How to Become a Software Engineer

Written by

George D. Baker


August 14, 2014


How to Become a Software EngineerComputer software engineers are needed to design and develop computer programs and to meet the ever-changing needs of the users in today’s computer-driven world. From the boardroom to the chatroom, individuals and corporations alike are extremely dependent on computer technology and software. Learn how to become a software engineer and browse software engineer salary info and degree programs.

What does a software engineer do?

Software engineers apply computer science and mathematical analysis principles to the development, design, and assessment of computer systems software and computer applications software that enable computers to perform specific tasks. Software engineers analyze the needs of users and then design, develop, and test software to meet those needs, which run the gamut – from business applications or computer games to operating systems or word processing programs.

Software engineers are generally classified into two separate specialties: computer applications software engineers and computer systems software engineers. Computer applications software engineers analyze the needs of users to design, create, and maintain broad-focused computer applications software or specific utility programs. Computer systems software engineers are responsible for building, maintaining, and developing computer systems for organizations, such as for payroll or intranet.

What kind of training & skills does a software engineer need?

To become a software engineer, at least an undergraduate degree is necessary. The majority of employers hire candidates hold a bachelor degree and have relevant work experience with many different computer systems and technologies. Most software engineers have a bachelor degree in computer science, computer information systems, or software engineering. For more complicated jobs, graduate degrees may be required. Approximately 80% of software engineers had at least a bachelor degree in 2015. 

What are the prospects for a career in software engineering? Job outlook

Software engineering jobs are expected to be one of the fastest growing, and is expected to increase by 38% by 2016, with close to 324,000 new jobs added. Job opportunities are increasing partly as a result of businesses integrating new advanced technologies.

The best job prospects will be for job seekers that have a minimum of a bachelor degree in computer engineering or computer science partnered with relevant work experience. Software engineers must also constantly update their skills and knowledge to remain competitive and adapt to the rapid changes and advances in computer technology.

Software Engineer Salary: How much do software engineers make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2015, the median annual software engineer salary was $83,130, with the middle 50 percent earning salaries between $65,810 and $102,710. The software engineer salary for the highest 10% was above $125,260. The median annual computer systems software engineer salary salary was $89,070, with the middle 50 percent earning salaries between $70,710 and $109,320. The highest 10% earned salaries above $130,850. (1)

Software engineers must be detail-oriented, precise and adaptable. They must be able to work well under heavy deadlines, solve technical problems, be able to multitask and be methodical.

Becoming a Software Engineer Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Software Engineer? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  George D. Baker

George D. Baker is a long-time contributor to College Mouse. Now retired, Mr. Baker volunteers at adult education programs in his local community.

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