If you are looking for more information about software engineer, you have come to the right place. This article contains all the information about the required education for prospectus employees and career prospects. You will learn what software engineers do, job requirements, salary and job outlook, etc.
What is Software Engineering?
This is a branch of computer science that deals with software development and aspects of building software systems. The discipline also covers issues related to software management such as budgeting, scheduling and directing programming teams.
They have expertise and knowledge about the structure of software, theory of computing systems, nature of hardware and limitations that affect the proper functioning of the software. Basically, the main role of software engineers is to plan, design, develop and implement software. During the design and development process, they use diagrams, a set of instructions, flowcharts and other documentations. Other roles of computer engineers include:
- They apply principles and theories of mathematical analysis and computer science to plan, design, develop, test and evaluate computer software systems and applications.
- They design and develop business applications, network control systems, computer games, operating systems and middleware.
- They analyze the company’s needs and design software applications to meet those needs.
- They are also responsible for coding and programming.
- They are responsible for planning, development, maintenance and expansion of a company’s computer systems.
Work activities of software engineering experts include:
- Interacting with Computers: Programming mainframe computer, adjusting computer operation, system using spreadsheet software, using computer programming language, testing computer programs or systems, using computers to retrieve data, writing computer software and developing or maintain databases.
- Making decisions and resolving engineering or science problems.
- Analyzing data or information: This includes activities such as analyzing technical data or designs, evaluating prototype software systems and evaluating computer system requirements.
- Updating and using relevant knowledge: Following data storage and security procedures, using computer networking technology, using scientific research methodology and statistical process control procedures.
- Thinking creatively: designing control systems, designing software interface, designing data processing systems, electronic equipment, security systems and software systems.
- Processing Information, scheduling work and activities and developing tables depicting data.
- Reading blueprints, schematics and technical drawings to get information.
- Provide consultation and advice: This includes activities such as recommending software purchases, advising clients regarding software problems, consulting with customers concerning needs and recommend modification or repair of application.
How to Become a Software Engineer
A degree in computer science or software engineering is required for those seeking for software related positions. Some employers may prefer candidates with several years of experience with software applications and systems. Otherwise, most companies provide training and hands-on experience to new employees whom they hire.
Those who want to become certified engineers are, therefore, required to enroll in a computer engineering school. Currently, almost every university and college in the United States have software related and computer science programs.
Ability to pay attention to given instructions and strong analytical skills are keys to becoming a successful engineer. Also useful is the willingness to learn new skills and capacity to cooperate when working in groups.
Knowledge and skills in software and hardware engineering are also required. Some of these skills and knowledge include data processing, mathematics, electronics, statistics, computer systems, interpersonal relationships and many others.
A software related position comes with specific roles and capacities that require a candidate with specific skill set. As stated earlier, at least a bachelor’s degree in software/computer engineering or related field is required. Keep in mind that different employers have their own education degree requirements for their positions. Some companies may prefer candidates with associate’s degree while others go for those with a master’s degree.
In most cases, an associate’s degree is enough for those looking for an entry level position. For complex positions, a master’s degree in software or hardware engineering or any related field is required.
Besides an educational degree, some employers may also look at one’s experience on software systems and applications. Those who are fresh from universities are therefore advised to participate in an internship to gain hands-on experience.
Certification in computer engineering is not a requirement for one to work in the US. However, it is necessary since most employers consider applicants who have obtained certifications from relevant bodies. Those who have obtained relevant work experience are therefore advised to obtain relevant certifications from responsible training institutions or software vendors.
One of the credential that is ideal for entry-level employees is the CSDP certification (Certified Software Development Associate). Students who are pursuing software engineering programs can attempt CSDP exams during the final year of their studies. Even those who are pursuing non-degree programs are eligible to sit for CSDP certification exams.
Salary and Job Outlook
Employment opportunities are expected to grow in years to come. Also, the report suggests that this growth will be much faster compared to other occupations.
For example between 2015 and 2020, the report indicated that these job opportunities will increase by 30%. The report gave growth of complex data needs and Internet’s expansion as the two main reasons that would lead to increased demand for software or hardware engineers. Some prospectus graduates worry that most companies will outsource engineers from other countries, but still there would an increased demand for skilled engineers domestically because of the quality of education offered by most universities in the United States.
Taking of salary outlook, software engineers are the most paid individuals in the United States whether employed or working as freelancers. However, their salaries vary depending on one’s education degree, skill level, experience and certification. According to our latest report, the average salary is around $107,840.
Pros and Cons
- Software engineer are some of the well-paying careers in the world. As stated above, average annual salary for an entry-level position is around $96,620. Besides this, future positions in the IT industry will attract more salaries.
- Unlike other professionals, they usually work in a clean and well-lighted environment.
- Some organizations introduce diversions in workplaces to help workers relieve their stress because software engineering are demanding positions.
- Unlike other professions, software and hardware engineers guarantee financial security regardless of position they are hired to take.
- The demand for professionals with software or computer engineering education is expected to increase in the next coming years. Those who are planning to become software or hardware engineers can do so because there are many companies out there waiting to employ you.
- Individuals with software or computer engineering degree can opt for freelance instead of employment.
- Software engineering are stressful careers that require employees to be very careful about what they do.
- It requires employees to meet strict deadlines set by various clients. So employees work long hours to meet clients’ needs.
- Becoming an expert is not a one-day affair. It requires one to take several years obtaining the required degree, experience and skills.
- This is a career that requires employees to stay current with the latest technological advancement.
Career Advice and Tips
- Most colleges and universities are great at theories of software/computer engineering but not the practical part of it. You must, therefore, dedicate much of your free time teaching yourself “practical” part of software engineering. It is agreed that the best way to becoming a great programmer is to practice it.
- The discipline requires students to be language agnostic. A language is a valuable tool that can help one learn new skills.
- Computer engineering graduates are advised to build a strong resume. Having a good resume helps show competence thus opening doors for more job opportunities or promotion.
- Decide the place you want to build your career. If it is within a big company, stay there and try to climb your way up the career ladder. If you don’t want to build your career at your present company, leave the company the earliest as possible.
- If you don’t want to be a software or computer engineer after graduation, decide once and move quickly to the next career. If you hold a position that you don’t like, quite quickly. Stop thinking about quitting at the later date.
- When working as a computer engineer, integrity matters when dealing with others. Don’t think of cheating because it will haunt you in the long run. Do the right thing throughout your life.
- This is a lucrative career. Help people who are seeking for help.
- Making friends is important if you want to become a successful software engineer. If you are working as a freelancer or an entrepreneur, friends will help you get business connections.
- Take risks. Don’t quit just because you think it is difficult to breakthrough.