How to answer: Why are you interested in software engineering?

As a software developer the best way to answer “Why are you interested in software engineering?” is, to be genuine, and passionate, show you are keen on the industry and avoid generic uninspired answers. Let your future employer know you are somebody who loves the job and is passionate about the industry you are entering. 

There are so many routes into software engineering that people find it difficult to give an answer they think will come off well. People who have always been technical-minded may deem they may come across as lacking certain soft skills, while those who are switching careers may feel they don’t have enough technical expertise. 

The reality is that the right answer to “Why do you want to be a software developer” will be different depending on your circumstances. 

Let’s take a look at the best ways to answer “Why are you interested in software engineering” as a software developer. First, we will look at why companies ask it in the first place, then cover some tips and reasons you may like the field, and finally look at some example answers. 

Motivated software engineer

Why do tech companies ask “Why are you interested in software engineering?”

Tech companies ask candidates why they want to be software developers because they want to know:

  • If you are passionate about the industry
  • Your motivations
  • If you think long term
  • The type of career you want
  • Whether your interests align with the company’s
  • Your current knowledge of tech

Asking why you want to be a software engineer or are interested in becoming one is a typical question you’ll get early on in an interview. It allows the employer to get a glimpse of what motivates you and the type of employee you might be. If you aren’t passionate about the field that may signal to a lot of companies you aren’t a good long-term bet. 

In contrast, companies are happy to hire people who just see the role as a job and want to clock off at the end of the day. There isn’t a right or wrong answer and business is looking for something slightly different.

“Why are you interested in software engineering” is one of the easier questions to ask most candidates. A lot of developers are incredibly passionate and it comes across well when answering this question. 

Before considering an answer to this question make sure you have researched the company. You want to be sure that your goals align with theirs, and that you can achieve your long-term goals there. 

You should have a personal and comprehensive answer to this question. If you aren’t able to answer it well, it could be the make or break for a competitive job. Companies with a great track record don’t want to waste time and resources in training somebody that isn’t that interested in the field, or a person who doesn’t have a desire to stay in it for the long run. Remember you should also be thinking about where you see yourself in five years.

Use this question to your advantage at the end of the interview. Use your motivations and aspirations to ask them questions. Make sure they are a good fit for you, remember they want to entice you to work for them as well.

Tips for answering “Why are you interested in software engineering?”

Interviews can be difficult in technical discussions so some tips on how to answer why you are interested in software engineering are always useful. Showing your motivation and interest in the field can compensate for any technical misgivings. Businesses want to hire people they can support and who intend to better themselves.

As a software developer the best tips for answering, why you want to be a software developer, include:

  1. Being specific
  2. Being detailed
  3. Being confident
  4. Being Honest

Having a good answer means the company can get an idea of how you’ll do in the business long term. Lets explore each tip on why you want to be a software developer below.

Be specific 

Before arriving at your interview, consider the main reason you want to be a software engineer. It may be the varied and challenging work you’ll be doing or even continuous learning you must undertake to stay relevant. Pick a few core reasons for entering the field and then work around these. You don’t want to be too scattergun and end up just listing off what the job entails.

Be detailed

Make sure to be detailed in your answers. Give relevant examples and go in-depth about your motivations. Discuss your background, how you first entered the field and what keeps driving you forward in the industry. You want to give off a sense of commitment to the job and field, giving detailed answers is the perfect way to do this. 

Be confident

Remember an interview is a chance to sell yourself to the interviewer. Highlight what you can offer them and focus on your strengths. It can be daunting to speak of yourself highly but confidence in your ability is attractive to potential employers. When talking about your strengths try to tie them in with things that you’ll need in the role. 

Let them know you are a motivated self-starter who enjoys solving problems. Not only does this make you look good but it is also the criteria they are looking for. Don’t forget to give examples and be detailed in your response. 

Be honest

Coming across as honest and open is fantastic in an interview. You don’t have to drill down into your motivation for money but you can mention how the outlook for software engineering as a whole attracted you to the field. It’s worth getting some statistics on the industry, like how the number of jobs is set to grow by 20% over the next decade and how it stands out to you as a good career.

Interviewers understand and respect that recent grads or those changing careers have done so for more opportunities and prospects. Don’t be shy about that fact.

Reasons why you may be want to be a software developer 

You should self-reflect before your interviews and consider why you want to be a software developer. Only you know the answer, somebody else can’t figure out the specifics. If you aren’t sure whether software engineering is for you, take our quiz and find out. For those of you coming up short on reasons why you want to be a software developer, you may like it because it requires:

  1. A love of learning
  2. Continual improvement
  3. Analytical thinking
  4. Attention to detail
  5. Teamwork
  6. Problem-solving
  7. Open-mindedness
  8. Pay

Of course, there are many reasons why you would be interested in programming and the above are just a small sample. Figure out your own motivations and go from there

Remember you don’t have to be the finished article when applying for jobs. The above items are both reasons to be a developer and things the job requires. You may not be an expert problem solver just yet but there is always Stack Overflow, just remember not to blindly copy code. You may be an individualist but teamwork is a skill that can be learned and improved upon.

There is also no shame in admitting that you want to get into tech because it pays incredibly well. With an annual mean wage of $100,000+, depending on your source, software engineers are never struggling for money. 

Example answers for the question “Why are you interested in software engineering?”

The point of this question is to outline your background and motivations for wanting to be a software engineer and to show the company you are thinking long-term. Getting this question right will show your interview you are serious about a tech career and that you are the right person for them to invest their time and money in.

Let’s take a look at some sample answers that answer why you want to be a software engineer coming from a variety of backgrounds.

Switching careers 

“I want to be a software engineer because creating applications lets me use my creative and problem-solving abilities. Software development wasn’t the first career I embarked on but I’m delighted I found it. In college, I originally studied finance. After obtaining my bachelor’s degree, I accepted a job in the finance department of a marketing agency. I was responsible for budgeting our monthly spending on various marketing and sales funnels. I also worked with clients to help manage costs on their big projects with us. While I was good at my job, I wasn’t passionate about it, and going to work never excited me.

I discovered software engineering after a chat with a friend already in the field. He was self-taught and gave me a lot of great resources. I started practicing in my spare time and then was hooked. I love the challenge and diversity of building things. I then applied for a bachelor’s degree in software development and haven’t looked back since. At college, I put together a small portfolio of work and before long I had attracted several freelance clients which also helped hone my abilities and build my business-related skills. I’m excited to step into the field professionally and work with a company that can help me carve out a career.”

Long term ambition

“I’ve also wanted to be a software engineer. While growing up, my parents both worked in tech and it always fascinated me. My father has a bachelor’s in software development and I followed suit. They pushed me towards science and technology when I was young so I have slowly built my problem-solving and analytical abilities. 

After my bachelor’s I wanted to dive deeper into software engineering so I went on to obtain a master’s degree in computer science. Now I feel ready to finally make my ambition a reality and start a career in development.”

No college experience 

“I knew in high school that software development was the career for me. I excelled in analytical and scientific subjects like math and physics, and always enjoyed cracking hard problems. During high school, I was fortunate enough to pick up work with clients in my town. It ranged from small applications to large e-commerce websites. The practical experience with clients has given me the tools I need to start working as a professional in the industry. But I am eager to continue to grow and keep learning.”

Career break

“After working as a software engineer a few years ago, I took a career break to look at my family full-time. During the break, my interest in the industry never waned. I’ve kept up to date with the most recent trends and have been fortunate enough to keep my skills sharp. The personal projects I have been working on have meant I am well in touch with the recent technologies. I am excited to reenter the industry and focus on a long career with a company that can help me continue to keep learning and grow as a developer.

Passion 

“I got into technology during high school where I became engrossed in the latest and greatest coding languages. After taking a computer science class, I was hooked. My passion hasn’t waned since. Building and creating applications taps into my creative edge, and solving the problems I encounter along the way has sharpened my analytical ability. It only seemed right to go on and get a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Now I’m looking forward to and want to hone my passion for software development in a product-focused company that is impacting people’s lives every day.

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