7 Software Engineering Myths I Learned in College

Colin / September 14, 2022 in 

Before this summer, everything I knew about coding I had learned from my college classes. After spending 12 weeks as an intern at BTI360 I’ve been looking back at how my first coding experiences in the “real world” compared to my expectations. Here are seven myths that this summer has helped dispel.

1. Comment every line of code.

Okay, so maybe not every line of code. But in the CS department we were taught that our code should be full of comments explaining what everything does.

Reality: If your code is clearly written it will be self-documenting. Save comments for the particularly tricky bits of code.

2. Real engineers don’t Google.

In school we can’t use StackOverflow when we get stuck. We get it, our teachers want us to learn to write code without a crutch.

Reality: Professional engineers aren’t afraid to Google when they get stuck. When we ran into issues this summer, we were encouraged to look for answers online.

3. Coding is a solo sport.

In school your code is for your eyes only. Asking for help from others is seen as short-circuiting the learning process.

Reality: In the working world, engineering is a team sport. Asking others for help is encouraged. Meetings and code reviews help us keep moving forward together. Communication skills are key.

4. Professional engineers are scary.

Professional engineers know it all and they will be annoyed if you ask them for help.

Reality: There is always someone smarter than you who is willing to help. They aren’t scary, and sometimes you will catch them being downright goofy.

5. The end goal is to pass unit tests.

For school assignments, we write code to pass unit tests and then we never look at it again.

Reality: Tests are important, but it’s equally important to write clean code. You are writing code for the next person who will work with it . . . and that next person might just be you. Just because the code works doesn’t mean it’s good. 😵‍💫

6. People in the industry know everything.

An experienced engineer knows everything about the tech stack they work with.

Reality: No one knows it all. The industry is constantly changing and evolving. Engineers are always learning new things and working with new tools.

7. You have to write all your code from scratch.

Coding assignments in school start with an empty page and a blinking cursor.

Reality: There is no need to reinvent the wheel. It’s smart to leverage existing libraries and frameworks to speed up development.

Learn and Grow with BTI360

Are you a college student looking for an internship for 2023? Follow us on social media and learn more about our program here. We begin accepting applications at the end of September.

We are also always looking for high caliber engineers to join the BTI360 family. Check out our current Career Opportunities.


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