Are Software Engineer Jobs for You?

Software engineer jobs are among the most in demand computer-related jobs out there so it’s no surprise that many are applying for them. If you’re one of these jobseekers who want to try your luck in this career, it helps to know what’s expected of you and whether or not you’re an ideal candidate for this position.

The first thing you have to be aware of is the responsibilities that computer engineers have. These computer gurus are responsible in creating and maintaining software programs. They’re not only limited to work in IT industries alone but also in other sectors like engineering, manufacturing, education, and even in the public sector.

Perhaps the most challenging task software engineers may face lies in developing a program since it takes months and even years to finish and perfect one. Computer programs need to be tested and examined carefully by software engineers before they’re used.

This type of engineering falls into two categories. Applications software engineers are responsible in developing applications like the ones used in robotics. They’re adept in programs like C and C++ used by scientists as well as Java and other Web applications. They meet with clients and huddle with their team before they start designing a program.

On the other hand, computer systems engineers are responsible in developing the necessary software based on the client’s preference. Usually, they install computer systems and programs that can link one department with another within the company. They work together with the engineering, marketing, manufacturing, and design teams in creating a system for their clients.

Software engineers work in a favorable environment. They usually have an office of their own. The job itself is full of challenges since software engineers need to update themselves regularly with the latest trends in computer technology.

Many employers are strict when it comes to hiring engineers in the IT sector. They require a degree in computer science or software engineering. They also prefer those who passed certification courses particularly in computer languages like Java and C++. Very seldom do companies hire fresh graduates who lack experience but once they see some potential in you, they’ll be happy to take you in and train you in their company.

If you’re really after a career as software engineer, you have to send your application to major computer companies and consulting firms. Prepare an impressive portfolio and comprehensive resume that highlights your skills and capabilities. Look for vacancies in classified ads or searching for relevant job roles online.

Computer software engineers are earning an average of $80,500 a year. Aside from this, they also avail of other benefits like paid vacations and holidays, health care, and bonuses.

If you’re someone who wants a fast-paced and challenging career, then this job role is perfect for you.

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.

Job Descriptions and Qualification of a Computer Software Engineer

Here are the primary responsibilities of a Computer Software Engineers:

* They participate in designing and developing many types of software.

* They can be involved in the creation of computer games, word processing and business applications.

* They create operating systems and network communications.

* They also develop programs that can communicate with the operating system to make the computer work.

* They must have a Bachelor’s degree in many fields of computer systems and technologies.

One of the fastest growing jobs this decade is the Computer Software Engineer. A Computer Software Engineer needs to be updated with the latest technology and strive to get new skills every day. The work requires creativity as the program needs to work properly for the system. Most of them work for big corporations that created new program for the market. They are involved in designing and developing many types of software. Most of the software they are creating today has something to do with computer gaming. They also develop business applications which contain programs that help major corporations with the business operation.

The Computer Software Engineer needs to analyze the needs of the business before beginning to create a software program. He needs to make sure that the program he is going to make is according to the client’s needs, and then he will test it and make sure that it will help the client run the business. During this period he will also create detailed sets of instructions, also known as algorithms that will tell the computer what to do. These instructions will be converted into a computer language which is called programming or coding. Doing all these tasks, he needs to arm himself with the knowledge in different programming languages. The programming languages that are most commonly used include C, C++, and Java.