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Become A Software Design Engineer

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Working As A Software Design Engineer

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

  • $92,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Software Design 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 Software Design 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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Software Design Engineer jobs

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Software Design Engineer Career Paths

Software Design Engineer
Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager Senior Manager
Chief Information Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Principal Software Engineer Principal Engineer Program Manager
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Manager
Director Of Information
10 Yearsyrs
Staff Software Engineer Principal Software Engineer Software Development Manager
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator
Information Technology Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Principal Software Engineer Software Architect Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Program Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Business Analyst Product Manager
Product Management Director
12 Yearsyrs
Embedded Software Engineer Systems Engineer Product Manager
Product Manager, Mobile
10 Yearsyrs
Firmware Engineer Systems Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Senior .NET Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Senior Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Principal Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Senior Information Technology Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Firmware Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Senior Java Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager Database Administrator
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Software Engineer Senior Staff Engineer Engineering Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager Director Of Information
Vice President Of Information Technology
12 Yearsyrs
Embedded Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer Product Manager
Vice President, Product Management
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Development Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President, Software Development
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Design Engineer 3.4 years
Software Leader 3.2 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Software Architect 3.2 years
Software Engineer 3.2 years
Systems Engineer 3.2 years
Software Designer 3.0 years
Computer Engineer 3.0 years
Software Developer 2.7 years
Software Analyst 2.6 years
Programmer 2.6 years
Developer 2.2 years
Software Tester 1.8 years
Top Employers Before
Programmer 3.3%
Consultant 2.8%
Internship 2.4%
Developer 2.3%
Engineer 2.1%
Top Employers After
Consultant 4.2%

Software Design Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

75.8%

Female

18.7%

Unknown

5.6%
Ethnicity

White

60.7%

Asian

26.6%

Hispanic or Latino

7.1%

Unknown

4.4%

Black or African American

1.1%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

24.2%

French

16.1%

Chinese

12.9%

Japanese

9.7%

Italian

6.5%

German

4.8%

Hindi

4.8%

Mandarin

4.8%

Portuguese

3.2%

Gujarati

3.2%

Indonesian

1.6%

Greek

1.6%

Romanian

1.6%

Dutch

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Korean

1.6%
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Software Design Engineer Education

Schools

University of Washington

17.5%

University of Texas at Dallas

10.0%

Southern Methodist University

7.5%

Pennsylvania State University

5.0%

University of Texas at Austin

5.0%

University of Phoenix

5.0%

Bellevue College

4.6%

Colorado State University

4.6%

Syracuse University

4.2%

Maharishi University of Management

3.8%

University of Iowa

3.8%

San Jose State University

3.8%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.3%

University of Southern California

3.3%

Portland State University

3.3%

Northeastern University

3.3%

University of Colorado at Boulder

2.9%

More Tech Institute

2.9%

Washington State University

2.9%
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Majors

Computer Science

34.7%

Electrical Engineering

21.5%

Computer Engineering

13.0%

Business

7.0%

Computer Information Systems

2.9%

Computer Applications

2.8%

Engineering

2.7%

Mathematics

1.9%

Information Technology

1.8%

Physics

1.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.3%

Management

1.3%

Information Systems

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering

1.2%

Management Information Systems

1.1%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.1%

Computer Networking

0.9%

Finance

0.9%

Systems Engineering

0.7%

Computer Engineering Technology

0.7%
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Degrees

Masters

42.4%

Bachelors

40.1%

Other

9.3%

Doctorate

3.7%

Certificate

2.4%

Associate

1.7%

Diploma

0.5%
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Internship
Temporary

Real Software Design Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Principal Software Design Engineer Amgen Inc. Thousand Oaks, CA Jun 05, 2016 $160,000
Software Design Engineer Compucom Systems, Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 10, 2015 $158,007
Software Design Engineer Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company Palo Alto, CA Dec 13, 2016 $157,477
Research Software Design Engineer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Sep 21, 2015 $155,000
Software Design Engineer (Staff) PMC-Sierra Us, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 13, 2015 $148,803
Staff Software Design Engineer Microsemi Storage Solutions (U.S.), Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jan 09, 2016 $146,219
Software Design Engineer Flotek Industries, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 09, 2016 $139,050
Software Design Engineer-Windows Device Driver Netscout Systems Inc. San Jose, CA Dec 09, 2016 $138,403 -
$143,403
Software Design Engineer-Windows Device Driver Netscout Systems Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 23, 2016 $138,403 -
$143,403
Software Design Engineer Voicebox Technologies, Inc. Bellevue, WA Sep 15, 2015 $135,000
Software Design Engineer III Electronic Arts, Inc. Redwood City, CA Nov 19, 2015 $134,638
Software Design Engineer III Concur Technologies, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 13, 2016 $134,638 -
$144,638
Software Design Engineer Texas Instruments Incorporated San Diego, CA Aug 06, 2015 $134,004
Software Design Engineer In Test Concur Technologies, Inc. Bellevue, WA Feb 11, 2016 $133,806 -
$143,806
Software Design Engineer Tektronix Texas LLC Plano, TX Oct 01, 2015 $81,952 -
$110,000
Software Design Engineer (SDE) Azmetry Inc. Moline, IL Aug 29, 2016 $81,910
Software Design Engineer Bosch Automotive Service Solutions, Inc. Livonia, MI Mar 22, 2016 $81,731
Software Design Engineer Bosch Automotive Service Solutions LLC Livonia, MI Jan 30, 2015 $81,731
Software Design Engineer Bosch Automotive Service Solutions Inc. Livonia, MI Apr 27, 2015 $81,731
Software Design Engineer In Test Inspur USA Inc. Redmond, WA Sep 09, 2015 $81,706
Software Design Engineer Inspur USA Inc. Bellevue, WA Sep 08, 2015 $81,706
Software Design Engineer (SDE) Azmetry Inc. Kenosha, WI Aug 24, 2016 $81,640
Software Design Engineer Azimetry Inc. Washington, DC Feb 08, 2016 $70,803
Embedded Software Design Engineer Synapse Wireless, Inc. Huntsville, AL Sep 09, 2016 $70,720
Software Design Engineer In Test Inspur USA Inc. Bellevue, WA Feb 27, 2016 $70,614
Software Design Engineer In Test Corbis Corporation Seattle, WA Apr 09, 2016 $70,300 -
$112,500
Software Design Engineer (SDE) Azmetry Inc. Islandia, NY Jul 10, 2016 $70,221
Design Engineer, Application Software RGB Systems Anaheim, CA Feb 09, 2016 $70,000
Software Design Engineer Divensi Inc. Bellevue, WA Mar 07, 2016 $70,000 -
$86,362

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Top Skills for A Software Design Engineer

WindowsXPC#.NETT-SqlWebServicesC/C++UserInterfacePlatformDatabaseHardwareSoftwareDesignAPISQLServerTestCasesTestPlansASPXMLSoftwareDevelopmentLinuxTestAutomationHtml

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Top Software Design Engineer Skills

  1. Windows XP
  2. C # .NET
  3. T-Sql
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Developed web application for the Windows division that managed stress failures on Windows XP and Windows.NET systems.
  • Performed modifications and upgrades to Transact-SQL Stored Procedures.
  • Consumed Web Services for obtaining Location and Places of Interest (POI) search results from Live Search Maps.
  • Designed and developed software in C/C++ and Assembler for interrupt service routines and serial interfaces.
  • Developed User Interface, embedded software for Ethernet network solutions

Top Software Design Engineer Employers

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Software Design Engineer Videos

Here's How Much Money Game Developers Make - IGN News

How to Become a Web Designer in 2015 | Design Careers

Extra Credits - So You Want To Be a Game Designer - Career Advice for Making Games

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