Software engineering is the branch of computer science that encompasses software applications' design, development, testing, and maintenance. Software engineers use engineering principles and their knowledge of programming languages to build software solutions for end users. If you're an analytical thinker who enjoys solving problems and making digital products easier to use, you may find the field of software engineering rewarding. Are you interested in starting a career as a software engineer in the USA? Read on to learn how you can!
What Do Software Engineers Do?
Software engineers develop everything from computer games to network control systems using the right programming languages, platforms, and architectures. While building their own systems, software engineers also test, improve, and maintain software created by other engineers.
As a software engineer, you may be tasked with the following:
- Designing and maintaining software systems
- Evaluating and testing new software programs
- Optimizing software for speed and scalability
- Writing and testing code
- Consulting with clients, engineers, security specialists, and other stakeholders
- Presenting new features to stakeholders and internal customers
Software engineers tend to fall into the categories of system developers or application developers. Systems developers (sometimes referred to as backend engineers) build things like computer systems and networks that front-end (or user-facing) applications will need. Application developers work on the front or back of the system, designing software that the end user will interact with.
What Degree is Required to Be a Software Engineer?
Some employers may require a certain degree, like a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Software Engineering or a BS in Computer Science with a concentration in Software Engineering. However, getting a job as a software engineer typically involves building the right technical and workplace skills. There are many ways to enhance your skill set, like enrolling in coding boot camps, doing internships, and building your own side software engineering projects.
If you would like to become a software engineer, some skills you may want to focus on building include:
- Coding languages like Python, Java, C, C++, or Scala
- Object-oriented programming
- Database architecture
- Agile and Scrum project management
- Operating systems
- Cloud computing
- Version control
- Design testing and debugging
- Attention to detail
Employers may also require certain certifications. Certifications, which build new skills and validate those skills to potential employers, that you may earn include:
- Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP)
- Certified Software Engineer
- C Certified Professional Programmer (CLP)
- C++ Certified Professional Programmer (CPP)
- AWS Certified Developer
- Microsoft Certified: Azure Fundamentals
Why Should I Pursue a Career as a Software Engineer?
As technology continues to evolve, the need for software developers continues to grow at a much faster than average rate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A career in software engineering offers the opportunity to work in many different industries, ranging from finances to sports and much more. Software engineering is also a career that tends to provide flexibility. You may also have the opportunity to work from home for companies in other states or countries.
While working as a software engineer can be challenging, it is a career that tends to pay well. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual median salary for a software engineer in the U.S. is around $110,140.
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