Software Engineer: Career Definition, Occupational Outlook, and Education Prerequisites

A software engineer creates computer programs and keeps them running. Explore the predictions for job growth in this profession and see what education is required to become a software engineer. Schools offering Software Development & Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Tasks Will I Perform as a Software Engineer?

Games and software aren't the only things you'll create as a software engineer; operating systems, network systems and applications also need to be built. Once you've created these programs, you'll test them, troubleshooting and fixing errors that may occur. As technological needs and trends change, you'll make patches, upgrades and new software to replace the old. You may also modify existing software and systems to improve performance.

Using algorithms and computer languages, you'll build software while providing detailed instructions on how they work. You'll work under the direction of companies and provide status reports on the software development. You may also consult with other departments to meet the client's needs.

What Is the Future of This Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of computer software engineers was anticipated to grow at a rate of 32% from 2008-2018 (www.bls.gov). This number reflected two different software engineers - those who develop applications were expected to see a 34% increase, while those who specialize in systems software could experience an increase of 30%. The reason behind this projected job growth was based on the expected need for newer software and applications as technology and the Internet advanced. In May 2010, the BLS reported an average annual salary of $97,960 for developers of software systems. Software developers who produced applications made an average of $90,410 per year.

What Educational Requirements Do I Need to Fulfill?

While no set educational requirements are in place, a bachelor's degree is recommended. After graduating from high school, you could earn a Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering, or you may major in computer science. You'll learn about different programming languages and design while gaining technical experience through internships or hands-on projects. As technology improves and evolves, you may want to consider furthering your education with an advanced degree or with seminars and courses. If you'd like to work in computer security, a higher degree may also be beneficial.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:

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