What is Software Engineering?

Software engineering is a rapidly growing field offering a wide array of career opportunities such as Full Stack Web Developer, Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, and more. With technology continually evolving, learning software engineering can equip you with in-demand skills, open gateways to lucrative compensation packages, and offer constant learning opportunities for professional growth.

Key Insights

  • Software engineering is a highly demanded career field as our society becomes increasingly reliant on computer-driven processes.
  • Software Engineers utilize low-level and high-level programming languages to create both system software and application software.
  • Open source programming allows for more collaborative and clean coding. Development tools can range from free to thousands of dollars, with many being free for non-commercial use.
  • Careers in software engineering are projected to grow by 22% over the next decade. Job roles include Full Stack Web Developer, Data Scientist, Machine Learning Engineer, and Development and Operations Engineer.
  • Noble Desktop offers both in-person and online software engineering classes, with flexible scheduling options to accommodate various student needs.
  • Salaries for software engineering positions can be lucrative, offering rewarding compensation packages along with opportunities for professional growth.

Are you interested in a career that will allow you to be creative and analytical? If so, software engineering may be a career to explore. Software engineering is a popular field, and demand for Software Engineers is high as our world's reliance on software grows. In this overview, you will learn more about what software engineering is, what it can do, who uses it, and how to learn it to determine how to add this skill to your professional toolbox.

What Can You Do with Software Engineering?

Our society continues to rely more heavily on computer-driven processes. Software Engineers are the brain power behind these processes and create the programs and applications we use daily. Software Engineers use programming languages to develop software programs and applications. Programming skills are sought after across fields and sectors, and you can do many cool things with this skill set! 

Low-level programming languages, such as assembly and machine language, can be used to create system software. System software is a general software that develops and runs other application software. A few examples of system software are operating systems, like Mac OS and Android, and video game systems, like the Nintendo system software, which allow video games to run.

You can also create application software using programming languages—software engineers design application software to carry out a specific function. For example, Spotify is an application software that allows you to listen to music or podcasts. Engineers use high-level programming languages like Java and Python to write application software. 

How Do You Get Software Engineering Tools? 

Most programming languages, such as Python and JavaScript, are free and open-source. Open source programming means that written code can be used and modified by others freely. This makes for more collaborative and clean coding. Many developers help improve and troubleshoot bugs in open-source code in places like GitHub and SourceForge. 

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Programming language compilers, interpreters, and other associated tools can range from free to thousands of dollars. Most of these development tools are free when used for non-commercial use. As you learn to code, you will likely use a free code editor, such as Visual Studio Code, to assist with building and debugging web and cloud applications. Other tools, like Anaconda, a Python and R distributor of the core Python language and third-party libraries in a convenient package, and Google Collab, another convenient option for accessing, writing, and executing arbitrary Python code, are available free to users. 

What Are the Benefits of Learning Software Engineering?

Software engineering is an in-demand career path, and the demand has no signs of slowing. Why? Technology is constantly evolving, and it is more important than ever that modern businesses be able to compete and meet user needs with new or updated software solutions. Software engineering skills can prepare you to work in various careers and industries. Thus, it is a rewarding career, offering more lucrative compensation packages, professional growth opportunities, and collaborative and creative work environments. 

Learning software engineering skills will give you in-depth knowledge of various programming languages, databases, and operating systems. There are continuous learning opportunities in this field, and Software Engineers are encouraged to learn new programming languages and technologies to stay up to date on the ever-changing technology, making this job constantly enjoyable! 

Read more about why you should learn Software Engineering skills

Software Engineering Careers

Whether you are pivoting into a software engineering career from another field or are looking to upskill, many careers use software engineering skills to power their computer programs and software solutions. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software engineering jobs will grow by 22% over the next decade, which is faster than average for most occupations. A few potential careers you may land after adding software development skills to your toolbox include: 

  • Full Stack Web Developer: These developers can manage both the front end (user-side) and back end (server-side) of websites. Working on both ends of development allows engineers to tap into their creative and analytical skills, as they are concerned with what the user will see and how things integrate behind the scenes to keep the software running. 
  • Data Scientist: We live in a data-driven world, and companies generate large amounts of data about their consumers. Data scientists use scientific methods, machine learning algorithms, and other analytical tools to make sense of this data. Businesses use the insights from Data Scientists to inform business decisions. 
  • Machine Learning (ML) Engineers: These programmers research, design, and build artificial intelligence (AI) systems. Examples of AI systems include Apple’s Siri, Tesla’s self-driving cars, and Betterment. ML Engineers use large data sets to create algorithms capable of learning to automate prediction. 
  • Development and Operations (DevOps) Engineer: DevOps engineers oversee code releases and deployments in collaboration with developers and IT staff. In addition, DevOps works across team siloes to ensure new updates and features to software can happen seamlessly and without bugs. These IT professionals have a wide range of knowledge of the software development life cycle and operations.

How to Learn Software Engineering

Would you prefer to learn software engineering skills in a class setting? Noble Desktop has developed several tools to help you find a Software Engineering class that meets your needs. 

Noble’s Classes Near Me tool helps students identify in-person software engineering classes available in their area. The tool also lists live online software engineering classes if you prefer to enroll in a virtual class. 

Your schedule and availability will impact how you best learn software engineering skills. If you are juggling a busy schedule, an on-demand Software Engineering class may be best for you. An asynchronous coding bootcamp allows students to complete their curriculums at a pace that fits their schedules. There are on-demand class options for students of all levels, including beginners. You will also find classes that range from a few days to six months. 

Noble also offers free, in-depth Software Engineering tutorials on YouTube. The videos feature topics such as an introduction to popular programming languages and web design techniques. You will also find an extensive list of free seminars Noble offers related to software engineering, like the Intro to front end Web Development webinar. 

Read the full guide on how to learn Software Engineering.

A Brief History of Software Engineering

The field of engineering has been around for centuries, but software engineering became its own stand-alone form until the 20th century. Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist, coined the term “software engineering” in the early 1960s. The field experienced a growing interest in the 1960s and 1970s, which led to the “software crisis.” During this crisis, software projects were notoriously over budget and behind schedule. Developers struggled to write useful and efficient code as the complexity of the problems and computer power grew. The industries attempting to address this issue focused on adding more tools, methodologies, and processes, such as object-oriented programming in the 1970 and 1980s, to support developers in meeting the growing technological needs.

In 1990, the WorldWideWeb, as well as HTTP and HTML, was developed by Tim Berners-Lee, ushering in a decade of advancement in software. The Java Programming Language, the most popular language in use, was created. The 2000s saw a focus on the methodologies used by developers, and the principles of Agile software development and Scrum became standard practice in the field. The 2010s were marked by the growth of cloud computing, which continues to evolve and be an increasingly important part of this field. 

Comparable Fields

When exploring fields similar to software engineering, you may come across Data Science. Data Scientists use scientific methods, machine learning algorithms, and other analytical tools to make sense of large data sets so their clients can use those insights to inform their strategies, products, or services. Data Science is an emerging interdisciplinary field within computer science and, like software engineering, requires specialized knowledge in programming. Often, Software Engineers and Data Scientists work together in tandem within organizations. 

While Software Engineers focus more on designing, developing, and testing software solutions, Data Scientists spend their time analyzing data and developing machine learning algorithms for better decision-making and products. Data scientists spend more time working with data and have deep knowledge of statistics and data analytics, while Software Engineers have a deeper understanding of object-oriented programming. 

Conquer Software Engineering with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Noble Desktop offers an assortment of Software Engineering classes that will teach you the skills needed to become a Software Engineer. You can join Noble’s courses in-person in Manhattan or virtually from the comfort of your home or office. These courses feature small class sizes led by expert instructors with experience in the field. In addition, Noble classes feature a free retake option that will allow you to retake a course within a year for no extra fees. 

If you want to be a more well-rounded web developer, consider enrolling in either the  Software Engineering Certificate or the Full-Stack Web Development Certificate. Both courses will prepare you to build both the front end and back end of websites. By the end of the Full-Stack Web Development Certificate, students can use programming languages, such as HTML & CSS, JavaScript, and React, to develop and build web applications. If you have a few extra weeks, the Software Engineering Certificate is more comprehensive and will teach you Python, a popular programming language for web development, data analysis, and automation. 

Noble’s Python Developer Certificate program is the perfect course for someone with a shorter-time frame looking to learn a highly used programming language. This certificate will take you from a beginner to an intermediate Python programmer in a few weeks. This course will prepare you for success as a Python Developer, Back End Developer, or Software Engineer. 

If you’re interested in working with data in your career, Noble Desktop’s Data Science Certificate is a good option for you. This immersive training will equip you with skills ranging from Python programming to machine learning models.

Key Takeaways

  • Software engineering is an in-demand and versatile career that will allow you to build the software programs and applications that power our technology-driven world. 
  • The field of software engineering has evolved since the term was coined in the 1960s, which has made this a career path marked by continuous learning opportunities as technology changes. 
  • There are various resources to learn more about programming languages and the software engineering field. 
  • Noble Desktop offers comprehensive in-person and online software engineering classes.

How to Learn Software Engineering

Master software engineering with hands-on training. Software engineer

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