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Studying Software Engineering 101

Studying Software Engineering 101

In our blog, community member Safa Rahman Cenkci shares their journey as an active entrepreneur, discussing various projects undertaken both within and outside the university, along with insights from their experiences as an engineering student.
9 Minutes

Hello! I am Safa Rahman Cenkci. I am studying Software Engineering at Aksaray University. In this article, I will provide a wide range of information, starting with Software Engineering rankings, salaries, and working conditions, and covering what Software Engineering truly entails, the course content in Software Engineering, and the various fields you can work in after graduation. I will also discuss how it feels to study Software Engineering. If you are ready, sit back and enjoy a pleasant reading experience!

Why Are Software Engineering Rankings Continuously Rising?

Due to the long-standing mindset of 'Study hard! Become a civil servant. Secure your future with a government job,' the rankings of fields such as Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy had been continuously rising for many years. However, the challenging working conditions faced by our doctors and pharmacists have significantly affected the choices of these fields. Now, parents have started guiding their children towards technology-related disciplines. Our new mantra has become, 'The profession of the future is software and computer engineering. Technology never gets outdated, and neither will these professions.' Consequently, parents are trying to shape their children's future by steering them towards these careers. As a result, the rankings for Software and Computer Engineering are advancing by approximately 20,000 to 30,000 positions each year

What Are Software Engineering Salaries? Are We Going to Stay Poor?

As of 2024, according to data available on the internet, software engineering salaries range from 28,000 TL to as much as 110,000 TL. Speaking as a software engineering student myself, I believe that when I first start working, I will receive a salary slightly above the minimum wage of the time by around 2,000 to 3,000 TL. Over time, we have titles like Junior and Senior. Think of it as leveling up; your experience grows. As you level up, not only does your title change, but your salary also increases, leading to a more comfortable life. Given this situation, I don't think we will remain poor at all because our field is constantly evolving. If you keep updating your knowledge, it is inevitable that you will become a sought-after professional in the market. You'll be in high demand, whether on land, in the air, or anywhere else.

What Are the Working Conditions in Software Engineering? Are They Very Demanding?

As a first-year Software Engineering student, I was only able to do an online internship at DenizBank. Therefore, I don't have much experience in this area, but according to the people I've talked to, if you work at a hardware-focused company, you might need to go to the office frequently and work overtime. Some companies are known for requiring a lot of overtime. However, working at a software-focused company is generally more comfortable. These types of companies tend to adopt a hybrid working model (sometimes going to the office and sometimes working remotely). Once you start studying the field, you naturally narrow down the companies you want to work for and those you don't.

What Exactly Is Software Engineering?

Software Engineering is the profession of individuals who make adjustments to ensure that a machine or written code operates faster and with maximum efficiency. The job of a software engineer is not just sitting down and writing code. In fact, software engineers typically optimize existing code or machines to run more efficiently and simply. At this point, understanding what the code is used for and knowing which programming languages are employed is very important, because only with this knowledge can you understand the code you are reading and develop effective solutions to problems. Remember, anyone can write code, but not everyone can optimize it.

What Are the Course Contents for Software Engineering?

1st Semester Course Contents:

  • Atatürk's Principles and History of Reforms I
  • Turkish Language I
  • Introduction to Software Engineering
  • Introduction to Programming and Algorithms
  • Basic Computer Science
  • Physics I
  • Mathematics I

2nd Semester Course Contents:

  • Atatürk's Principles and History of Reforms II
  • Turkish Language II
  • Linear Algebra
  • Object-Oriented Programming
  • Database Programming
  • Physics II
  • Mathematics II

Exempted Courses:

  • Foreign Language I
  • Foreign Language II

Apart from the usual courses like History of Reforms, Turkish Language, Physics, and Mathematics, we also had computer-related courses. In the Algorithms course, we learned how to place the code while writing it. If you don't grasp Algorithms well, good luck to you. Algorithms are the cornerstone of software. The code you write follows a specific execution order and is read line by line from top to bottom on the screen. If you place the code in the wrong spot, it will either work incorrectly or not at all. That's why this course exists. Before moving on to the next course, in the Introduction to Programming part of the Algorithms course, we learned the C# language. The programming language taught may vary from school to school, and this is what we were taught. In the Basic Computer Science course, we learned about the components of a computer, how to assemble a computer, and the basics of Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. The Introduction to Software Engineering course was more theoretical. Like in algorithms, there were diagrams. We explored project development processes, answering questions such as when and what to do during project development based on these diagrams. It was a course that would be useful in our professional life.

In the second semester, we continued with the same History of Reforms, Turkish Language, Physics, and Mathematics courses. New courses entered our lives: Database Programming and Linear Algebra. Object-Oriented Programming was a continuation of the Algorithms course. In the Object-Oriented Programming course, we learned to develop desktop applications using C# once again. In the Database Programming course, we created a database using MySQL and learned how to retrieve data from the database and how to create a professional database. As you know, Linear Algebra is a different part of mathematics but a relatively easy course. Thus, my first year came to an end.

We Graduated, So Where Will We Work Now?

If you are interested in the hardware field, you have a high chance of finding a job at companies like Aselsan, Tusaş, Havelsan, or Baykar. However, these companies often look at your university entrance exam ranking and your GPA when hiring, which seems a bit absurd to me, but it's their decision, so there's nothing we can say about it. If you prefer to work solely in the software field, there are many companies you can consider, such as Intertech, Mercedes, banks, etc. Currently, there are a lot of job opportunities in the field of software engineering. Therefore, you don't need to worry about finding a job.

While working in the software field, you will frequently encounter the terms Front-End and Back-End. Front-End refers to the part of an application or website that the user interacts with. In other words, it involves elements like buttons, animations, and other features you click on or see when you enter an application or website. Back-End, on the other hand, is the part that determines what happens when you click on those buttons or interact with the application or site. In summary, Back-End describes how things will work, while Front-End ensures that users can easily find what they need on the screen and that it looks visually appealing. As a Front-End or Back-End developer, your work area and the company you work for may vary.

Our Final Topic: How Does It Feel to Study Software Engineering?

I will start by talking about myself. My name is Safa Rahman Cenkci, and I am a first-year Software Engineering student at Aksaray University. I have an entrepreneurial spirit, and I wanted to make use of it during my university years. From my first year, I started building connections in Aksaray and other cities. My journey began with managing the social media accounts of an initiative called Social Life that was established at our university. Subsequently, I started managing the social media accounts of 3-4 other student clubs at our university, and thus my network gradually expanded.

In 2022, I started serving as the President of the ASÜ Technology Workshop club. We organized trips to companies, arranged both face-to-face and online talks, and held numerous events. During this process, I wanted to work on a project, so I joined a student initiative at our university called "Gürman Innovation," which was in the idea stage. At Gürman Innovation, we are still working on building an electric vehicle for the Teknofest Efficiency Challenge Electric Vehicle Competition.

I also wanted to bring my own project to life, and we developed an idea called TARINO in the Teknofest Agricultural Technologies field. However, since we did not pass the threshold score in the report phase, our project is currently on hold. During this time, my online internship with DenizBank was approved, and I continuously participated in the internship for 5 weeks. I also started applying to communities outside the city. Initially, I became a Campus Representative for Active Campus. Later, I started working as a volunteer at the T3 Foundation and then applied to become a trainer. I was selected, but I had also applied for a scholarship and was selected as well. Since I became a "You Will Come" scholarship recipient, I had to give up the trainer position.

During this period, the T3 Foundation was working on a project called T3 AI’LE, a Turkish version of ChatGPT. I applied for this project, joined the community, and I am still working on it. Finally, I took on the roles of Aksaray Provincial Representative and Social Media Designer for Solana Allstars Turkey, a community established for the cryptocurrency Solana in Turkey. I managed to fit all these activities into one year. Truly, working is an enjoyable thing.

So, let me answer the question. If you actively engage in both software and external communities like I did, studying Software Engineering feels wonderful. However, if you spend your time just going to school in the morning and coming back home in the evening to sleep, you will have an ordinary university life. The choice is entirely yours. If this article I wrote has helped you, I am very happy! If you want to reach out to me, I am leaving my contact information below.

Safa Rahman Cenkci
Aksaray University, Software Engineering

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