I Love Computer Coding but I Am A Civil Engineering Student. What Should I Do?

Hi! I'm a civil engineering student from NIT Silchar, India. I'm in my sophomore year and just about to complete it. However in all this time there's one thing that's been bugging me forever. Though civil is a cool branch and I'm a fairly okay student in the stream, I have always been interested in coding. I loved computer programming in school and even now my CS friends come up to me with coding problems because I can really solve them. However the reason I did not pursue CS in our college is because it is fairly new branch in our college and is not one of the best programs in the country, unlike civil which is the best. Is there by any means, I can learn computer programming and get a job, a proper computer programmer job in a reputed software firm like Microsoft, Google or Facebook despite my civil engineering background?
posted by Devajani, Jorhat on June 3, 2014

Answer 1 by Ms Chris Rapposelli-Manzo

I’m not really sure how to answer this.  In the 80’s, when there was a shortage of programmers, I would have given an enthusiastic “Yes!”  I know accounting, history and English majors who became programmers.  However, today, in light of the economy and many more college degrees available, I would guess that there is great competition for technical jobs especially with big name companies like Google, Microsoft and Facebook, but I don’t know for sure.  Some companies are more open minded to bringing in new talent with diverse backgrounds and are willing to train.  You might be best served by getting in touch with the HR departments of these companies and asking them directly.  Another path to take is  to get your MS in an IT field.  

Answer 2 by Sayari Ghosh

As someone coming from India, I think I somewhat understand your concern. Here are some stuff I would suggest. First, you need to figure out if you really LOVE programming. By "really love" I don't mean just working on homework assignments, but are you that kind of a person who would create apps or code something just out of fun? If that is indeed the case, or you know for certain that you can really do well in coding, then getting a job in a software development field should not be any problem for you. And I can assure you that a person who loves coding is a great asset in a company, irrespective of what she majored in. 
Also, you will most likely have "on campus" interviews in your final year of college. At least when we were in India, students from all fields (mechanical, architecture, civil, etc etc) got picked up by companies like TCS, Infosys, etc. In that case you will get your most needed break in the software world and then take it up from there. These companies also train you initially for a few months. Don't worry about the big name companies at the start of your career. Your main goal now should be to learn and gain experience.
In the mean time, do focus on a specific language that you like (C# or Java, maybe) and strengthen your Data Structures foundation. Also, like Ms Manzo pointed out, you can always go for an MS (or MTech) in Computer Science and Engineering. Don't hesitate to ask me more questions :) Good luck!