Software engineers are responsible for writing, testing, and maintaining software. They work in various industries, with businesses and government, and some have their own consultancy businesses as well. In some companies, engineers have separate roles while in others they are required to perform multiple tasks.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to Glassdoor.com, the average salary for software engineering jobs is over $103,000 per year in the U.S. The salary ranges from over $70,000 to over $140,000. The average base pay for engineers with 0 to one years of experience is over $89,000 per year.
The jobs responsibilities vary depending on the field. Software engineers are usually responsible for the following tasks:
Design and develop software using agile methodologies
Design and analyze automation suits
Develop and maintain protocols for testing software
Maintain existing systems and platforms
Make recommendations for continuous improvements
Work with clients to upgrade their software along modern lines
Work in a collaborative environment with project managers and data scientists to complete projects
Provide technical assistance regarding software implementation and use
Besides having a good understanding of the technical aspects of the job, software engineers should also have good problem solving skills. Problem solving is useful in resolving issues that arise in implemented software solutions and also for designing and developing solutions to be implemented.
Along with developing technical skills, you should also work on your business skills and writing skills. In comparison to technical skills, it's harder to find professionals who not only have the technical know-how but are also good at communicating with clients and other professionals. Your writing skills come in handy when you present information in front of clients and your team.
There are a variety of fields you can specialize as a software engineer. Here are some of these options available to you:
Modeling and Simulation
Models and simulations help us understand the interactions taking place in the system. The models are created to analyze data and also to make predictions based on data analysis. Engineers who specialize in modeling and simulation can find work in multiple fields including, social sciences, finance, physics, etc.
Entertainment and Gaming
This is a multi-faceted specialization that has tremendous potential because of the ever increasing popularity of gaming. As an expert in game and entertainment, you not only develop an understanding of the technical aspects of games but also the artistic aspects of presenting the source of entertainment. Courses like computer graphics and 3D animation are two of the directions you can take within the field.
Digital and Embedded Systems
If you're interested in the interaction between computer-based and non-computer based devices, then digital and embedded systems expertise is something you should consider. The specialization is useful in number of areas, including medical technologies, automotive industry, and consumer electronics.
Another route you can go is where you are responsible for maintaining and securing network systems. As a network systems expert, you will be designing and analyzing the architecture and systems of the network.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Geographic information systems are used for capturing, modifying and analyzing geospatial data. These systems find applications in geographical mapping and zoning, public safety, resource optimization, etc.
Education and Certifications
A bachelor’s degree in software engineering is the standard requirement to get a software engineering job. Of course, due to the nature of the work, you will need to understand which type of training and knowledge of programming languages will suit your needs.
Therefore, in addition to obtaining a bachelor’s degree in the field, you should also give some thought to which type of developer you would like to become and progress in the languages and development frameworks related to that sub-category of software engineering .
An interesting aspect of software engineering jobs is that they are also frequently outsourced jobs. Many companies use the services of freelancers and software development companies based in other countries. Of course, the obvious reason for this is the difference in cost between hiring in-house and hiring from another State or from abroad on a part-time or full-time basis.
There are no license requirements for software engineering jobs. However, there are many certifications you can choose from to increase your chances, including CIW web designing professional, Oracle certified professional, and IEEE professional software developer. While a bachelor’s degree is desirable, many people also become software developers by learning the required skills from specific course designed for those skills instead of degree programs.