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Working As a Software Development Engineer

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

  • $116,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Software Development 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 Development 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 Development Engineer Career Paths

Software Development Engineer
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Project Manager Product Manager
Product Director
11 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Systems Analyst Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Information Technology Manager Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Programmer Network Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Consultant Information Technology Project Manager
Technical Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Adjunct Professor Senior Scientist
Research And Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Consultant Senior Programmer Analyst
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Business Analyst Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Owner Co-Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Senior Project Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Administrator Senior Technologist
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Owner Information Technology Director
Director Of Enterprise Architecture
14 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Business Analyst Technical Project Manager
Technical Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Applications Developer Manager Applications Development Application Development Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Web Developer User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer
Product Lead
7 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Software Leader 3.3 years
Software Engineer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Software Development Engineer
Internship 4.7%
Developer 3.4%
Programmer 3.0%
Consultant 2.6%
Top Careers After Software Development Engineer
Consultant 3.8%
Developer 3.1%

Do you work as a Software Development Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$116,000
Show Salaries
$95,000
Min 10%
$116,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Median 50%
$116,000
Median 50%
$143,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Apple
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.0 years
How much does a Software Development Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Software Development Engineer in the United States is $116,854 per year or $56 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $95,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $143,000.

Real Software Development Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Development Engineer II Amazon Web Services LLC Ashburn, VA Dec 28, 2009 $120,000
Software Developer/Systems Engineer Skill Voice Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 11, 2019 $103,584
Software Development Engineer I Amazon Corporate LLC Ashburn, VA Oct 01, 2010 $95,000
Software Development Engineer In Test Blue Fusion Enterprise Technologies Inc. Ashburn, VA May 16, 2019 $94,000
Software Developer/Software Engineer Vs-Soft, LLC Ashburn, VA Mar 28, 2019 $93,933
Software Developer Engineer Vigna Solutions, Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 30, 2016 $89,178
Sdet Tester Anira Solutions Inc. Ashburn, VA Mar 25, 2019 $82,000
Software Development Engineer I Amazon Corporate LLC Ashburn, VA May 17, 2016 $72,300 -
$126,500
Software Development Engineer I Amazon Corporate LLC Ashburn, VA Sep 03, 2015 $71,614 -
$125,200
Software Engineer-.Net Developer Zolon Tech Solutions, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 22, 2010 $66,000
Software Development Engineer Reverb Networks, Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 15, 2011 $56,500 -
$66,500

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Top Skills for A Software Development Engineer

  1. Test Cases
  2. Pl/Sql
  3. Selenium Webdriver
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Analyzed project documentation, analyzed and estimated requirements, planned, prepared and updated detailed Test cases using Quality Center.
  • Developed SQL, Triggers, Procedures, Functions for Information services module using Oracle PL/SQL for different modules and reporting requirements.
  • Designed & Implemented a Hybrid Test Automation Framework using Selenium WebDriver.
  • Developed SimpleStandII Test Suite installation process for Windows XP environments.
  • Provide innovation and internal java/web applications to enhance the manufacturing engineer's output and productivity to design and build quality vehicles.

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Top 10 Best States for Software Development Engineers

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. Delaware
  4. New York
  5. Texas
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Virginia
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Oregon
  • (7,691 jobs)
  • (20,309 jobs)
  • (375 jobs)
  • (5,370 jobs)
  • (8,073 jobs)
  • (1,125 jobs)
  • (6,679 jobs)
  • (561 jobs)
  • (4,585 jobs)
  • (1,449 jobs)

Software Development Engineer Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 7,750 Software Development Engineer resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Software Development Engineer Resume

View Resume Examples

Software Development Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

64.7%

Female

20.3%

Unknown

15.0%
Ethnicity

White

45.9%

Asian

29.8%

Hispanic or Latino

11.2%

Black or African American

7.3%

Unknown

5.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

23.2%

French

15.5%

German

10.1%

Japanese

10.1%

Mandarin

7.1%

Chinese

7.1%

Russian

4.8%

Arabic

4.2%

Italian

3.0%

Korean

2.4%

Vietnamese

1.8%

Cantonese

1.8%

Carrier

1.8%

Persian

1.8%

Hindi

1.2%

Dutch

1.2%

Hebrew

1.2%

Telugu

0.6%

Romanian

0.6%

Shan

0.6%
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Software Development Engineer Education

Schools

University of Washington

16.4%

University of Texas at Dallas

7.1%

University of Southern California

5.9%

San Jose State University

5.4%

Arizona State University

5.0%

More Tech Institute

4.9%

Illinois Institute of Technology

4.8%

Maharishi University of Management

4.7%

University of Texas at Austin

4.7%

Northeastern University

4.7%

Texas A&M University

4.4%

University of Florida

4.4%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.1%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.0%

George Washington University

3.6%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.4%

Purdue University

3.3%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.1%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.1%

University of Phoenix

3.1%
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Majors

Computer Science

43.6%

Computer Engineering

14.5%

Electrical Engineering

10.4%

Business

4.7%

Information Technology

3.7%

Computer Applications

3.5%

Computer Information Systems

3.1%

Engineering

2.5%

Information Systems

2.2%

Mathematics

1.7%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.4%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%

Management Information Systems

1.2%

Finance

1.1%

Physics

1.1%

Management

1.0%

Computer Networking

1.0%

Project Management

0.9%

Information Sciences

0.7%

Education

0.6%
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Degrees

Masters

42.8%

Bachelors

40.4%

Other

8.8%

Doctorate

3.3%

Associate

2.1%

Certificate

1.7%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.0%
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Updated May 19, 2020