The Day-to-Day as a Software Engineer
Software Engineers create software for computers using programming languages, math, computer science theory, and engineering techniques. They work in almost every industry from retail to medicine and can enjoy onsite and remote work opportunities. They usually work full-time but they can also find lucrative freelance work. When working full-time, they often collaborate with a team that is made up of Designers, UX and UI professionals, management teams, sales teams, and Developers.
Software Engineers work in a deadline-driven environment. Sometimes they work on one aspect of a project, the whole project from start to finish, or multitask by working on pieces of multiple projects at once. They usually work about 40 hours per week, but sometimes work overtime during code sprints. Software Engineers perform a variety of tasks on a daily basis including coding, research the best technology to use for a project, creating prototypes, finding and resolving bugs, conducting A/B testing, collaborating with teammates, or working through a code sprint.
What Skills Should Software Engineers Have?
Soft skills such as problem-solving, strategic planning, logical reasoning, process analysis, and communication will be practiced in the Software Engineer position. While the Software Engineer doesn’t always work on a team, communicating ideas, plans, and tasks will likely be required.
Learn the Skills You Need to Become a Software Engineer
Python is an interpreted, object-oriented, high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. It is used to write scripts, automations, algorithms, manipulate data, and create frameworks. Python prioritizes simplicity, easy to learn syntax, readability, and versatility.
SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It is a computer language used to store, manipulate, and retrieve data which is stored in a relational database.
Web development is the practice of building, creating, and maintaining websites. Web development uses coding languages to build a website for the internet.
Java is a class-based, object-oriented, general-purpose programming language that was designed to have as few implementation dependencies as possible. Java is used by Software Engineers to create computer applications. Java can also be used to build modules and applets for use within a web page.
Ruby is a dynamic, interpreted, high-level, open-source programming language which emphasizes simplicity and productivity. The syntax is designed to be natural to read and easy to write. It is used to build web applications. The development framework, Ruby on Rails, is the most popular implementation of Ruby.
PHP & MySQL
PHP is a free, open-source, and server-side scripting language for web development. MySQL is a relational database management system (RDBMS) that uses Structure Query Language (SQL).
FinTech stands for Financial Technology. FinTech is the technology or computer programs that are used to support, improve, enable, and automate banking and financial services.
Software Engineer Salaries
A Software Engineer in the United States makes, on average, $116,356 annually, according to Indeed.com.
Salaries for Software Engineers vary by region within the the United States. Listed below are some Software Engineer salaries for specific areas with the United States compared with the average national salary:
- U.S. Average $116K source n/a
New York City
Orange County, CA
Los Angeles, CA
- U.S. Average $116K source n/a
New York City
Los Angeles, CA
Typical Qualifications to Become a Software Engineer
You do not need a higher education degree to become a Software Engineer. Software Engineers often have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and this is sometimes listed as a preference by employers. However, it is more important for a Software Engineer to demonstrate proficiency and their ability to learn new things.
Searching for Software Engineer Jobs
Software Engineers work in many different environments including corporate companies, startups, freelance, contract, or the government. They can find jobs in almost any industry but will find the most entry-level jobs at startups. Software Engineers can find lucrative work in freelance or contract positions as well.
You can find Software Engineer jobs on these sites:
- Google Jobs
- Authentic Jobs
- Stack Overflow
You can find freelance, contract, or remote Software Engineer jobs on these sites:
Tips to Become a Software Engineer
Software Engineers are almost always in high demand. In this role, don’t be afraid to take the leap and apply for positions you may not have the preferred experience level for. A Software Engineer should have a well-rounded portfolio that showcases their work creating software. A good portfolio can include case studies that show the process of building software from start to finish, articulate the process of building a single part of an application, or an interactive and complete piece of software. Posting these portfolio examples on GitHub and on a simple portfolio website or blog is common practice so that potential employers can view your work.
Software Engineers should also be utilizing LinkedIn to apply for jobs and network throughout their job search. Your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date, including any past experience (even in unrelated fields), and include keywords relating to a Software Engineer’s skills and responsibilities. It should also show and tell how your past experiences offer transferable value to your position as a Software Engineer.
To get a leg up, try to connect with a point person with a letter of introduction at each company you send an application to, whether you applied via LinkedIn or not. You should include a “note” with your invitation to connect that includes who you are and a question to start a conversation. This will provide you name recognition and sometimes first-hand advice. You should also make these connections with people who might be your manager at any company you would like to work for regardless of whether they have posted job openings. These connections will also help freelance Engineers grow their client base.
What Job Titles Would a Software Engineer Hold?
Software Engineers will probably begin with junior or intermediate positions but will find that rising the ranks to a senior position, moving to a larger organization, or going freelance is possible relatively quickly and will result in a much higher annual salary.
Software Engineer can apply for these job titles:
- Software Engineer
- Engineering Fellow
- Junior Software Engineer
- Senior Software Engineer
- Associate Software Engineer
- Principal Software Engineer
- Full Stack Developer
- Back End Developer
- Software Developer
- Junior Software Developer
- Senior Software Developer
- Java Engineer
- Quality Assurance Engineer
Additional Software Engineer Resources
Software Engineers can look forward to plenty of opportunities for upward mobility. Whether that’s rising from Junior to Senior positions or moving up to a vice president or chief position such as Chief Technology Officer. They’ll need to upskill throughout their career and if they learn software architecture, project management, or product management they can secure job titles such as Engineering Lead, Engineering Project Manager, VP of Product Management, Head of Product, Chief Architect, or Chief Digital Officer. Each of these positions pay much higher salaries than a basic Software Engineer position but may take three or more years of experience to qualify for.
Salary Comparison to Software Engineer
Full Stack Developer
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Back End Developer
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Front End Developer
A Front End Developer builds the front end, also called client-side, of a website or web application. Some Front End Developers will update current websites to meet modern standards, create prototypes from wireframes, and use design comps to satisfy the needs of their employer or client.Learn about becoming a Front End Developer