Software Engineer Employment - Software Engineer Employment Outlook
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Computer software engineers are one of the most in-demand jobs in the current market. Experts have projected some of the highest-growth rates for these jobs over the course of the next ten years. As software engineer jobs increase, computer programmer jobs are expected to decrease until at least 2018.
The job of a software engineer is to develop and design computer software. Specific tasks are not only in the creation of software, but also in testing and evaluation of the software and the hardware on which the software runs. Work and tasks change rapidly and dramatically as technology advances.
The types of software most in demand of software engineers are computer games, operating systems, network control applications, and business software. Once user’s needs are determined, the process of development can begin with charts, diagrams, and documentation. Some software engineers are responsible for writing basic code, but this job is usually handed over to specialty programmers.
Software engineers are grouped into one of two specialty categories: application engineers and system engineers. Application engineers are responsible for software design, creation, and final deployment of software going out for retail sale or being custom-designed for a particular business. Different computer languages are used depending on the specific software. System engineers are responsible for creating, maintaining, and expanding all software of the company for which they work. This includes the company’s software for inventory, purchasing, invoicing, payroll, and bookkeeping. They may also be responsible for intranet networking, security, and data storage inside the organization.
Software engineers, and programmers, usually work in cubicle-filled offices. Some, however, may work in private offices or computer laboratories. Additionally, many software engineers are designated as travelers. It is their job to meet clients on-location to help in the development and implementation of the software. A small percentage of software engineers telecommute, working from home. This is not a common practice, but it has been growing in the field. Most people working in this job work regular 40-hour weeks. Travelers and assorted others can work from 50 to 60 hours per week.
Although a two-year degree or certificate is enough for some employers of software engineers, most are looking for a bachelor’s degree. In addition, many employers look for those who already have relevant experience or skills related to the job. The preferred degree majors for software engineers are computer science, computer engineering, design, and mathematics. However, specialty software companies may be looking for degrees related to the type of software they produce. Gaming companies may want someone with more design skills, while courses in business are desirable for a company producing business applications.
Advancement in the field of software engineering is based on hard work and experience. Promotions available include project management positions, chief information officer, or other supervisory positions.
In 2008, there were over 900,000 employed computer software engineers in the United States. Of those, a little more than 500,000 were applications engineers, and almost 400,000 were computer systems engineers. Although most were employed by companies, almost 50,000 are listed as self-employed.
Over the course of the next ten years growth in the field of software engineering is expect to rise by 32% with about 300,000 new positions available. As technology begins to take hold of all most every other business, the need for software to meet the demands of those businesses will continue to expand. The increasing need for system security is also responsible for the rise in jobs. The only factor limiting growth of the job market for software engineers in the U.S. is outsourcing the work to foreign countries where lower wages can be paid.
Average starting wages for a software engineers range from $50,000 to $70,000 per year. The middle 50% of those employed in this field make between $67,000 and $113,000 per year.