A software engineer is one of many career titles in a fast-growing, lucrative industry. Employment of computer and information technology occupations is expected to grow 13 percent by 2026, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is faster than the average for all occupations. The median annual wage for these occupations is $84,580. Software engineers earn nearly $20,000 more.
The following sections explore what a software engineer does and share information on educational requirements, salary and outlook.
What Does a Software Engineer Do?
A software engineer or developer plays a key role in the designing, installing, testing and maintenance for computer programs. The BLS notes that some professionals focus on creating applications that allow users to perform specific tasks on a computer or another device, while others are focused on helping create systems that run the devices or that control networks.
Typical duties include the following:
- Discussing client needs and then detailing program specifications to meet those needs
- Create models and diagrams, such as flow charts, to help programmers write code
- Design and test elements of the program
- Conduct regular maintenance to ensure proper functioning
- Correct problems as needed
- Update or adapt the program to new requirements
- Document the development process to reference future maintenance and upgrades
The engineer or developer may supervise a software project, acting as an information technology project manager. This role involves overseeing everything from the planning stages through implementation, and it includes ensuring that the project meets deadlines, standards and cost targets.
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How to Become a Software Engineer
Software developers — note that the term is used interchangeably with software engineers — typically have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field, according to the BLS. In some cases, employers prefer candidates to have a master’s degree.
The field requires a particular skill set for employment.
- Knowledge of new tools and computer languages
- Strong communication skills, including the ability provide instructions and explanations to non-technical coworkers and customers
- Ability to work well with others and lead a team
- Ability to concentrate and pay attention to detail
- Adept at solving problems that arise throughout the design process
Software Engineer Salary
The median annual wage for software developers (or software engineers) is $103,560, according to the BLS. This figure is a combination of those who work in systems software ($107,600) and applications ($101,790), and it is 20 percent more than workers in all computer occupations ($84,580).
In addition to high salary figures, software engineers enjoy a strong job outlook. Employment of software developers is expected to increase 24 percent by 2026, which more than triples the average for all occupations (7 percent). This is due to a large increase in the demand for computer software.
Pursue Your Career Goals in Software Engineering and More
Avila University’s fully online Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering degree program prepares you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed as a software engineer or information systems manager. Gain a deep understanding of the fundamentals of programming, technical systems analysis, data structures and management systems.
Avila also offers a fully online computer science degree that can help you pursue several computer and information technology roles like computer programmer, website developer and engineering manager. In this program, you’ll study popular coding languages such as C# and Java, computing foundations, systems analysis, web page design, database management and more.
All courses in these programs are available online, allowing you complete your degree at your own pace from wherever it’s convenient for you. Become an innovator in some of the world’s fastest growing fields with a degree from Avila.