Software engineering is the process of designing, developing, testing and maintaining software applications or systems. At the most basic level, software engineers develop, deploy, update and debug software. In this article, we will break down what a software engineer does, the types of skills software engineers regularly use, and the careers you might get with a software engineering education.
Today’s job market and business world is run by software. That means that there is a tremendous – and growing – demand for software engineers. You can think of software engineers as the conductors of software, in charge of controlling how any kind of software is used.
When we talk about software in this sense, it refers to the data, instructions and programs that are used to operate computers and do specific tasks. You can almost think of software as the “brains” of a computer that helps it know how to do specific tasks. This goes hand-in-hand with hardware, the physical components of a computer that are necessary for the software to run.
At its core, engineering refers to the use of scientific and mathematical solutions to solve problems. It also implies a sense of innovation, as engineers often think of creative solutions to difficult problems.
Software engineering, then, is all about using maths and science to solve problems that help computers run in specific ways for specific purposes. You’ll often find software engineers use skills like project planning, requirement analysis, design, coding, testing and maintenance to produce high-quality software to meet the needs of users.
A software engineer is a tech professional who is responsible for designing, developing, testing and maintaining software applications and systems. You would typically find software engineers working in computer systems design firms or for electronic product manufacturers, but can also find them employed by software publishers or in app development too.
The overall process of software engineering is full of repetition and feedback loops that are constantly making sure that software meets the ever-changing needs of its users. There are various tools and technologies used to support this process, including integrated development environments (IDEs), version control systems, testing frameworks and deployment tools. These kinds of tools help engineers develop code efficiently and manage and maintain changes to code over time.
At the end of the day, a software engineer works to create software that is reliable, efficient and easy to maintain. This helps business processes or marketing schemes run smoothly to increase efficiency, and ultimately, profit. As a result, software engineers intensely focus on quality, utilising testing and quality assurance techniques to ensure that software is good to go.
Software engineering is a skill that can be applied to a wide variety of software applications and computer systems. Virtually any software application that is designed to be used by humans can benefit from the principles of software engineering. Below, we will describe some common types of software that require engineering:
There is a specific process that software engineers follow to do their jobs properly. This rigorous and structured approach to software development ensures that the systems engineers create are reliable, efficient and maintainable. It’s important to understand this process to understand more about what a software engineer does. Here are those steps:
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Software engineers are equipped with a broad range of technical and non-technical skills that they use to solve the complex problems they get presented with. Some of these key skills include:
As technology continues to evolve and become more integrated into our daily lives, the demand for skilled software engineers has skyrocketed. From mobile apps to cloud-based software systems, software engineers are needed to design, develop and maintain the software that powers the modern world.
Software engineering as a career also offers a lot of flexibility and job security. They can work remotely from anywhere in the world and their high demand across a range of industries supports this. This means that a software engineer typically enjoys a high degree of job security and a comfortable income, even in uncertain economic times.
Finally, software engineering is popular because it offers the opportunity to make a real difference in the world. This intellectually challenging field attracts talented and innovative people that are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Software engineers are often involved in developing software applications that have a positive impact on society, from healthcare systems to education software to social networking platforms.
There are many different types of software engineers that you will come across. It is one of the most diverse careers, as it encompasses many different specialisations. Each type of software engineer focuses on a different aspect of application or software development. Some of the different types of software engineers include:
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Software engineering careers are in high demand and offer excellent opportunities for career stability and growth. A big perk of working in this field is that you can work remotely or in an office, giving you even more flexibility to find a work style that suits your needs. There are also many opportunities for career advancement and personal growth as you continue to learn and develop new skills.
Here are some examples of the most popular software engineering careers:
According to a report from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, Africa is on course to add $180 billion by 2025 thanks to the rapid growth of its internet economy. This growth is made possible in developing the talent of skilled developers and software engineers who build the products and engines that power various industries. These industries include banks, fintech, agritech, e-health, and venture capital to name a few.
The mission of ALX speaks directly to this need for tech talent by providing access to tech training programmes for anyone who is interested. The 12-month ALX Software Engineering Programme is the perfect introduction to the field that trains the next generation of technology professionals, innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders. By taking this course, you can learn the skills necessary to have a long and successful career as a software engineer.
David Mutune, an AWS Proserve Associate Consultant and ALX Software Engineering programme graduate, had this to say about this course:
“What differentiates the ALX Software Engineering programme from any programme I have taken or heard of is its unique non-traditional approach to learning. I can testify that within 3 months I learned more than I did in one full year of my university with the traditional education model.
The project-based approach to learning makes it possible to grasp every concept in detail. You will also develop the soft skills that are required for your career in software engineering, learning from your peers and learning about professional growth constantly. This is the best decision that I have made so far. I would honestly recommend this to any serious student who wants to learn and understand every concept in software engineering deeply.”
A career in software engineering is far-reaching, varied and dynamic. It is a field of study that is expected to continue to grow for the foreseeable future, providing with it opportunities for job stability and growth down the line. By understanding what a software engineer does and the career paths available, you can decide for yourself if becoming one is something you aspire to.
If you’re looking to become a software engineer to put your creativity, innovation, and brain-power to use, consider enrolling in the ALX Software Engineering programme to get started. You won’t regret it!
Becoming a successful software engineer requires a combination of technical expertise, such as proficiency in programming, and non-technical skills, such as creativity, problem-solving, teamwork, adaptability and communication.
The average annual salary of a software engineer in the USA is $96,817, along with a $4,600 cash bonus, as reported by Indeed. However, these figures can vary depending on the level of experience and the software engineer’s location. A junior front-end software engineer can earn anywhere between $38,000 to $108,000 annually, while a senior back-end software engineer’s software salary can range from $61,000 to $165,000 per annum.
Computing and IT are the most important subjects to study, but other technical subjects like physics and design technology may also be useful.