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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 Career Paths

Software Design Engineer
Program Manager Marketing Consultant Analyst
Analyst Lead
6 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Lead Lead Technician Project Leader
Architect & Project Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Software Development Engineer Lead Technician Project Leader
Consultant/Project Leader
6 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Lead Senior Test Systems Engineer Senior Quality Assurance Engineer
Lead Software Tester
6 Yearsyrs
Web Developer User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer
Product Lead
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Consultant Senior Project Manager
Project Manager & Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Coordinator Project Specialist
Project Team Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Field Engineer Application Engineer
Senior Applications Engineer
8 Yearsyrs
Designation-Senior Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer Senior Consultant
Senior Consultant Architect
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Lead Project Leader Senior Java Developer
Senior Information Technology Developer
8 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Contractor/Consultant Senior Analyst
Senior Lead Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Management Consultant Build-Release Engineer
Senior Release Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Lead Technical Writer Quality Assurance Analyst
Senior Software Quality Analyst
7 Yearsyrs
Software Development Engineer Program Manager Subject Matter Expert
Senior Subject Matter Expert
7 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Software Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Staff Software Engineer Software Engineer Lead
Software Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Project Leader
Technical Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Lead Developer Manager Applications Development Application Development Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Software Design Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Software Engineer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Software Design Engineer
Programmer 3.6%
Internship 3.2%
Developer 2.7%
Consultant 2.7%
Engineer 2.2%
Top Careers After Software Design Engineer
Consultant 3.9%

Do you work as a Software Design Engineer?

Software Design Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

75.5%

Female

19.2%

Unknown

5.3%
Ethnicity

White

48.6%

Asian

26.5%

Hispanic or Latino

11.5%

Black or African American

7.3%

Unknown

6.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.8%

French

16.7%

Chinese

9.1%

Japanese

7.6%

Italian

6.1%

German

4.5%

Hindi

4.5%

Mandarin

4.5%

Portuguese

3.0%

Gujarati

3.0%

Russian

1.5%

Indonesian

1.5%

Greek

1.5%

Romanian

1.5%

Dutch

1.5%

Dari

1.5%

Persian

1.5%

Korean

1.5%

Arabic

1.5%

Carrier

1.5%
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Software Design Engineer Education

Schools

University of Washington

17.9%

University of Texas at Dallas

9.4%

Southern Methodist University

5.8%

University of Texas at Austin

5.4%

Bellevue College

4.9%

Pennsylvania State University

4.5%

University of Iowa

4.5%

San Jose State University

4.5%

Northeastern University

4.5%

Maharishi University of Management

4.0%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.0%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.6%

University of Southern California

3.6%

University of Phoenix

3.6%

Washington State University

3.6%

Colorado State University

3.6%

Syracuse University

3.1%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.1%

Ohio State University

3.1%

Texas A&M University

3.1%
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Majors

Computer Science

33.8%

Electrical Engineering

19.9%

Computer Engineering

14.4%

Business

7.2%

Computer Applications

3.2%

Computer Information Systems

2.9%

Engineering

2.8%

Mathematics

2.2%

Information Technology

1.8%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%

Information Systems

1.3%

Physics

1.3%

Management

1.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.1%

Finance

1.1%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.1%

Management Information Systems

1.0%

Project Management

0.8%

Computer Networking

0.8%

Computer Engineering Technology

0.8%
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Degrees

Masters

42.3%

Bachelors

40.3%

Other

9.4%

Doctorate

3.1%

Certificate

2.8%

Associate

1.6%

Diploma

0.5%
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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 Inspur USA Inc. Bellevue, WA Sep 08, 2015 $81,706
Software Design Engineer In Test Inspur USA Inc. Redmond, WA Sep 09, 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 (SDE) Azimetry Inc. Bellevue, WA Mar 07, 2016 $70,000 -
$86,362

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Software Design Engineer

Average Yearly Salary
$92,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$66,000
Min 10%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$92,000
Median 50%
$128,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Apple
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
Nevada
Avg Experience Level
3.7 years
How much does a Software Design Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Software Design Engineer in the United States is $92,306 per year or $44 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $66,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $128,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Software Design Engineer?

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Top Skills for A Software Design Engineer

  1. Windows XP
  2. Test Cases
  3. Web Application
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed and built customized Windows XP Embedded image using XP Embedded Studio, InCtrl5, Windows Scripting language, etc.
  • Automated test cases using internally built services framework.
  • Performed maintenance coding and feature enhancements for the above mentioned web applications after their deployment into production.
  • Designed and coded part of a server-side production project, in C# and T-SQL.
  • Designed and delivered object oriented C++ software for real time telephony applications.

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Top 10 Best States for Software Design Engineers

  1. California
  2. Virginia
  3. Texas
  4. New York
  5. Washington
  6. Minnesota
  7. Maryland
  8. Oregon
  9. Michigan
  10. New Hampshire
  • (18,990 jobs)
  • (6,612 jobs)
  • (7,014 jobs)
  • (4,771 jobs)
  • (6,916 jobs)
  • (1,749 jobs)
  • (3,738 jobs)
  • (1,241 jobs)
  • (2,097 jobs)
  • (519 jobs)

Top Software Design Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Software Design Engineer Employers

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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