What is the Job of a Software Engineer? Top Jobs and Careers

By | September 29, 2017
Software engineering jobs

Software engineering offers various exciting and rewarding careers options.

What is the Job of a Software Engineer? Top Jobs and Careers

Are you thinking of starting a career as a software engineer and want to know what jobs they do? If so, then you are on the right page. This post will help answer the question, “What is the job of a software engineer?” that you may have.

Please, keep reading:

What is the Job of a Software Engineer?

A software engineer may also be called a computer software engineer, software developer, software architect, or a software development engineer.

He/she applies his knowledge of mathematical, computer science, and engineering principles in designing and developing computer software, ensuring they are well integrated into existing technologies to perform perfectly.

A software developer can be involved in the creation of various software, including computer games, operating systems, middleware, network control, and business applications systems. More specialty areas continue to emerge for software engineers as technologies continue to change rapidly.

In general, software engineers can be grouped into two categories, namely:

  • Applications Engineers: These engineers have the responsibility to create new software applications or adapt existing applications to meet the needs of organizations or business entities. Their role entails analyzing the needs of the end user, designing, building, installing, and maintaining the software programs or applications.
  • Systems Engineers: these engineers are involved with an organization or business’ computer operating system by coordinating its creation, maintaining, and growing it. They help in coordinating the needs of each department and providing advice on the technical direction of the firm or organization. They are also responsible for developing the systems that control the networks that link up computers within the organization.

The typical job process of a software engineer entails five steps:

1. Understanding project’s requirements.

The beginning of any software creation project involves getting to know the requirements for the project. The engineer will need to know from the client all what they want the software to achieve.

Having a good understanding of the project’s requirement will enable the engineer create the perfect solution that leaves nothing out. That makes the client happy.

2. Analyzing requirements and designing blueprints

After the software developer has received the project’s requirements, he/she then analyzes the information received to determine a number of factors, such as the project’s feasibility, viability, cost, time, and expertise required to achieve the project.

After completing the analysis, the engineer then designs a blueprint or framework in form of patterns and flow charts to guide the creation of the software.

3. Coding and building the software

Here is the stage where the engineer starts coding to convert the requirements to the desired software. He/she will be guided by the blueprint designed earlier.

The requirements are broken up into several units with each unit worked on separately. After they are done, they are tested separately to check if they work fine.

And if they do, they are then integrated into one piece and tested again, correct any error until the software is working perfectly as a piece.

4. Reviewing and testing the software.

The software needs to be reviewed and tested further by more experienced engineers to ensure it is of the best quality before delivering it to the client.

They check to see that the code is effective, complete, and cannot be hacked. And that the software perfectly meets the client’s requirements.

5. Deploy software for use and perform periodic maintenance.

With everything okay, the software is now ready to be deployed for use. Depending on the contract with the client, the software team may then be responsible for making some changes to improve the performance of the software and maintaining it after it has been deployed for use.

Software Engineer Job Description, Duties, and Responsibilities

Software engineers perform various roles depending on the company they work for and their position in the organization.

Here is a highlight of the duties and responsibilities that may make up the job description of a software engineer in a company involved in software development:

  • Architecturally handle complex technical problems
  • Transform high level requirements to engineering requirements and make sure requirements are correctly and effectively implemented and code verified
  • Carry out design, development, and testing of software solutions; apply software design methodology in implementing software systems in real time
  • Display solid knowledge and understanding of database and algorithm implementation, as well as programming data-structure
  • Implement features by sticking to all development standards
  • Recognize solutions on medium complex technical problems
  • Prepare documentation for code review and participate in it
  • Ensure project standards and practices are established, implemented, and monitored.

Top Software Engineering Jobs and Salaries

Software engineering jobs are expected to rise by 17 percent from 2014 to 2024 according to information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS. This is much more than the average for all occupation.

Below is a highlight of the reasons why computer software engineering jobs will increase into 2024 and the sectors where more employments are expected:

  • Increasing use of mobile devices and tablets will spike the need for new applications to be developed for them, which will increase employment for application software developers.
  • Innovative software will be needed by the health and medical insurance and reinsurance carriers to administer enrolments on new healthcare policy as well as digitally manage current policies. Jobs for software engineers will increase as more people use this digital platform.
  • More products, such as consumer electronics, cell phones, and appliances will use software, which will increase jobs for systems developers to build computer systems into them.
  • Issues of computer security threat could lead to greater investment in security software to safeguard electronic infrastructure and computer networks, leading to more jobs and employments for software developers.
  • Increasing use of software on the Internet is likely to result in lower costs as the years go by. This will allow more businesses to develop more applications, creating more jobs for software engineers.

Software Engineer Salary

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for software engineers in May 2016 was $102,280. The top paying industries include computer and electronic product manufacturing, $115,920; software publishers, $109,680; finance and insurance, $103,090; management of companies and enterprises, $100,130; and computer systems design and related services, $100,080.

By category, applications software developers earned a median annual salary of $100,080 in May 2016, while systems software developers earned $106,860.

Skills and Qualities for Software Engineers

To be effective on the job, computer software engineers need to have the following skills and qualities:

  • Possess excellent communication, organizational, and multi-tasking skills
  • Excellent previous success record and grades
  • Strong computing skills and knowledge of various software programming languages, such as JavaScript, Python, C++, C#, Perl, and Ruby
  • Solid knowledge of SQL and relational databases
  • Solid knowledge of JavaScript, CSS, and HTML
  • Expertise in Object-Oriented programming, including knowledge of patterns and design principles
  • Strong ability to fix complex software issues and learn fast
  • Creative mindset and detailed-oriented individual with excellent problem solving skills
  • Strong analytical and inter-personal skills.

How to Become a Software Engineer: Training and Career Guide

You can become a computer software engineer by pursuing a Bachelor’s degree program in computer science, software engineering, or mathematics, or in a related field, and having strong computer programming skills.

You may be able to learn how software development works by self study and get a job coding, but you may not be able to get a real software developer job where you will be responsible for planning and designing software, without a degree.

So, a degree is necessary to advance in the career; in fact, some software engineering positions, especially management and leadership positions may require a Master’s degree.

You can start preparing for the software engineering career earlier if that is what you want to do by learning programming languages even in high school, as well as improving your math skills.

You should take classes relating to building software to increase your knowledge and prepare you adequately for the occupation.

How to Make a Career Change to Software Engineering

If you have been in a different career and desires to make a change to software engineering, you can go ahead, it’s actually possible to do so., and here is how to achieve the goal:

Learn computer programming yourself:

You can learn computer programming yourself by using online tutorials and/or seeking help from friends who are experts in the field.

You can also teach yourself programming by taking a massive open online course (MOOC), as well as work with other programmers on GitHub if you have some experience.

And if you have a budget and free time, you can take a coding bootcamp online.

Take a bachelor’s degree program:

You may not be able to get a major software developer job without a degree even if you have been able to develop programming skills yourself.

You will need to take a Bachelor’s degree program to be able to advance your career, so find a suitable program online to enroll in.

You can also take a Master’s degree in software engineering if you already have a Bachelor’s degree in any field and some coding skills.

Ways to Quickly Advance Your Software Developer Career

You can move quickly higher in your software engineering career by taking the following steps:

Enroll in an internship program:

One of the best ways to learn and improve your skills in certain areas like java, SQL or XML is to enrol in an internship program with a technology company.

You can find one after completing your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. It will give you the opportunity to improve your skills by working on specific projects where the skills are required.

Decide on specializing in an area:

It’s best to specialize in a programming language or on a type of development. This will help you quickly become an expert in your area of specialty, and that will increase your chances of success as a software engineer.

Consider getting certified:

Becoming certified can improve your profile, which can positively affect your ability to land bigger jobs or contracts.

There are certification exams offered by Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, and other technology vendors that you can take. There are also those offered by professional organizations such as IEEE.


Software engineering offers various exciting career options you can decide to pursue if you like computing and math.

This post helps you learn more about the jobs of software engineers and how you can successfully start a career in the occupation.

Did this post effectively answer the question, “What is the job of a software engineer?”? Please, leave a comment in the box below. Do also share what you do as a computer software developer if you work as one.

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