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Become A Computer Software Engineer

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Working As A Computer Software Engineer

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $95,366

    Average Salary

What Does A Computer Software Engineer Do

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Duties

Software developers typically do the following:

  • Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
  • Design each piece of an application or a system and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that instruct programmers how to write software code
  • Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing
  • Document every aspect of an application or a system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades
  • Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

Software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs. Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functionality of software, such as the level of security and performance needs. They design the program and then give instructions to programmers, who write computer code and test it.

If the program does not work as expected or if testers find it too difficult to use, software developers go back to the design process to fix the problems or improve the program. After the program is released to the customer, a developer may perform upgrades and maintenance.

Developers usually work closely with computer programmers. However, in some companies, developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to the programmers.

Developers who supervise a software project from the planning stages through implementation sometimes are called information technology (IT) project managers. These workers monitor the project’s progress to ensure that it meets deadlines, standards, and cost targets. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

The following are examples of types of software developers:

Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors and games, for consumers. They may create custom software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the general public. Some applications software developers create complex databases for organizations. They also create programs that people use over the Internet and within a company’s intranet.

Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning properly. These could be operating systems for computers that the general public buys or systems built specifically for an organization. Often, systems software developers also build the system’s interface, which is what allows users to interact with the computer. Systems software developers are creating the operating systems that control most of the consumer electronics in use today, including the systems in phones or cars.

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How To Become A Computer Software Engineer

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills.

Education

Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. A degree in mathematics is also acceptable. Computer science degree programs are the most common, because they tend to cover a broad range of topics. Students should focus on classes related to building software in order to better prepare themselves for work in the occupation. For some positions, employers may prefer a master’s degree.

Although writing code is not their first priority, developers must have a strong background in computer programming. They usually gain this experience in school. Throughout their career, developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.

Software developers also need skills related to the industry in which they work. Developers working in a bank, for example, should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs.

Other Experience

Many students gain experience in software development by completing an internship at a software company while in college.

Some software developers first work as computer programmers and then are given more responsibility as they gain experience. Eventually, they become developers.

Advancement

Software developers can advance to become information technology (IT) project managers, also called computer and information systems managers, a position in which they oversee the software development process.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Developers must analyze users’ needs and then design software to meet those needs.

Communication skills. Developers must be able to give clear instructions to others working on a project. They must also explain to their customers how the software works and answer any questions that arise.

Computer skills. Developers must understand computer capabilities and programming languages in order to design effective software.

Creativity. Developers are the creative minds behind new computer software.

Detail oriented. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and must therefore be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.

Interpersonal skills. Software developers must be able to work well with others who contribute to designing, developing, and programming successful software.

Problem-solving skills. Because developers are in charge of software from beginning to end, they must be able to solve problems that arise throughout the design process.

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Average Length of Employment
Software Designer 3.1 years
Software Engineer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Computer Software Engineer
Engineer 3.6%
Top Careers After Computer Software Engineer
Engineer 2.6%

Do you work as a Computer Software Engineer?

Computer Software Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

74.6%

Female

17.4%

Unknown

8.0%
Ethnicity

White

49.7%

Asian

21.6%

Hispanic or Latino

13.4%

Black or African American

10.8%

Unknown

4.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Chinese

25.0%

Spanish

25.0%

Mandarin

16.7%

Sami

8.3%

German

8.3%

Korean

8.3%

Arabic

8.3%
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Computer Software Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.5%

Drexel University

6.3%

New Mexico State University

6.3%

West Virginia University

6.3%

Stevens Institute of Technology

6.3%

Syracuse University

4.2%

University of Connecticut

4.2%

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

4.2%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.2%

University of Washington

4.2%

University of Massachusetts - Worcester

4.2%

Vanderbilt University

4.2%

Johns Hopkins University

4.2%

DePaul University

4.2%

Towson University

4.2%

Art Institute of Houston

4.2%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.2%

University of Maryland - Baltimore

4.2%

Case Western Reserve University

4.2%

University of Iowa

4.2%
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Majors

Computer Science

31.0%

Computer Engineering

13.3%

Electrical Engineering

12.0%

Business

8.9%

Information Technology

6.3%

Physics

3.8%

Computer Information Systems

2.5%

Mathematics

2.5%

Information Systems

2.5%

Systems Engineering

1.9%

Finance

1.9%

Computer Systems Security

1.9%

Mechanical Engineering

1.9%

Accounting

1.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.3%

Management Information Systems

1.3%

Medicine

1.3%

Interior Design

1.3%

Aerospace Engineering

1.3%

Theology

1.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

45.0%

Masters

32.7%

Other

8.4%

Doctorate

6.4%

Associate

4.0%

Certificate

3.0%

License

0.5%
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Real Computer Software Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Computersoftware Engineer Mirantis, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 23, 2015 $155,000
Computer Product Software Engineer Xoriant Corporation Sunnyvale, CA Mar 05, 2015 $152,776
Computer Software Engineer (SAP Systems) Sparta Consulting Inc. Union City, CA Apr 08, 2015 $142,000
Computer Software Engineer (SAP Systems) Sparta Consulting Inc. Issaquah, WA Jun 22, 2015 $142,000
Computational Geometry Software Engineer Plethora Corporation San Francisco, CA Jul 12, 2015 $140,000
Computer Vision Software Engineer Skydio, Inc. Redwood City, CA Sep 15, 2016 $138,445 -
$150,000
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Code and Theory LLC New York, NY Oct 22, 2016 $135,000
Computer Software Engineer-Escalation Athoc, Inc. San Mateo, CA May 01, 2015 $134,638
Computer Software Engineer Athoc, Inc. San Mateo, CA Sep 01, 2015 $134,638
Software Engineer, Compute System Salesforce.Com Inc. Seattle, WA Apr 25, 2016 $133,806
SR. Computer Vision Software Engineer Nvidia Corporation Redmond, WA May 19, 2016 $132,142 -
$154,000
Computer Software Engineer Grand Pacific Resorts Inc. Carlsbad, CA Jul 26, 2015 $129,000
Senior Computer Software Engineer Edataworld LLC Bothell, WA Mar 05, 2015 $129,000
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. Phoenix, AZ Feb 16, 2015 $88,525
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Saicon Consultants, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Apr 15, 2015 $88,500
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. Cambridge, MA Feb 09, 2016 $88,405
CAD Software Engineer Advanced Siemens PLM Software Inc. Cypress, CA Mar 11, 2015 $88,400 -
$101,126
Computer Software Engineer International Systems Technologies, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Apr 30, 2015 $88,300
Computer Software Engineer Applications HTC Global Services, Inc. Troy, MI Mar 23, 2016 $88,296
Computer Software Engineer Applications HTC Global Services, Inc. Troy, MI Jun 11, 2015 $88,296
Computer Software Engineer Applications HTC Global Services, Inc. Troy, MI Oct 26, 2015 $88,296
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. New York, NY Sep 14, 2015 $78,377
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. Stamford, CT Sep 14, 2015 $78,377
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. Victor, NY Sep 21, 2015 $78,377
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. Princeton, NJ Aug 01, 2016 $78,362
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. Smithfield, VA Aug 31, 2015 $78,362
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. Princeton, NJ Aug 31, 2015 $78,362
Computer Software Engineer, Applications Fujitsu America, Inc. King of Prussia, PA Aug 31, 2015 $78,362

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Top Skills for A Computer Software Engineer

  1. C++
  2. Computer
  3. Web
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Utilized C++ to solve performance bottlenecks in post processing scripts.
  • Planned, managed, and implemented all aspects of communications and computer projects for geographically separated organizations throughout the Pacific theater.
  • Evaluated and improved modifications of company websites and database designs.
  • Developed queries, procedures, and packages with Oracle PL/SQL.
  • Developed programs to process inventory records from client distribution centers and update database with new inventory levels.

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Top 10 Best States for Computer Software Engineers

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. New Hampshire
  4. New York
  5. Oregon
  6. Colorado
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Texas
  9. Vermont
  10. Nevada
  • (16,574 jobs)
  • (6,439 jobs)
  • (428 jobs)
  • (3,680 jobs)
  • (1,085 jobs)
  • (2,267 jobs)
  • (3,619 jobs)
  • (5,276 jobs)
  • (84 jobs)
  • (270 jobs)

Top Computer Software Engineer Employers

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