Computer Software Engineer Jobs – Career Explained

Computer software engineer jobs provide excellent career opportunities for technology minded people with skills and education for the 21st century. The salary is excellent, and the demand for this job should remain high for many years to come. As a computer software engineer, you may be responsible for creating business applications, computer games and word processing software; designing and developing software; developing programs to communicate with operating systems and putting together operating systems and network communications. With career information and an understanding of the degrees needed, you should be ready to decide if this career is right for you.

The degrees needed for computer software engineer jobs sometimes vary depending on the company you are applying for, but most software engineers have a bachelor’s degree in some field of computer system technology. This is one of the fastest growing jobs in our technology driven society, but you will also need to continue your training throughout your career to keep up with the job market. With continued education, you will always be able to design and develop software long into the future.

Computer software engineer jobs include the responsibility to analyze the needs of the business or organization they work for and to ensure that the programs in place are designed specifically to meet those needs. This requires analyses, testing, creation, computer language programming, coding, development and maintenance. This job requires knowledge of many different programming languages such as C, C++ and Java, as well as an eagerness to learn new skills and technologies as they become necessary. You can expect to earn anywhere from $52,570 to $79,625 as you’re annual salary as a computer software engineer. And with continued education and experience, you will be able to earn more money and move forward with your career.

You will have many career opportunities all over the world as a computer software engineer. Whether you want to live in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, small suburbs throughout the United States or even abroad, there will be work available if you are willing to find it. It is an excellent job choice if you have the skills.

Software Engineer Resume

Software Engineering is a highly complex and technical industry that is constantly evolving due to technological advances. The work of this involves the application of computer science and mathematics in the design and implementation in a variety of solutions. Even though the position is open to all graduates with technical competency and knowledge of various computer programming languages and applications, a degree in a computer related or business discipline like computer science, electrical or electronic engineering, mathematics and physics may be advantageous for the applicant. It is also important to enumerate a detailed job description as it will highlight your capabilities and experience to gain an edge with the numerous software engineers applying for the same position. Remember that you need to put yourself high on the market to get the attention of your future employer.

A software engineer is responsible for the development of a full life cycle application. The process starts by evaluating user requirements that will be included in the development of application. This involves researching, designing, evaluating, testing, fault finding and debugging of a new program. It can be a computer game, a business application, an operating system or advanced software to control a highly technical hardware and equipment. Alternatively, an engineer must also have the ability to integrate an existing software product to an old system by making incompatible platforms to work together. This is usually done by analyzing existing programs and identifying areas for modification. He is also in charge in maintaining systems by monitoring and correcting software defects. An engineer also teams up with technical authors in writing operational documentation, technical specifications and test plans.

Getting hired does not mean that a software engineer’s pursuit for job is over. He must continually update his technical knowledge and skills by attending in house or external training and courses, reading manuals, investigating new technologies and accessing application.

Why a Career As a Software Engineer is Not Sound

I believe the value (or pay) of a person in the market is defined by the following factors:
1) innate qualities
2) knowledge & experience
3) people skills & network

Innate qualities are born with, including appearance, intelligence, personality, etc. And educational background, academic performance, etc, are closely related with one’s innate qualities. But since it’s almost impossible to improve this aspect, it’s useless to say too much about it.

Knowledge & experience, people skills & network are the two aspects that differentiates people’s value (pay). However, a career in IT excels in neither fields on the long term.

The following are my reasons. Now and then, I will refer to the three factors mentioned above.

1 IT is a fast-changing industry by its nature, so in most domains of technology, knowledge is hard to accumulate steadily. A 20-year software engineer is likely the same as a 10-year software engineer in terms of knowledge (but inferior in terms of energy level).

1.1 Some might argue that a good software accumulates a set of knowledge (such as desgin patterns, algorithms, debugging experience) that survives the fast-changing industry, but the fact is that these account only for a very small portion of knowledge required for real projects.

1.2 Also, some might argue that there are domains of technology that changes slower, such as system-level programming (compiler, OS). This is true, and one might be lucky enough to accumulate a huge amount of expertise. But the risk of such a career is still high. Since one is very deep into one technology, once the technology is out-of-date the penalty is severe. This is the nature of technology, it will be out-of-date sooner than many other things such as people skills & network.

1.3 Well, going deep in one technology is risky, then what about going wide in many technologies as a generalist engineer? But rarely are there any projects need such kind of people instead of experts of each individual domain of technology.

2 In addition to the fast-changing nature of the IT industry, limited personal influence also contributes to the low ceiling of the career. A good engineer cannot directly make other people on the team better software engineers, while a good manager can directly make the whole team, divsion, or even the company succeed. With many other careers such as sales, surgeons, traders, the vital difference is that sales, surgeons, traders play a greater role as an individual, while a software project requires a team of 30 to 3000 people.

2.1 Moreover, sales, surgeons, traders also deal with people, that makes them potential people managers in future, while software engineers deal with technology which hardly leads them to people management roles. In fact, most senior managers in IT are not previous software engineers. The point is that software engineers accumulate little in terms of people skills & network.

3 The IT industry is also infamous for its locations. Since the nature of the career requires little interaction with customers, software engineers often have to work in remote locations with lower rent or undeveloped districts with lower pay. The suburban sci-tech parks in China and the outsourcing trend in the U.S. are respective evidence of such claim.

4 Software engineers are not very much respected. The reason could be comprehensive. I personally believe that it is closely related with the low pay growth.