Working as a Software Engineer

Working as a Software Engineer

Software engineers, also sometimes known as software developers, build and design computer programs to meet with corporate requirements.

Upon completion, the software engineers test the programs, debug and maintain them.

Working as a Software engineer you will commonly need to have working knowledge of a variety of programming languages and applications. This is largely due to the diversity of work they can be involved in. These languages include:

Qualifications for a Software Engineer

In order to get a job as a software engineer a degree in an IT-related subject is usually required. Subjects include:

  • Computer science
  • Information technology
  • Software development
  • Software engineering
  • Business information systems

Working as a software engineer is one of the most popular professions in IT and as such having work experience in the field can be advantageous. Experience in the industry can be obtained through your degree in the form of work placements. Voluntary work, internships, summer schools or contacts in the industry can be alternative ways of gaining this experience. Employers seeking to hire a software engineer look favourably upon relevant work experience and this alone can substantially aid your application.

Skills and knowledge

In addition to formal qualifications and experience, employers also look for the following attributes in candidates:

  • The ability to think logically
  • Work under pressure
  • Work alone and as part of a team
  • Good problem solving skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Commitment to continuous skills development

Typical work activities for a Software Engineer

As a software engineer your typical work activities include:

  • Writing new software programs
  • Testing, debugging and maintaining programs
  • Solving software compatibility problems
  • Installation of programs
  • Writing operational documentation
  • Training of program functionality and usability

Career opportunities

The career opportunities for a software engineer are shaped to a certain extent by the type and size of the organisation for which you work.

Possible career paths include:

  • Senior roles. Software engineers with sufficient experience can move into more senior roles whereby their job would involve overseeing teams of other software engineers. It is also possible to move into a project management role and supervise the development of projects.
  • Consultancy. Software engineers who have an abundance of experience can move into an IT consultancy role. Consultancy roles are generally better paid, allow for a greater diversity in work and present people with the opportunity to start their own businesses.
  • Lecturing. With the correct experience, academic credentials and even published work, it is possible to enter into the world of research, teaching and lecturing.

Salary and benefits

  • Salaries for a graduate software engineer range from £19,000 to £24,000 per year
  • According to IT Jobs Watch, the average salary for a software engineer is £37,197 which has risen 4.01% on the same period last year
  • Senior software engineers with management responsibilities can earn up to £45,000