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.

Get Professional Software Engineer Help by Outsourcing

There is a growing trend among companies today to outsource their IT tasks to software engineers to give themselves a cost-friendly way to get top-notch technology.  If you’re not sure about what, exactly, a software engineer can do for your company or what kind of qualifications you can expect to find, here are a few points to keep in mind:

Software Customization and Design – If you have a piece of software that you want customized to fit your needs or you would like a specific program developed to meet your exact needs, a software engineer can help.

Implementation – Getting the right software is only half of the battle – you have to be able to implement it and use it properly.  A software engineer can help with all steps in the implementation process and can provide training to end-users.

System Maintenance – At some point, your software will need some routine maintenance to ensure that it is still as optimal as possible.  A software engineer can help with this and can also help you forecast the maintenance costs and useful life for software and/or technology that your company may be considering. 

Compatibility – Software does not exist on its own, it requires interfacing with other technology and hardware to work.  A software engineer can help you determine what software is compatible with your current facilities or what you need to upgrade/change to make new software work. 

Troubleshooting – Valuable time and money is lost any time your system is down or runs slow.  Consulting with a software engineer is a good way to identify recurring problems and fix them to improve your efficiency. 

A software engineer could be exactly what your business needs to turn itself around.  A professional with a diverse background in software design and IT maintenance can be the missing link that enables you to get the most out of your technology.

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.