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Software Engineer

Software Engineers develop computer systems and applications.

Software engineers design, develop and improve upon the computer programs we use every day, including business apps, operating systems, network control systems and social networks. Software engineers can be divided into two main classifications:Applications Software Engineers and Systems Software Engineers.

Applications software engineers analyze an end-user’s needs and develop a custom program to meet those needs. They use a range of programming languages depending on the application’s parameters and the platform on which the program runs. Modern languages used by applications software engineers include Java, C, C++, PHP, Objective-C, Perl and Python. Mobile app developers are specialized applications software engineers who create apps for smartphones and tablets.

Systems software engineers coordinate the creation, maintenance and expansion of an organization’s internal computer systems. They organize the computing needs of each department, such as sales, inventory, billing & payroll, and control the technical direction of the computer system’s development. Systems software engineers may also be responsible for developing a company’s intranet and ensuring system security.

Universities and private tech schools offer a range of software engineer training courses and accredited degrees in system and application development. Compare the top-rated software engineer training programs in the U.S., Canada and online.

a.k.a. Software Designer | Applications Software Engineer | Systems Software Engineer | Computer Software Developer


Skills & Responsibilities

Typical day-to-day activities and in-demand skill sets for software engineers may include the following:

  • Software engineers analyze end-users’ needs and develop software solutions within time and cost constraints.
  • Software engineers are fluent in object-oriented programming languages such as Java, C, C++, Perl & Python.
  • Software engineers program, test, debug, monitor and document changes to computer systems & applications.
  • Specialized software engineers, known as mobile app developers, create applications for smartphones & tablets.
  • Systems software engineers examine departmental goals and develop custom computer systems for organizations.
  • Systems software engineers develop can a corporate intranet to help streamline interdepartmental communication.
  • Applications software engineers upgrade existing computer programs to updated platforms with new specifications.
  • Software engineers recommend changes and enhancements to existing software systems and computer applications.
  • Software engineers coordinate system installation and monitor equipment functioning to ensure project specs are met.
  • Software engineers are responsible for system security and data assurance across the systems that they’re developing.



Software Engineer Salary

  • The average software engineer salary in the U.S. is $90,000.
Software Engineer Salary $90,000


Average starting salaries for software engineers and related positions:

  • Software QA Engineer: $77,000
  • C++ Software Developer: $83,000
  • Software Engineer: $90,000
  • Applications Software Engineer: $91,000
  • Systems Software Engineer: $91,000
  • PHP Software Engineer: $91,000
  • Firmware Engineer: $92,000
  • Perl Software Engineer: $93,000
  • Mobile Application Developer: $94,000
  • Python Software Engineer: $94,000
  • Ruby on Rails Software Developer: $94,000
  • Java Software Engineer: $95,000
  • Objective-C Software Engineer: $96,000
  • Senior Software Engineer: $96,000
  • Android Software Engineer: $96,000
  • Lead Software Engineer: $98,000
  • Web UI Software Developer: 104,000
  • Principal Software Engineer: $104,000
  • Senior Java Engineer: $109,000

Top five best paying U.S. cities for software engineers:

  • El Centro, California | Salary: $128,000
  • Haverhill, Massachusetts | Salary: $126,000
  • Dalton, Georgia | Salary: $117,000
  • San Jose, California | Salary: $116,000
  • Punta Gorda, Florida | Salary: $112,000

The hourly wage for software engineers ranges widely, from $20 to $130 or more per hour, depending on geographic location, experience and current industry demand for known programming skills and languages.

Explore a deep dive comparison of software engineer salary ranges.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012 – 2013 •



Education Requirements

Most employers require software engineers to hold at least a bachelor degree in software engineering, software development, computer programming, computer science or a similar programming-centric field of study. Hiring managers for software engineering positions may also require a portfolio with documented samples or live links to your best applications and software development projects.

Marketable skills to look for in a software engineer education program include object-oriented programming in Java, C, Objective-C, C++, Perl & Python, user-interface (UI) design, human-computer interaction, web development, project management, network & database fundamentals, systems analysis, game development, interpersonal communication and technical writing. The subject matter in software engineer training programs works very well in the online learning format.

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