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Career Profile: Software Developer

Why Is Computer Software Engineering a Job of Tomorrow?
Technology has pervaded every aspect of modern life. It
has largely replaced cash with credit cards that can draw funds electronically from bank accounts, replaced beepers with handheld mobile phones that can not only instantly connect callers, but also act as a tiny web browser and gaming system, and pushed globalization into overdrive through the World Wide Web. With personal computers as common in businesses as pots of break room coffee, the race is always on to push computer technology further. The technological boom shows no signs of slowing down, and computer software engineers who are able to create more efficient programs will blaze the way for the next big leap forward in intelligent machinery. Employment opportunities for computer software engineers are expected to grow 38 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Computer software engineers make an average salary of $79,780 annually.

What Does a Computer Software Engineer Do?
Computer software engineers develop, test, and evaluate software and systems that allow computers to function. They can work on any software project, from word processing applications to operating systems. The ultimate goal of computer software engineers is to create fast and efficient programs and applications that will cater to user wants and needs. To accomplish this, engineers analyze the demands of consumers and draft plans for the type of program that will be developed based on the public's demands. Then, engineers use complex algorithms to tell the computer what to do. Sometimes, engineers are also responsible for converting these algorithms into computer codes, but that task generally falls on computer programmers. Engineers then evaluate the programs they have developed and check for bugs as well as compatibility issues. Work is usually conducted in teams, in collaboration with marketers, manufacturers, and designers to create a specific product and prepare it for release.

What Kind of Training Do I Need to Become a Computer Software Engineer?
Computer software engineers must have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or systems and technology. Employers prefer applicants who also have substantial professional experience and are well-versed in the latest technological developments. For more complex jobs, employers may seek out those who hold graduate degrees in a related field. Earning a bachelor's degree takes about four years, and computer science courses cover mathematics, analyzing computer systems, and other related topics. Prospective computer software engineers have the option of gaining certification as well, but are better off increasing their marketability through real working experience. Employers often seek those who have shown that they are reliable and have strong analytical skills.