How to Become a Software Engineer

This article provides in-depth information into What is a Software Engineer? What Software Engineer do? Degrees for Software Engineer, Steps to become Software Engineer and much more.


Computer software engineers apply the principles and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and the systems that enable computers to perform their many applications.

What does a Software Engineer do ?

A software engineer is a person who designs an original piece of software or improves an existing piece by finding ways to make it better in quality, price, or running speed.

  • Gather requirements for the software from the customer.

  • Give inputs and feedbacks for the existing software.

  • Build different software modules and integrate them.

  • Ensure all the components of the software are in sync with each other.

  • Testing all modules of software to ensure proper functioning of the software under various conditions.

  • Making standard documentation of software to help other engineers to understand the functionality

  • Work as a team with other software engineers to achieve a common goal.


Steps for becoming a Software Engineer

1

Earn A Bachelor’s Degree

Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to become a software engineer. A bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field with emphasis on mathematics and programming language can also help a student land a job as software engineer.

2

Get An Internship

Doing an internship during the bachelor's program is an excellent way to gain real-world training and network with potential employers. Internships are usually of three to six months and student works on projects.

3

Get An Entry-Level Job

After completing the Bachelor’s degree get an entry-level job at a tech firm. Demand for software engineers are continuously growing and getting an entry level job will be easy. After gaining experience you can either decide to pursue a master’s degree or look for better opportunity.

4

Earn A Master’s Degree

Master’s degree is suitable for those who want to advance their career. A master’s degree in software engineering opens a new opportunity for students and qualifies them for leadership and management positions.

5

Get Certified

In the field of software engineering skills are valued the most. Software engineering is precise and technical, and gaining certification verifies an applicant’s knowledge and abilities. A combination of experience and certification will increase a candidate’s marketability.


Software Engineer Salaries

Software Engineer

Software Engineer Degree Levels

Associate

An associate degree in software engineering takes around two years to finish. The associate degree can be a valuable path for understudies who need a degree to take on an entry level software engineering position without investing the energy and cash getting a four-year degree. To sweeten the deal even further, some associate degrees can fill in as stepping stones to getting a four-year college education later on.

Database management systems
  • Commonly used DBMS

  • Relational and object-oriented databases

  • Data mining

Objectives
  • Learn how database management systems work

  • How to design and create a database

  • How to implement systems within an organization

Operating systems
  • OS Programming Languages

  • Computer Architecture

  • File management techniques

Objectives
  • To understand Foundational concepts

  • Fundamental principles of operating system design and operation

  • Interactions among the various components

Networking
  • Network security protocols

  • Types of networks

  • Network design considerations

Objectives
  • To understand basic principles of networks

  • Role software in their functionality and application

  • Defining Protocols

Bachelors

Software engineering gives students the best chance of finding ideal employment, the bachelor’s in software engineering is worth pursuing. In fact, most entry-level software engineering positions will require this four-year degree. Some more advanced positions may require a master’s degree in software engineering. In that case, a bachelor’s degree could be a prerequisite to admission. In this course, students develop a comprehensive understanding of programming, software architecture, and software testing. They may also take specialized courses in application areas, such as networking or embedded systems.

Object-oriented software development
  • Computer programming expressions

  • Programming logic

  • Understanding how fields and methods work

Objectives
  • Learn advanced programming language

  • Design patterns

  • Frameworks and toolkits

Computer security
  • Disaster and data loss recovery

  • User access methods

  • Fundamentals of cryptography

Objectives
  • An overview of computer security

  • Ethical, legal and practical considerations

  • Fundamental notions of threat, vulnerability, attack, and countermeasure

Project management
  • Understanding project lifecycles

  • Project planning

  • Risk management

Objectives
  • Techniques and methods for designing and developing software projects

  • Completing the project on schedule and on budget

  • Software development life cycle (SDLC)

Masters

A master’s degree in software engineering takes around two years to finish. Many programs are designed for students who are working full-time. The master’s degree not only provides additional knowledge of the software engineering field but also offers education in management and leadership, so that graduates can take on more complex projects, be able to successfully coordinate those projects and work well with a team.

Mathematical modeling
  • Quantification of variables

  • Applying models to real-world problems

  • Identification of models

Objectives
  • Introduction to mathematical models

  • Understanding and predicting natural phenomenon and human nature

  • Create mathematical models

Software design
  • Object-oriented programming

  • Designing programs

  • Analysis of codes

Objectives
  • To examine different programming languages

  • characteristics of software creation

  • Classical and evolving software engineering methods

Software testing
  • How to troubleshoot

  • Methods of debugging

  • Analyzing and interpreting test results

Objectives
  • Tools and techniques for practical testing of software

  • Analyzing theoretical testing models

  • Test Administration

Doctorate

While Ph.D. programs in software engineering do exist, they are far less common than the bachelor’s or master’s degree. Usually taking at least four years to complete, Ph.D. software engineering degrees are often research-oriented, culminating with a dissertation. In addition, students will take focused classes on very specific areas of software engineering, such as robotics, distributed systems, software security and quantitative research methods. A Ph.D. is usually necessary for those who desire a career in research or academia, such as teaching at a college or university.

Software modeling and design
  • Identification of design concepts

  • Unified Modeling Language

  • object-oriented software architectures

Objectives
  • Principles for developing large scale software systems

  • Development of quality software

  • Modeling of software elements

Economics of software engineering
  • Quantitative modeling of software lifecycle

  • Cost-benefit analysis

  • software evaluation metrics

Objectives
  • Designing and managing software

  • Performance Models & Cost-Effective Models

  • Minimum Available Budget

Software engineering for the internet
  • Interactive web application

  • Client-server programming methods

  • Understanding middleware

Objectives
  • Effective web-based software and applications

  • Security risks

  • Opportunity for wide-area distributed computing

Certificate

Professional certifications in software engineering establish an individual’s qualifications within the field. Certifications demonstrate a conceptual understanding and technical expertise in specific areas of the profession.

C++ Certification
  • Object-Oriented Programming
  • Classes

  • Operator overloading

Objectives
  • Complex C/C++ programming techniques

  • Mastering C++ programming

  • Object-oriented approach and its vocabulary

IEEE Professional Software Developer Certification
  • Detailed Design

  • Implementation

  • Testing

Objectives
  • Knowledge of software engineering requirements

  • Design, construction, and testing of Software

Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
  • Programming tools

  • Software-engineering issues

  • Concurrency

Objectives
  • To understand development tools

  • Application lifecycle management

  • Universal Windows Platform


Software engineer’s salary

A Software engineer working in the United states can earn an average salary of $68,902 annually as determined by the Bureau of Labour Statistics 2020. The salary typically ranges between $61,272 and $76,025 and this vastly depends on factors such as education, certification, amount of experience and additional skills that enhance your profile.

Job growth

According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics 2020, the employment opportunities for a software engineer is projected to grow about 21 percent over the period of 2018 to 2028 which is faster than the average growth of a job. With the blooming information technology and computer softwares, the field opens more offers to potential engineers.

Job concentrations

With the computer and software knowledge, the software engineers can opt various other alternative career concentrations available to them, they are,

Computer and information research scientist:

The Computer and information research scientist are professionals who are responsible to design and develop new technologies and innovate new ideas to add on to the existing technology. The computing methodologies and approaches are advanced and researches that can be used in various other fields such as medicine, science, business.you are required to earn a master’s degree for this job that fetches you around $118,370 annually.

Computer and information system manager:

The Computer and information system managers are responsible to administer the technologies related to network security, internet, operations and softwares. This also includes the installation, maintenance, updates of the computer hardware. This requires a bachelor's degree and you could earn about $142,530 per year.

Computer hardware engineer:

The computer hardware designers create, design, develop softwares and test these computer systems  to analyse the test results.  This helps in modifying the existing softwares and overseeing the process. To land on this profession you require a Bachelor's degree and can earn an average salary of $114,600.

Computer network architects:

The Computer network architects are trained to  design and build the data communications networks which include the local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets. There may be a vast range of networking such as small connections or global communication systems. A bachelor's degree is required for this job role and you could earn about $109,020 per year.

Computer programmer:

A computer programmer is focused on the designing, development, writing and testing  the source code created in the programming languages. He programs are a set of instructions given to the computer to perform a specific task. Hence the program is written so that it is understood by the computer. You are required to get a bachelor's degree to choose this profession and you could earn up to $84,280 annually.

Stand out skills for a software engineer

The software engineers have extensive knowledge on the computer systems and programming, however to achieve an overall success in the career, there are other skills to be developed, they are, 

Analytical skills: Softwares engineers must analyse the needs of the user to develop softwares accordingly. Collection of data and suitable analysis helps in developing a user friendly software.

Communication skills: communication is a keep which helps in converting proper instructions to the teammates working on the project. Also to interact with the customers to give a demo on how the software works.communication helps in putting the ideas clearly and all use to answer the users questions about the software you developed.

Detail oriented: While programming and coding, you are required to be observant and detail oriented so that the errors are minimalistic and to ensure all the necessary features are added to the software in the development phase. 

Interpersonal skills: Interpersonal skills such as leadership skills, being an initiator, motivator helps in working well with others through your contribution to the work. This helps in an organised development, designing, implementation and testing of the software.

Problem-solving skills

There may be various issues and challenges arising during the development of the software where you must overcome those issues as you are involved in the progress from the stars to end. Hence, solving the problems through the process helps in completing the work sooner.