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Becoming A Software Engineer

There are many different careers to choose from in the area of IT and one popular option is to become a Software Engineer. If you are thinking of making a career change, or are about to graduate high school and wanting to know what direction to go in to better your chances for this job this is the article for you. Here is information on what a software engineer does, the kind of duties covered day to day, hours worked, salary, requirements and career outlook.

Job description

This is an occupation that is growing fast and looks set to continue to do so. It comes with the potential of a very good salary and can involve working with a variety of products depending on what you specialize in from computer operating systems, video games, apps, and so on. A lot of the technologies we use today in our personal and work lives rely on software. A software engineer will go one of two ways, computer software systems or computer software applications. The job entails designing, testing and developing software based on an analysis of user’s wants and needs. They do this with the application of mathematical analysis, and the principles and theories of computer science.


When companies and organizations need better computer systems, equipments or machines and more efficient software a software engineer will design, build and test something new. This might cover robotic systems controlled by programs, databases, mobile apps, financial systems, consumer electronics or cloud platforms. It involves a lot of problem solving and being able to pay attention to detail.

Duties involved

A normal working week for a software engineer is about 37 to 40 hours in length though sometimes you will need to put in some overtime and work weekends to meet deadlines. You would work from an office base but sometimes the job would involve going out to meet clients and some projects may need you to stay overnight. You would be working closely with the project managers, analysts and the clients themselves. With project deadlines to meet and clients to impress the job can be stressful.

Aspects of the job will include;

  • Write test versions of code
  • Meet and talk about the client and team needs
  • Contribute to progress meetings
  • Have a role in the technical design
  • Test issues with compatibility, installation and security
  • Record detailed reports on the process, what changes are made and the results
  • Assess test results and fix bugs (technical issues)
  • Do quality checks when the software is installed before going live
  • When systems are running maintain and support them
  • Computer programs may be written from scratch or amended from already existing ones
  • Supervise a team of programmers
  • Feedback to your work colleagues

Requirements to become a Software Engineer

In terms of a degree one in computing or a related area would give you a head start. However there are some places that will hire you and then put you into a training scheme that is degree equivalent. Skills of being a quick study and being self motivated will certainly be needed. Other courses that would certainly be looked for by prospective employers are ones in programming courses like PHP, Python, Java, C++, Ruby and Java Script. If you want to specialize in a certain area like healthcare, business, or accounting also take courses that will help you in that direction. Other skills to demonstrate include;

  • Drive
  • Attention to detail
  • Problem solving skills
  • Communication written and oral
  • Good with people
  • Managing skills
  • Able to meet deadlines
  • Some experience with programming
  • Innovation

Wage and prospects

Your yearly earnings will depend on a few factors like your education and experience, and also where you work and who you work for. The average salary of a software engineer directed towards apps according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics is $90,000. The average salary of a software engineer directed towards computer systems is $97,000.

software programming

While a software engineer may start out writing code and debugging programs they usually advance into senior positions of project managers or software architects. With technology always evolving part of your career must be spent keeping up with the advances and changes so that your knowledge does not become outdated.

In the span of 10 years from 2010 to 2020 the overall employment of software developers is going to increase by thirty percent, or so it has been predicted. This is a much quicker increase than the average for other occupations. The reason for this growth comes from the ever expanding use of Internet, and the increasing complexity of systems used for data processing in the government, business, healthcare and telecommunications. Though there is some who argue come companies may seek engineers offshore, there will still be a need for domestic developers.

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