How Do I Become a Software Engineer?
Software engineers need to know programming languages and have a bachelor's degree in order to work in any field that uses this specialized computer knowledge. Schools offering Software Development & Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
What is a Software Engineer?
Computer software engineers use math and computing skills to develop, design, evaluate and test computer systems and the software that makes them work (U. S. Department of Labor, www.bls.gov). Software engineers use the most common programming languages of Java, C and C++ to customize applications or create systems.
Software Engineering Knowledge
To become a software engineer, a bachelor's degree is the preferred minimum level of education. IEEE Computer Society's Guide to the Software Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK), www.ieee.org, defines software engineering as the study and application of a disciplined, systematic and measurable approach of engineering principles to software. According to IEEE, the knowledge areas for software engineering processes include:
- Implementation and Change
- Production Measurement
A bachelor's degree or graduate degree in computer software or software engineering is considered to be the minimum amount of education that is needed to begin a career in software engineering. Certificate programs are available, but according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are not adequate preparation for someone entering the field. An Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), www.abet.org, recognized bachelor's degree provides the training and skills as outlined in the SWEBOK. Universities, such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Fairfield University, offer combined 5-year dual bachelor's/master's degree programs.
The median wages for a software engineer, according to the Occupational Information Network, www.online.onetcenter.org, were $89,070 annual or $42.82 hourly in 2006. Job security and career advancement are also associated with careers in this field, with projected industry growth to outpace other occupations nationally.
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