Are you thinking of working as a software engineer with a company but don’t know what your job description would be?
The fact is that employers expect so much from their software engineers than what they state in their job description handbook.
But being that you want to stand out in your interview or bring more to the table, you need to know the duties and responsibilities of a software engineer.
In today’s world, the business environment relies heavily on software for many functions.
There is software for almost everything from automated traffic control systems to complex manufacturing processes.
All thanks to Software Engineers like you who are pivotal in the development of software that provides real solutions.
As a Software Engineer you have the responsibility to address the entire software development lifecycle.
It starts with analysing needs, then design, testing and developing software in order to meet those needs.
The fact that you are reading this article probably means that you have interest in starting a career path in software engineering.
This guide provides details of your job description as a software engineer, the necessary qualifications and skills.
In addition, it provides details of industries that employ software engineers and the salary estimates of software engineers.
What are the duties and responsibilities of a software engineer?
Software Engineers use diagrams and flowcharts to document the process of developing computer instructions through the use of algorithms.
Given the breadth of the role, a Software Engineer must have a thorough understanding of computer systems.
You must be able to recognise any hardware limitations that could potentially impact software design.
Having known this, a typical Software Engineer job description includes:
- Analysing user requirements.
- Writing and testing code, or even refining and rewriting it as necessary, then communicating with programmers involved in the project.
- Part of the software engineer job description is researching, designing and writing new software programs (e.g. business applications or computer games) and computer operating systems.
- Evaluating the software and systems that make computers and hardware work.
- Enhancing applications by identifying opportunities for improvement, making recommendations and designing and implementing systems
- Software engineers integrate existing software products and get incompatible platforms to work together.
- They create technical specifications
- Write systems to control the scheduling of jobs or to control the access allowed to users or remote systems.
- Write operational documentation with technical authors for an easy transition.
- Also part of the software engineer job description is to maintain systems by monitoring and correcting software defects
- Work closely with other staff, such as project managers, graphic artists, UX designers, other developers, systems analysts and sales and marketing professionals
- Liaising with colleagues to implement technical designs
- Routinely consult clients and colleagues concerning the maintenance and performance of software systems, with a view to writing or modifying current operating systems
- Investigating and using new technologies where relevant
- Improving system quality by identifying issues and common patterns, and developing standard operating procedures
- Continually update technical knowledge and skills by attending in-house and external courses, reading manuals and accessing new applications.
What are the qualifications and requirements for the job of a Software Engineer?
Working as a software engineer will require some levels of educational qualification.
This area of work is open to all graduates, however, you will still need to have some technical ability.
Also, having a certificate in any of the following subjects may increase your chances of employment:
- computer science
- computer software/computer systems engineering
- information systems
A good degree (2:1 or above) in a computing-related discipline usually gives software engineers an edge during recruitment.
That’s because many of the larger graduate recruiters will only employ graduates with good results and proven technical skills.
Most smaller companies, on the other hand, generally prefer degrees of a computing, scientific or numeric nature.
In some cases, however, graduates with an unrelated degree may be considered as long as their technical knowledge and enthusiasm can be demonstrated.
How many years of work experience do you need as a software engineer?
Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in computing and employers love it when you have a lot of experience.
You need to gain experience through course-related placements, opportunities to work shadow or a year in industry.
Also, seek an internship or an entry-level position at a software company or in the IT department of a corporation to learn from experienced software engineers.
You may need to start as a programmer and work your way up to software engineer positions.
No matter what, you must not overlook all of these stages of your development as the knowledge will come in handy in your new job.
How much do software engineers earn per year?
Becoming a software engineer is a smart career choice.
It is one of the most in-demand skills in the world but the salary that software engineers earn varies with location.
That’s because all software engineers aren’t created equal and there are cities that pay software engineers significantly more than others
Typical graduate software engineer salaries start from £18,000 a year.
The average annual salary for a software engineer is between £25,000 and £50,000.
At senior or management level, software engineers can earn £45,000 to £70,000 or more per annum.
Bonus schemes may be available as well.
Please note that the exact salary you’ll receive is dependent upon the company, location and nature of your employer’s business.
Warning! These income figures are intended only as a guide.
What special skills do you require as a software engineer?
As a software engineer, you should be able to develop, design, maintain, modify and debug software.
These qualities are a combination of both the soft and technical skills necessary for efficiency in the workplace.
Honing your software engineer skills makes you an excellent candidate for this industry. Below are some software engineer skills you can improve upon to be relevant to employers.
- Knowledge of algorithms and data structures
- A passion for solving problems and providing workable solutions
- Knowledge of computer systems and technologies.
- Proficiency in troubleshooting software issues and debugging a large codebase
- The ability to communicate with clients, colleagues and management to explain complex issues clearly and concisely.
- Meticulous and organised approach to work.
- Strong analytical and creative reasoning skills with an ability to visualise processes and outcomes.
- Thoroughness and attention to detail
- Business skills and commercial awareness.
- The ability to work both in a team and alone and to manage your own workload.
- Career motivation and a willingness to continue to further your knowledge and skills.
- An ability to learn new skills and technologies quickly.
- An awareness of current issues affecting the industry and its technologies.
What to expect as a software engineer in a company
- The job involves spending many hours at the keyboard, so you may require high levels of concentration. In this case, you need to regularly break to minimise potential adverse health effects such as eye strain or back problems.
- Software engineering jobs are mainly office based or in computer laboratories, although full or part-time remote working is becoming increasingly common.
- You can do a project alone or work in a small team.
- There are very few women currently in this profession and gender imbalance across the IT industry as a whole is still an issue. However steps are being taken to redress the balance.
- Depending on the nature of the business, travel within a working day or absence from home at night may be required. This is more likely with consultancy work. More travel is involved in installation and implementation work.
What kind of companies employ software engineers?
Everyone wants software engineers. And that’s not likely to change anytime soon, which is good news for anyone pursuing a software engineering career.
The increasing business requirements for cloud computing, big data and analytics, and mobile solutions are all driving the demand for software engineers.
But with so many options young software engineers may have difficulty figuring out where to place their next career bet.
In that case, the choice always comes back to the you, what do you have a passion for as a software engineer?
Here are some industries where software engineers like you can find plenty of room for career growth.
1. Specialist IT firms
As a software developer, you may work with some of these firms but your job description will vary.
The specialist IT firms include IT consultancies, large IT providers, software development, internet providers and training firms.
Also, organisations that use IT software, systems and equipment fall under this category.
They include retailers, law firms, business intelligence and market research organisations, education providers, the armed forces, the public sector and voluntary sector organisations.
2. Manufacturing industries
Automotive, navigation, telecommunications, manufacturing and construction companies are some of the companies in this industry that recruits software engineers.
The demand is usually higher in telecommunications.
3. Financial services
With the continuous growth of financial technology, most financial institutions now employ software engineers.
They include global investment banks, financial/banking organisations, security market specialists and the pensions sector.
4. Public utility companies
Utility companies hire software engineers to provide solutions that track energy and water supply, energy extraction and transport.
As a software engineer, you can find a spot here to work if you are okay with their job description.
5. Consultancy firms
This is another area where software engineer jobs arise.
The role may include other elements, such as analysis, implementation and support.
Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a growing part of the IT industry and may also have opportunities.
Conclusion – Software Engineer Job Description Guide
The job description of a software engineer may vary from firm to another.
However, this article presents to you the basic duties and responsibilities of a software engineer.
If you have the skill and ability to work as a software engineer or you are applying for a position, then I believe you now know what to expect on the job.
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