Why a Career As a Software Engineer is Not Sound

I believe the value (or pay) of a person in the market is defined by the following factors:
1) innate qualities
2) knowledge & experience
3) people skills & network

Innate qualities are born with, including appearance, intelligence, personality, etc. And educational background, academic performance, etc, are closely related with one’s innate qualities. But since it’s almost impossible to improve this aspect, it’s useless to say too much about it.

Knowledge & experience, people skills & network are the two aspects that differentiates people’s value (pay). However, a career in IT excels in neither fields on the long term.

The following are my reasons. Now and then, I will refer to the three factors mentioned above.

1 IT is a fast-changing industry by its nature, so in most domains of technology, knowledge is hard to accumulate steadily. A 20-year software engineer is likely the same as a 10-year software engineer in terms of knowledge (but inferior in terms of energy level).

1.1 Some might argue that a good software accumulates a set of knowledge (such as desgin patterns, algorithms, debugging experience) that survives the fast-changing industry, but the fact is that these account only for a very small portion of knowledge required for real projects.

1.2 Also, some might argue that there are domains of technology that changes slower, such as system-level programming (compiler, OS). This is true, and one might be lucky enough to accumulate a huge amount of expertise. But the risk of such a career is still high. Since one is very deep into one technology, once the technology is out-of-date the penalty is severe. This is the nature of technology, it will be out-of-date sooner than many other things such as people skills & network.

1.3 Well, going deep in one technology is risky, then what about going wide in many technologies as a generalist engineer? But rarely are there any projects need such kind of people instead of experts of each individual domain of technology.

2 In addition to the fast-changing nature of the IT industry, limited personal influence also contributes to the low ceiling of the career. A good engineer cannot directly make other people on the team better software engineers, while a good manager can directly make the whole team, divsion, or even the company succeed. With many other careers such as sales, surgeons, traders, the vital difference is that sales, surgeons, traders play a greater role as an individual, while a software project requires a team of 30 to 3000 people.

2.1 Moreover, sales, surgeons, traders also deal with people, that makes them potential people managers in future, while software engineers deal with technology which hardly leads them to people management roles. In fact, most senior managers in IT are not previous software engineers. The point is that software engineers accumulate little in terms of people skills & network.

3 The IT industry is also infamous for its locations. Since the nature of the career requires little interaction with customers, software engineers often have to work in remote locations with lower rent or undeveloped districts with lower pay. The suburban sci-tech parks in China and the outsourcing trend in the U.S. are respective evidence of such claim.

4 Software engineers are not very much respected. The reason could be comprehensive. I personally believe that it is closely related with the low pay growth.

The Software Engineer Today

Who is the programmer today?

If we ask somebody in the street “Who is the programmer?”, what does he or she answer? I believe something like “A person who sits behind the computer and creates program code” or “A person who programs actually! What a stupid question?”. Not everyone exactly understand that successful software development requires many different activities besides code construction. The approach that includes all such activities is called Software Engineering. Let’s see the important stages, that all together form software engineering.

1) Requirements.When a project starts, we have to elicit requirements for it, thoroughly handle them and create the document that is known as Software Requirements Specification. Requirement specialists start collecting requirements in the very beginning of the project and update them until the projects is ended to keep them relevant and correct mistakes that occurred during the implementation. Software Requirements Specification is a result of this process. The document contains information obtained from users, technical standards, and business rules and other.

2) Design. The other important activity is design. It includes overall planning of the project, building models and prototypes. Software Engineering standards distinguish two separate activities within the design stage: software architectural design and software detailed design. The first one is planning of the whole system, when the second one is more thorough planning of its components.

3) Construction. The next activity is actually code construction. Most people consider this thing as programming. Engineers create program code using different programming languages and software construction tools that dramatically improve the speed of the process.

4) Testing. When the code is created software engineers must test them. Testing is an activity of product quality assessment and improvement. This stage is often performed by a separate team of testers. It also can be outsourced, because external testers can check the quality impartially.

5) Maintenance. Even when all implementation activities are completed, the work on the project is not. The maintenance stage starts then. It is necessary to provide cost-effective support to software. However, even now we are talking about only post-delivery stage, which includes such things as software modifications and user trainings. However, there is another one known as pre-delivery maintenance, which includes planning of actions for post-delivery stage.

Now I think that even if you are not closely connected to programming, you know the main activities it includes, and I am sure that you realize that the programmer must do much more than only code construction.

How To Find Your Dream Job As A Software Engineer?

There are a lot of people now who are looking for any jobs in order to earn money for themselves. Jobs are very important part of our lives, because this is where we get something for food, clothing and other needs. Other than that, they can save their money from their salaries in order to form their own business or to spend vacation with their family. One of the hottest and in-demand jobs today are software engineers. Software engineers are those people who assemble an extensive amount of code to build a website or software.

They can also be called as programmers, where their main duties will involve programming of computers. They also work on developing software solutions, and fixing some errors on the software through coding. But there are times that software engineers are finding themselves hard in landing their dream job. In order for them to find a job as quickly as possible, they need some sort of source where they can actually find job vacancies related to their position.

Here are the steps to find software engineer jobs:

1. They need to browse job search websites or online classifieds. Unlike local classifieds on newspapers and bulletin boards with only limited positions, finding jobs online is where you can land your dream job in a quickly manner. There are a lot of online classifieds and job search engines in the internet, and all they need is to find them.

2. Choose a legitimate company that are still in need of software engineers. This is to be aware that we must not land to a company that is full of fraud or scam. It is right that we can investigate the company first through customer reviews or testimonials if provided. None of the companies are always legitimate, so we must be careful. We must only choose a company that is legitimate or is running for a long time with satisfied employees and customers.

3. Read the company’s qualifications before taking action. This is one of the most important requirements for you as a software engineer, to read what skills are they looking for. If you have the level of skills required by the company you applied, don’t turn back and go to the next step. However if the skills listed were not applicable to you, skip it and find another company.

4. Prepare your complete application letter and portfolio. If you are ready to apply with the company, you need to provide them your complete application letter, as well as your portfolio. The most important thing on your application letter is your skills and achievements as a software engineer in order to give you a higher chance to be accepted. Without any samples, portfolio or skills included in your application letter, you can’t be accepted by them.

5. Email your documents to the company. After your completed your application letter as software engineer, you need to attach them to your email and send it to the company’s recipient provided. You need to be patient in waiting for their response whether you will be accepted or not. Don’t email again to force them to reply because they might reject your application for being impatient, if in case they don’t reply.

These are the steps to find your own dream job as a software engineer. These kind of jobs are giving you a huge income compared to other regular and traditional jobs. But don’t let your guard down if you ended up jobless as a software engineer. If you find it hard, there are lots of job search engines and online classifieds that will help you find software engineer jobs.