fill in for you too fully understand the situation, but people shine in all kinds of situations. So we can leave that for now.

to answer your question simply: I do not have a portfolio as of now, but I’ll continue to learn and eventually do some projects. I have done about 10-12 interviews as of now, and i personally feel that some of them went great but luck definitely plays a role. I also need to develop on my interview skills. As for the job market, Tech roles are definitely in abundance here, but the competition is at par to it, maybe even more. As for now, I don’t think I have any skill sets to match with the current job market, I realise that I need to work on that the most, but just the thought of all of this, and overthinking scares me which I don’t want because I really want to learn, which is also the reason why I couldn’t start earlier.

I wrote a huge paragraph and then deleted it, because a lot of it was just rambling. Ok, so I think I’m the biggest roadblock in my own path. I want to do things, but then I overthink and let myself know of all the reasons why it won’t be possible, basically making me useless and waste a ton of my time. Isn’t there like an OFF button to just switch off everything and just do what you have to do?

I will. I have to. It is the only way I can see to succeed.

LinkedIn Link: https://www.linkedin.com/in/amiya-jain-2001/

Thank you once again. I have been trying to network on LinkedIn to find mentors who can guide me, that didn’t work, but FCC is a great platform.

I think things are 2 fold.

  1. To get a job you need to interview well, interviewing and getting the job is its own skill.
  2. You need the skills to do that job itself, this leads back into helping you interview, it also is the primary factor in getting the job, but not the only factor.

You could be Mozart with a keyboard, but if you can’t sell yourself, or do well during an interview you might get overlooked. As you know, competition can be fierce.

If your background isn’t in tech, or you degree isn’t as relevant, then you’ll need to do more work to overcome that and stand out before and during interviews. Lacking a portfolio will not help you in this realm.

I think the reason why your overthinking is the thought of failure for applying, or “not having it” or “not getting the job” or “being rejected” or any other scenario you can think of is the reason you start overthinking things, and second guessing what you need to do.

One of the best ways to deal with this insecurity is to put it to work. Its hard to over think things when your busy doing. You could distract yourself, or you could take your insecurities and put them to work doing productive things.

If you don’t have a portfolio, go out and build one. Building one will require you to focus on that task rather than “overthinking things”. You could also build more projects to get more technical skills that you can then show off, helping both of the pain points I pointed out earlier.

Good luck, keep building keep going :+1:

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I think it is best if you try to combine your degree with your future programming skills. Is their any civil engineering jobs that might require programming? Programming a traffic system is a perfect example of something that requires both civil and computer science experience. Designing simulation software for bridges can only be done with both degrees.

You should pursue civil engineering for now and learn to program in the background, building up your portfolio in the process. However, never give up on your startup dreams. Just don’t jump into something as big as a startup before you are confident you can complete it.

I mean, I meant that more rhetorically … those are things that will determine the odds of you getting hired. But yeah, with no CS degree and no experience, you need the portfolio to sell you. That is much more important than linkedin if you have no experience.

I have some ideas for start-ups that I want to work on, but I realise that it requires much of coding, so it’s like killing two bird with one stone. …

There are a million coders out there trying to be the next Zuckerberg. To succeed in that world you first need an amazing idea. Being a good coder is good too. But look at Wordle - most decent coders could probably write that in a week. But it was a great idea. And they sold it to the NYT for 7 figures. Wow. That is the power of a great idea. But there is a lot of competition in that space.

Side note: I need to develop on my communication skills mainly because I’m an introvert, don’t have many friends, the pandemic surely did not help and I just overall don’t feel confident about myself.

Yeah, that is huge. You have to interview well. Go to mock interviews. Do coding meetups. Join Toast Masters. These are skills you can develop.

As for the job market, Tech roles are definitely in abundance here, but the competition is at par to it …

Yeah, it’s competitive in the States too. It’s reeeeeeally hard to get that first job.

But I highly recommend that you finish your degree. That can make a big difference - even if it’s not CS.

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I notice that you have design experience - that can be a nice addition in a developer’s quiver. It can also be a job - most large coding projects have dedicated designers. Some smaller projects may have combo positions.

Short answer:
Yes. In the next week I’m interviewing at least three candidates who do not have CS degrees. They do, however, have some level of programming experience.

Speaking to your specific circumstances:

  • I encourage you to talk to an advisor from the CS department about what it would take to add a CS minor. It may be possible. It may even be possible to double-major or change your major if you’re willing to stay for an extra semester or do summer classes or something. I know that probably sounds awful, but I encourage you to consider it.
  • Even if you can’t add anything on to your formal degree, try to take whatever CS classes you can at your school. These will probably count towards your “technical electives” or something similar in your CE degree.
  • As a student with an engineering degree, there are companies that will be interested in you and may be willing to help you catch up on learning to code. In my experience, companies that are big in federal contracting (Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Ball Aerospace, etc) are companies that do this a lot. They need coders with a lot of math and science background and they figure that if you were able earn a STEM degree, you can learn to code quickly. Having some coding experience helps a lot in getting these positions.
  • Talk to the career services office at your university. I cannot stress enough how underutilized this resource is! Talk to them about your career goals. They can help you write your resume, practice interviewing, identify key skills that you need, attend networking events, talk to recruiters, make the most of a job fair, and connect to fellow alumni. Talk to these people. They’re amazing and you’re already paying for it.
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I agree with you. I’ll just keep doing instead of thinking.

I’ll just keep doing instead of thinking.

I would hope that we could all do both. :wink:

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I agree with this, I’ll try to incorporate best of both the worlds. I’m already doing civil engg., so adding coding skills are definitely a plus and if I can combine them together then nothing like it.

I actually like designing a lot, so maybe UX/UI is also an option. I will learn the skills, and I’m going to complete my degree. Thank you for helping out. I have started out, I’m not applying for jobs right away, I’m going to build my portfolio first. I just wanted some motivation and guidance, so that I don’t give up learning to code before even starting.

Some wonderful tips, I’ll try doing whatever’s possible. Indian Universities don’t have provisions for changing degrees or doing a double major, especially in between your current degree, there are limitations. As such the only biggest advantage I have, is that my university has a very strong alumni base, so I’ll definitely connect to them.

Yeah, just learn and keep learning. You’ll figure out what you like.

…and I’m going to complete my degree.

Awesome, good to hear.

Come on man, you can do it

im a good example for you.

im Naveen from india & completed my civil engineering in 2018, then i worked for site engineer for 1 year (2018-2019), then i studied for upsc - 1 year wasted (2019-2020), then i got interest in CyberSecurity, then i start preparing for cybersecurity with very basic skills, but i failed so many interviews, then i used linkedin to connect so many peoples & asked them what is need for entry level job and also anlyzed the questions in my previous interviews.
Finally i cracked some of the best security based companies, UST global & Atos.
now i working as “Security Analyst” at Atos from june-2021.
Now learning Front-end web development bcz of my interest.

so you can also do it, you have enough time to get coding job while you go out in 4 year college.
All you need is perfect plan & good mentor who already work in that target job.
so find those peoples in linkedin & message them.
after learning some basic coding language, start building projects that will help you to ace in interview

one last tip, here every one have enough time & age is not matter, all you need is will power & take risk. you can get what you want.

my linkedin profile
my twitter profile

How did you ask people on LinkedIn? Do I need to follow some professional networking guidelines?

sorry for late reply.
you dont need to follow any guidelines.
connect with you like minded peoples & HR’s of your target company.

Eg, if i need to want to be front-end developer, i will connect with front-end developer who are working in good company’s (here , if you want to work some company’s like amazon, google, aws, meta etc, choose peoples who working there as a front-end developer) and ask them how are the interview process & what experience need to apply that job in your desired company. Then connect with HR’s of your targeted / desired company is more important, because most HR’s post - job posting in their linkedin post or search peoples within their linkedin network

I believe you need to approach someone with common grounds.

If you are spamming connect without putting any context with people who don’t know you, the chance of you being accepted will be getting lower.

So you need to step up your LinkedIn game, to put it simply.

When connecting to several people with similar jobs, they are Linked; in algo wialsoailor the connection to you.
Or you can use the search toolbar more advanced with a filter.

But as for me, I’ll try out basic stuff before diving deep.

Join a community. Usually, the community will have an introductions channel, and more often, people post their messages with their LinkedIn profiles.
So you can try this

For nonrecruiter
Hi , I hope you are well! I saw we share the same community, . I am currently learning Frontend Tech Stacand k; I hope to learn more from you. I would love to connect with you too. Thank you!

For recruiter (credit to Erik Andersen)
Hi , I hope you are doing great! I am a Frontend engineer and have heard great things about working for your company. I am only passively looking for now, but I’d love to connect with you in case our paths cross in the future. Thank you

Make it a template and send it out to anyone in the field with whom you want to connect to.
Make sure to personalize it to have more familiar grounds. You can read their LinkedIn; maybe he is telling you that he is first-gen and you are first-gen too. So you can use that as common ground when writing your request to connect.

Always write a note for connection, never just push the button to connect, and hope for the best.

By using this step I’ve gained from 10 connections into 300+ connections in 2 weeks.
Why would you need many connections? As many people said your network is your networth.

Maybe you can’t feel the difference now, but I believe when you have the skills and people looking for it, you have the connection. It is only 1 coffee chat away from landing your next job

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