As every industry has started utilizing technology more to operate economically and effectively, the career outlooks for a software engineer look better and better. This isn't an easy career path, as you would have to constantly adjust to changing technology and client demands.
However, if you can develop the right set of skills, you'll have great employment prospects. Software engineers enjoy collaborative work environments, high salary packages, career growth and other perks that come with the job. This guide will help you figure out the kind of work you might do as a software engineer, and the types of jobs you might have.
What is a Software Engineer?
In simple terms, a software engineer is a person who applies software principles across the different phases of building a service or product. You would act as a tech professional working on designing, developing, testing, and maintenance of the software demands of your client. This could involve building an application, developing algorithms, or maintaining your company's professional software.
Your exact tasks would vary depending on your employer, but you're going to need specialized education to fulfill the role. Software engineers generally can code in multiple computer languages and are familiar with a variety of computer programs.
The Future of Software Engineering
The most direct way to describe the future of software engineering is as highly lucrative. A report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that software development job opportunities are projected to grow by 22% by 2030. In comparison, other professions are only projected an 8% increase. The average starting salary of a software engineer is currently $77,000 per annum, and that figure is likely to grow over time. With a growing focus on artificial intelligence, machine learning, mixed reality interfaces, and other tech trends, there are a lot of careers options for software engineers.
As everything from household appliances to cars becomes ‘smart', this career can let you become a part of a number of different industries. While it is a specialized degree, you could combine it with your other passions. For example, if you're an activist, you could work to develop software for NGOs. If you're a car enthusiast, you can develop self-driving interfaces. The sky is the limit with a software engineering degree.
What You Need for This Field
While a lucrative career option, there are certain requirements you need to meet.
The minimum for this field is a bachelor's in software development or a related field. Some employers may ask for a master's or even a Ph.D. as well. However, there are those companies that are willing to hire people who have attended enough codingbootcamps. Most bootcamps are around three months long, and a cheaper alternative to college. They can be a good way to get your foot in the door if you're looking to switch industries, but for the best employment prospects you should look into getting a formal education in the tech field. If traditional college is not possible due to financial or time-related reasons, you can look into online programs.
As for soft skills, you would need patience, attention to detail, and the ability to communicate. As you might spend hours working on code to correct an issue, you need to be able to remain focused for long periods of time. Technology constantly evolves, so you need to be willing to learn and adapt as time goes on. Moreover, you might have to speak with clients and managers as you progress in your field, so good communication skills are essential.
A study conducted by Harvard found that 37% of employers rank experience over education when it comes to making hiring decisions. A degree shows the hiring manager that you have the technical skills needed, but it doesn't explain your abilities, as well as experience does. Your past work experience can show employers the range of projects you've developed and highlight your sense of responsibility. It also shows them that you know how to be a team player. You can consider an entry-level position like a support technician or an internship to bolster your resume.
Jobs With High Earning Potential
Here is a list of some of the jobs you could work in this field.
- Web Developer
You may have heard the terms frontend and backend developer before. Frontend is the part of software that the user deals with, like a website's interface, while the backend is comprised of components such as serves and databases. You can specialize in one of both of these fields. If you work as both, you'd be a full-stack developer, which is a highly sought-after role due to the lack of competition.
- Application Developer
App develops code, test and upgrade apps for a variety of systems, such as android and iOS smartphones and tablets, as well as MacOS, Linux and Windows computers. You may work in the development from the ground up, resolve any bugs that occur throughout the process, and help upgrade the software after launch. This career can be both fixed, working for a single company, or you could operate as a freelancer.
- Video Game Designer
A lot of people enter the software field to work on the games they love. Game designers tend to specialize in part of the game's development, such as working on characters, landscapes, or interfaces. This work is highly collaborative, and it's a great way to combine something you love with your technical skills. You could even enter this field as a tester who provides feedback on games before release.
Along with development, software engineers also play a pivotal role in protecting a company's digital assets. Cybersecurity experts provide technical support, backups, bug fixes and malware protection for businesses. You would work for a company's in-house team, or as part of an external IT firm. As cyberattacks become more common and innovative, this field of the tech sector is likely to grow rapidly.
Software engineering is one of the best careers you can choose in today's climate. The well-paid jobs and career growth opportunities make it a perfect fit for anyone who is technically inclined and ambitious. Whether you're picking your major for college or thinking of switching careers altogether, software engineering should definitely be under consideration.