A software engineer, also called a software developer, works with various software and applications. The work they perform is, as their name implies, primarily focused on creating, engineering, and otherwise perfecting software. Depending on the organization they are working with, this could constantly be working with a single piece of software, such as a popular phone application, or it could be working on an entire suite of products and programs. It's common for software engineers to focus on just one form of problem-solving; that is, they determine specific problems within one program and break them down into solvable pieces.

Breaking Down the Code

There are many steps involved in working as a software engineer, but at its base, it all has to do with code. This is because the building blocks of a piece of software, its very architecture, are made up of code. Therefore, a knowledgeable software engineer can pick apart all aspects of a software's code to determine how the software can improve. In this regard, a software engineer is often the first step in how effective the program itself is and helps build the first layer of cyber security for any given program.

However, it's more than just coding. As with any career, the day in the life of a software engineer also has assorted very human elements. Data specialists may spend most of their time writing code and tinkering with numbers, but they are also part of a team. Regular meetings are bound to happen, and software engineers must be able to communicate with and report to their higher-ups. Combining these hard and soft skills is critical for a software developer to succeed in the industry, combining coding expertise with a collaborative nature.

Software Engineering Skills

A software engineer must possess a diverse selection of technical skills to find success in the industry. This includes developing a complete understanding of programming languages, comprehensive knowledge of software development best practices, and finding solutions for coding concerns and software architecture issues. 

First, a software engineer needs to have an understanding of coding and programming languages. These languages include Python, Java, C or C++, Scala, or PHP. In addition, general knowledge of software development is often key to a career in software engineering. Finally, it is recommended that software engineers also stay abreast of any changes in coding best practices, as these elements change almost as constantly as the applications themselves. This is all the more important as operating systems, especially those built around mobile devices, are constantly evolving and may require additional training to stay up to date.

Carefully Tested Designs

Software engineers enormously benefit from program development skills, allowing them to discover problems within their programs more readily. In addition, using software testing techniques can help guarantee that a program meets the needs of its user base. Software testing techniques include:

  • Crafting and studying test plans.

  • Building risk mitigation tools.

  • Building out reports from the results of these tests.

Notably, such reports should be designed to be understood by the layperson, as stakeholders at all levels may have access to them.

What Jobs Do Software Engineers Do?

At this point, you may be asking yourself, "what does a software engineer do on a daily basis? "The day-to-day life of a software engineer varies wildly depending on the specific industry they are working for, though software engineering, by and large, can be divided into a couple of subcategories: application engineering and system engineering. Application engineers are the more common role now, as many organizations focus more on applications. 

Application engineers are explicitly tasked with designing, coding, and otherwise building applications to meet their users' needs. These may be applications designed for the use or entertainment of customers or clients. Still, it is just as common for many business-to-business or internal applications to require constant attention. Meanwhile, system engineers build and provide the upkeep for a company's computer systems. This requires understanding the company's inner workings and ensuring that its networks are connected appropriately and functioning per the needs of any given department.

Developing Software Solutions

Modern technology is constantly growing and developing, making software engineering and developing a career path that's consistently in demand. Professionals in the industry have plenty of room to grow, as the materials they can work with are nearly infinite. In addition, programming skill sets are typically transferrable, allowing software engineers working in one industry, like healthcare, to take their understanding of working with that data into an entirely different data-driven industry, like corporate consulting. Someone in an entry-level engineering position can also find remarkable growth within their company, potentially growing into senior engineer roles, management positions, or other progressive jobs within the industry.

Engineering a Profitable Future

Software engineering can be a stressful career, requiring consistent focus and the many hard skills already mentioned. However, most software engineers still report a great deal of job satisfaction, and this is due in no small part to how profitable careers in the industry can be. Indeed notes that the average salary for a software engineer is around $127,000, making it a genuinely lucrative career path for those willing to master the skills required and shoulder the stress that the role may require.

Make a Career as a Software Engineer

With many online training options now available, becoming a Software Engineer may be as simple as having consistent internet connections. You, too, can become a software engineer with the help of The University of South Florida. This specialized bootcamp is designed to help you learn everything you need to start your career as a Software Engineer. From helping you build out your portfolio to teaching you modern best practices, becoming a part of this flourishing industry is surprisingly easy. Begin learning online with the help of knowledgeable mentors and a helpful community today.