How to get a software developer job without a CS degree?

I’m not a CS grad, I did production engineering which is nothing to do with computer science. And, with small ignite of passion for software development and consistent effort to gain knowledge about Android development helped me to land a job in KNOW in July 2017. And fast forward, now I’m responsible for 100,000+ active users using standalone android app along with android SDK. If someone told me 4 years ago that I’ll be working for this scale of android users, I won’t believed him or her. But I’m living in my dream right now. I never did anything special to become the person that I’m today, but with some clear planning and flexible to pivot the plan is what helped me to land here.

create your own path

Let me walk you from the day 1..

I’m the first guy from my entire family entering the college for the first time with lot of fear and an hope to become an engineering graduate. But, things were not the same when I came to know that I can become a graduate but I won’t land a job in Production engineering. At that time, I know how to score marks in engineering exams but definitely don’t know how to get a job.
Since, coming from a family with no college background it was super difficult for me to think about the career.

But I was lucky enough to get a great professor Dr. S. Satish Kumar who always asks us to do something out of regular college curricular. One fine day, he challenged the whole class to develop an app for the college. It sparked something inside me and I started to do my research on how apps are developed.

This is where I gained confident and put my whole energy towards gaining knowledge about software development. The confident grew even more when I started to connect the dots. Yes, I was really good at computer science during my school days, the school which I went took extra care for computer science practicals and definitely I loved it to my core.

Passions are not found outside, it is within us. We need to nurture it!

I almost lost a year when I came to know that I want to become a software developer. I need to capitalize the next three years to get a job in software development. I had no idea on how companies work and what will be there minimum qualification requirements.But, I need to come up with some solid plan to attack this and get a job in software development.

I was using windows phone and I came to know that Microsoft is having Microsoft student program and got many help with respect to tutorials and development tools. After gaining some good knowledge about windows phone development I developed and released my first app in Windows app store, the feeling was really great, I felt like giving birth to a baby. It was early stage of windows phone market, so only 4 people downloaded the app and I had hope on windows market and even I was planning to get into windows phone development because of new market and thought it will create demand for Windows phone developers but unfortunately Windows phone market was vanished.

I came to know about the supply and demand concept and started to play smartly instead of sticking to one thing. I started to experiment different things. By this time, I got two more years in my hand and went to try .NET web application development and created a website for downloading study materials. The reason for choosing .NET platform is because it’s easier to adapt from windows phone development to .NET web application, both applications are developed using c#.

I named the website as doc’s corner and students from my department started using the website on daily basis and I become fame within few days on the campus. Other department staffs showed interest to use doc’s corner.

After developing apps in windows phone and .NET platform, I was interested to try android platform. I fell in love with the Android platform because of the Android community, the android community is one of the best community. You can find 1000s of active members in any social media sites. My usual learning and development happens after college hours and in the early morning. I usually post my queries in the morning and when I come back I do have 5 to 10 amazing responses.I got new friends who were super helpful to help me with android related questions.

I was on my last year of my college and I developed an app for the whole college in android and I released my first android app in play store. The feeling was even more amazing than my first app release. The app got really good review among the college and I got invited by the career placement department to showcase my app and they promised me that I get chance to get interviewed by software development companies, which is not a case for usual production engineering student.

By this time, I had three apps on my portfolio. I was super proud of myself for the time that I spent to nurture my passion instead of finding it outside. I got an opportunity to get interviewed in good software product companies but never got selected. I know where I failed, I worked hard to get better at it.

I got selected in one good service based company, but I want to continue my android journey and I know it’s going to be hard but definitely worth trying it. Again I went back to lovely android community and got to know about hasjob.co and I came to know about KNOW and I was super excited to be part of them and do you know what I got selected. This is the only company that I applied and I got selected in hasjob.co

Being unconventional, Connecting the dots, Believing in the plan and some help from the community helped someone like me!

My 2 cents for someone trying to get into some good job is to build a good portfolio, it may be for software developer job, or it may be a career in photography. Building a strong portfolio is very important. It took three years to build the portfolio that standout for a Production engineer who is looking for a career in Software development.

I’m happy to share my job application and it will definitely help someone who is building his or her portfolio.

Your application on 3 June 2017:

Dear HR manager,

This letter is to express my interest in your posting on hasjob.co for an android app developer plus product thinker. With a bachelor degree in engineering and hands on experience in android app development, I believe that I will be an asset to your organization.

During my college days I picked some of the problems and solved it using software application. Following are the application that I have developed to solve the problem in my college environment.

Doc’s Corner (Currently not active )

Platform — .NET web application

Problem- Lecturers and students used email services to share the study material, at last moment of exam preparation it took lot of time for students to search the mail (study material) from the inbox.

Solution- Doc’s Corner is an online directory used to share the documents to the students at any time without any chaos. Students can download the document without much effort.

Video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNCG1V7AHtM

2. Velammal App (not active but available in play store)

Platform- Android

Problem — Most of the Information circulated from the administration won’t reach every student in the college. There is no online complaint and suggestion portal. Velammal App solved the problem.

Solution — Velammal app helps to circulate information to students, it helps student to post complaint and suggestion without using conventional paper and box to post.

App link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samuvel.hp.weheshe&hl=en

3. In addition to it, I have designed websites for couple of times to my department’s symposium. I gained hands on experience with HTML, CSS and Bootstrap.

4. A War nS (active)

PlatformAndroid

I turned a tamil movie scene into an app idea where user have to find the color of the color name within 30 second. A War nS helps to increase the ability of awareness.

App Link- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.designthepresent.samuvelp.awarns&hl=en

Your listed responsibility closely matches my interest. Currently, I’m waiting for the last semester result. CGPA(8.44/10) till my 7th semester. I look forward to speaking with you about this opportunity. Thank you for your time and consideration.

All the best for your journey!

Thanks for spending time with my article. Please do follow for more software development related articles.

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Samuvel P

Android developer @getKnowApp. Responsible for development of Android SDK and app for 100,000+ active users.