Google’s advice to become a great software engineer

Many people ask what they should do to become a great programmer, and here Google’s Guide for Technical Development can help.

Google is known for employing some of the world’s best software engineers, and the company’s guidelines are therefore of great value.

The guide from Google is a “suggested path for university students to develop their technical skills academically and non-academically through self-paced hands-on learning”.

“You may use this guide to determine courses to take, but please make sure you are taking courses required for your major in order to graduate,” said Google.

“The online resources provided in this guide are not meant to replace courses available at your university. However, they may help supplement your learnings or provide an introduction to a topic.”

The section below is a summary of Google’s advice on how to become a successful software engineer.

Google’s recommendations for academic learning

According to Google, having a solid foundation in computer science is important to become a successful software engineer.

Google advises budding software engineers to use the guide at their discretion, and advises users to also learn things outside of this guide.

Introduction to CS Course

Take Introduction to Computer Science courses that provide basic instructions for coding.

Code in at least one object-oriented programming language: C++, Java, or Python

Beginner Online Resources

Intermediate Online Resources

Learn other Programming Languages

Notes: Add to your repertoire – JavaScript, CSS & HTML; Ruby; PHP; C; Perl; shell script; Lisp; and Scheme.

Test Your Code

Notes: Learn how to catch bugs, create tests, and break your software.

Develop logical reasoning and knowledge of discrete math

Develop a strong understanding of Algorithms and Data Structures

Notes: Learn about fundamental data types (stack, queues, and bags), sorting algorithms (quicksort, mergesort, heapsort), data structures (binary search trees, red-black trees, hash tables), and Big O.

Develop a strong knowledge of operating systems

Learn UX Design

Learn Artificial Intelligence

Learn how to build compilers

Learn cryptography

Learn Parallel Programming

Work on projects outside of the classroom.

Notes: Create and maintain a website, build your own server, or build a robot.

Work on a small piece of a large system (codebase), read and understand existing code, track down documentation, and debug things.

Notes: GitHub is a great way to read other people’s code or contribute to a project.

Work on project with other programmers.

Notes: This will help you improve your ability to work well in a team and enable you to learn from others.

Practice your algorithmic knowledge and coding skills

Notes: Practice your algorithmic knowledge through coding competitions like CodeJam or ACM’s International Collegiate Programming Contest.

Become a Teaching Assistant

Helping to teach other students will help enhance your knowledge in the subject matter.

Internship experience in software engineering

Notes: Make sure you apply for internships well in advance of the period internships take place. In the US, internships take place during the summer, May-September. Applications are usually accepted several months in advance.

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Google’s advice to become a great software engineer