How to Become a Software Engineer
Software engineering is a fast-growing occupation with a
high salary potential. From computer operating systems to video games, many of
the products we rely upon today are supported by software.
Software engineers specialize in either computer software
applications or computer software systems. They analyze usersí needs and then
design, test, and develop software by applying the theories and principles of
computer science and mathematical analysis. Computers and information technology
play a prominent role in our daily lives and in the business world, so there is
a constant need to develop new software.
Software Engineer Education Degree Requirements
Depending on the employer, software engineer education degree requirements range
from an associateís degree to a masterís degree. An associateís degree might be
sufficient for some entry-level positions, but a bachelorís degree is required
for most software engineering jobs, while more complex jobs might require a
masterís degree. Employers place a high value on relevant experience, so it is
recommended that you participate in internships while pursuing your degree.
Aspiring software engineers usually major in computer science, computer
information systems, software engineering or mathematics. Some students take
programming and software engineering classes to supplement a degree in another
field, such as accounting, business or finance. You can also pursue relevant
certifications offered by software vendors and training institutions.
Software engineers must have strong problem-solving and communication skills and
an aptitude for math and science. They should also possess good programming
capability; an in-depth knowledge of programming languages, like C++, C#, and
Java; an attention to detail; and an ability to handle multiple tasks at once.
Becoming a Software Engineer: Career Outlook
Software engineers are involved in all aspects of software creation, from
writing code to debugging programs to overseeing the launch of new software.
They often start out writing code but eventually advance to senior positions,
working as software architects or project managers. In a software engineer
career, itís essential to keep up with the latest advancements, because
technology is constantly evolving. Having strong interpersonal and management
skills is also crucial since software engineers often collaborate with
marketing, manufacturing, and design professionals in creating new software.
Job opportunities for software engineers are expected to grow much faster than
the average for all occupations. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
the overall employment of computer software developers is expected to increase
by 30% percent from 2010 to 2020. The demand for software engineers is
increasing because of the Internetís expansion and the growing complexity of
data-processing systems used in business, telecommunications, healthcare, and
government. Some worry that offshore outsourcing may put a damper on employment
growth for software engineers, but there will still likely be a need for skilled
software developers domestically, because the job requires significant research,
development, and innovation.
Software engineering sometimes involves long hours and tight deadlines, so it
can be stressful. Software engineers work in comfortable settings, however, and
telecommuting is becoming increasingly common. The salaries of software
engineers vary depending on education, experience, and skill level. According to
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary of computer
applications software developers was $89,280 in 2011, while computer systems
software developers earned $96,600.
Named one of the 50 Best Careers by US News and World Report, software
engineering is a fast-growing occupation with a promising future. Consider
becoming a software engineer if you like computers and want to work in a
well-compensated field with excellent career prospects.
TAGS: How to Become a Software Engineer
, Software engineering
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