Software engineer career

Firstly, in this post, we will focus on how to become a software engineer or get started with a software engineer career.

How to become a software engineer

What does a Software Engineer do?

A software engineer is someone who uses software engineering in design, maintenance, development, evaluation and also testing of computer software. This is however quite a wide definition as the exact description is still under debate. Many people working in this field also call themselves software programmers or developers for this reason.

How to become a software engineer. Young man at laptop

So what does a day in the life of a software engineer look like?

Software Engineers are usually office bound and work within companies or as independent contractors. The normal scenario is that of a 9-5 office job, but as there is an increasing market for remote work, those with specialist knowledge can find work remotely or online. Of course, remote work would not be restricted to 9-5 or an office. Consequently, it could be suitable for anywhere where you can use a computer.

Regardless of the setting, software engineers spend most of their time at a keyboard, staring at a computer screen. Therefore this would not be the position for you if you struggle to sit still or prefer an active lifestyle.

A day in the life of a software engineer is quite set in a routine.

Skills and Responsibilities of a software engineer

Constantly learning about technological advances and new developments is probably the most important thing you will have to do as a software engineer. Many other skills will also be useful, these include:

  • Ability and willingness to work alone or in teams
  • Attention to detail
  • Active listening
  • Critical thinking
  • An organised approach to work
  • Analytical active approach to problem-solving
  • Adaptability / Flexibility

As a software engineer, you have to keep up with a fast-changing environment keeping abreast with constant technological advances. Although tasks and responsibility vary according to company and actual position, most software engineers have the following responsibilities:

  • analyse user requirements
  • write and test code
  • investigate new technologies
  • maintain systems by monitoring and correcting software defects
  • write operational documentation with technical authors
  • write systems to control the scheduling of jobs or to control the access allowed to users or remote systems
  • continually update technical knowledge and skills by attending in-house and external courses, reading manuals and accessing new applications.
  • work closely with other staff, such as project managers, graphic artists, UX designers, other developers, systems analysts and sales and marketing professionals
  • develop existing programs
  • evaluate software and systems that make computers work
  • maintain systems by monitoring and correcting software defects
  • create technical specifications
  • integrate existing software products and get incompatible platforms to work together
  • research, design and write new software programs

Qualification

A software engineer should subsequently be a graduate with some technical ability. Consequently, a study of the following subjects would be beneficial:

  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Computer Software

There are a few education pathways, but mostly it is dependent on a Bachelors degree.

Salary expectations for a software engineer

According to Glassdoor, the salary expectations for a Software Engineer is around £37 469 per year as of 29 October 2018. Payscale’s salary expectations are at £34 732. These will, however, vary greatly according to location, company, experience and hours worked.

Finding employment as a software engineer

Women are currently also very underrepresented in the IT industry. Subsequently, the gender imbalance in the industry is well known. Women who want to work in this field should, therefore, visit Women in Technology

To look for employment as a software engineer, also try these websites.

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