How to Become a Software Engineer

How to Become a Software Engineer

In today’s computer-driven world, individuals and corporations alike are extremely dependent on computer technology and software. From the chat room to the board room, trained professionals are needed to design and develop computer programs – also called computer software – to meet the ever-changing needs of the users. This is the job of the computer software engineer.

What does a software engineer do?

Software engineers apply computer science and mathematical analysis principles to the development, design, and assessment of computer systems software and computer applications software that enable computers to perform specific tasks. Software engineers analyze the needs of users and then design, develop, and test software to meet those needs, which run the gamut – from business applications or computer games to operating systems or word processing programs.

Software engineers are generally classified into two separate specialties: computer applications software engineers and computer systems software engineers. Computer applications software engineers analyze the needs of users to design, create, and maintain broad-focused computer applications software or specific utility programs. Computer systems software engineers are responsible for building, maintaining, and developing computer systems for organizations, such as for payroll or intranet. Click here to find out how to become a software engineer.

What kind of training does a software engineer need?

The majority of employers hire candidates hold a bachelor degree and have relevant work experience with many different computer systems and technologies. Most software engineers have a bachelor degree in computer science, computer information systems, or software engineering. For more complicated jobs, graduate degrees may be required. Approximately 80% of software engineers had at least a bachelor degree in 2006. (1) Click here for a list of online computer science degree programs.

What are the prospects for a career in software engineering?

Software engineering jobs are expected to be one of the fastest growing, and is expected to increase by 38% by 2016, with close to 324,000 new jobs added. (1) Job opportunities are increasing partly as a result of businesses integrating new advanced technologies.

The best job prospects will be for job seekers that have a minimum of a bachelor degree in computer engineering or computer science partnered with relevant work experience. Software engineers must also constantly update their skills and knowledge to remain competitive and adapt to the rapid changes and advances in computer technology.

How much do software engineers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of May 2007, the median annual salary for computer applications software engineers was $83,130 with the middle 50 percent making between $65,810 and $102,710. The highest 10% made above $125,260. The median annual salary for computer systems software engineers was $89,070 with the middle 50 percent making between $70,710 and $109,320, with the highest 10% making above $130,850. (1)

Software engineers must be detail-oriented, precise and adaptable. They must be able to work well under heavy deadlines, solve technical problems, be able to multitask and be methodical. Click here to find your path to a software engineering career.

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