At the heart of every software program is a hard-working software engineer who helps to develop, test, and maintain the system or application. Modern software systems are always evolving to meet the increasingly sophisticated needs of the modern consumer. As a software engineer, you’re positioned at the forefront of the latest technology trends. You’ll enjoy a front-row seat to the technology evolution, and a close hand in shaping what comes next.
As a software engineer, your education is never really finished. If you love learning and want to feature this as a key element of your career activities, a position as a software engineer may suit your needs. This is an exciting profession for anyone who finds the changing face of technology a fascinating sight.
Education and Experience Needed
You’ll need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree for a career as a software engineer. You should concentrate on a field such as software engineering or computer science. You should focus your education on classes that are specifically related to the software to best prepare yourself for a job in this competitive field. Many companies prefer applicants with a master’s degree, so you may want to consider continuing your education beyond a bachelor’s.
Acquaint yourself with as many computer systems as possible. Gaining certification in common software systems will help prepare you for a lucrative career as a software engineer. Focus on programs that are applicable to the industry you’re most interested in, whether you’re hoping to work in banking, security applications, e-commerce, or another area. Each type of software has its own distinct needs, and the better you know your industry, the better you can serve your customers.
According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a software engineer is $109,087 a year. Entry-level software engineers can expect to earn around $89,000 a year, while a software development engineer makes $117,000 on average, and a principal software engineer makes about $141,000 a year.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) paints a similar picture. Though numbers aren’t available for software engineers, the BLS reports that software developers, who may work on a variety of tasks including engineering, have median annual earnings of $102,280.
Targeting earnings in the six-figure range isn’t at all uncommon for a software engineer. Business Insider highlighted 18 companies that paid their software engineers over $110,000 a year in 2016. Among them were recognizable names such as eBay, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and PayPal.
Average Duties and Tasks
Software engineers bring the principles of engineering to software programs. Though you may associate software most closely with your computer, there’s software at work in many places, particularly in the way technology is growing. Everything from your Blu-ray player to your refrigerator may turn to software to perform essential functions.
A software engineer’s daily duties may include:
- Performing systems analysis
- Problem-solving issues with software products
- Installing and implementing software solutions
- Licensing software for use in a particular business
- Studying data use, system flow, and other elements to improve software
Every industry is unique, particularly with the broad range of products that now rely on software for essential functionality. Within their industry, software engineers will need to keep up with developing trends, the evaluation of consumer needs, and finding innovative software solutions that serve customers effectively and safely.
With a background as a software engineer, you’ll be poised for many job opportunities in similar fields if you find yourself ready for advancement. For example, computer hardware engineers work with the hardware rather than the software that’s involved in a system. They work on processors, routers, and other devices. At $115,000, the median annual salary for computer hardware engineers is slightly higher than that of software engineers.
Those who are interested in research and study might enjoy work as a computer and information research scientists. This career boasts a median annual salary of $111,840. You’ll need to advance your education with a master’s degree in information systems or computer science. As a research scientist, you’ll delve deeper into the complexities of computer systems and software to develop cutting-edge solutions.
If you’re interested in a management career, you might advance to a position as a computer and information systems manager. These professionals enjoy a median annual salary of $135,800. In a management role, you would be responsible for directing, planning, and coordinating computer development and maintenance throughout the company.
If you have a fascination with computer software and systems, a career as a software engineer could give you the opportunity to indulge your interests in a lucrative profession. Start preparing yourself now, with the right degree.