What is a Software Engineer?
Software engineering is a branch of computer science which includes the development and building of computer systems software and applications software. Computer systems software is composed of programs that include computing utilities and operations systems. Applications software consists of user-focused programs that include web browsers, database programs, etc.
There is a lot of investment going into software engineering at the moment due to the increasing reliance on mobile technology, venture capital-backed start-ups, the growing complexity of technology, and emerging industries. The demand for skilled and qualified software engineers seems to have no end. This demand is strengthened by a changing economic landscape and fueled by the need for technology solutions. With billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet and that are collecting and sharing data, all industries are quickly becoming technology driven industries.
Software engineers have extensive knowledge of programming languages, software development, and computer operating systems, and they apply engineering principles to software creation. By applying these engineering principles to every stage of the development process, from requirements analysis to the software process, they can create customized systems for individual clients. Just as a civil engineer will make sure that a bridge has a solid foundation, a software engineer will also begin with a thorough study of requirements and work through the development process in a systematic way.
What does a Software Engineer do?
Software engineers are highly sought after. Developers that live in high demand areas often receive many inquiries a month from recruiters and head hunters. A software engineer applies mathematical analysis and the principles of computer science in order to design and develop computer software.
There are many types of software that a software engineer can develop, such as operating systems, computer games, middleware, business applications and network control systems. Changes in technology and new areas of specialization keeps this profession evolving at a rapid pace.
When working with a client, a software engineer will typically analyze the client’s needs, then design, test, and develop the computer software in order to meet those needs. They are experts in computing systems, software structure, and recognizing the limitations of the existing hardware. The process is complicated and intricate, therefore the use of diagrams, flowcharts, and the creation of algorithms to tell the computer what to do are created. Converting these instructions into a computer language (coding/programming) is usually the responsibility of a computer programmer.
Software engineers must also possess interpersonal skills, and be able to effectively communicate with users in order to train, test, and debug software all the way to the end product. They are often involved from the early stages of software planning right through to the testing, development, training, and support stages.
Software engineers can be divided into two categories:
Applications engineers create or adapt applications for businesses and organizations by analyzing the end user’s needs. They will design, build, install, and maintain these applications or programs.
Systems engineers coordinate the creation, maintenance and growth of a business or organization’s computer systems. They coordinate each department’s needs, suggest technical direction, and set up any networks that link up computers with the company.
Being a software engineer is a great career choice for someone who is exceptionally good at both left and right-brained thinking (analytical skills as well as problem-solving skills). Software engineers are instinctive problem-solvers, good at working with others and focused on seeing issues through to their successful completion.
A software engineer should be well-versed in:
– Programming and coding
– Fundamentals of computer science
– Design and architecture
– Algorithms and data structures
– Information analysis
– Debugging software
– Testing software