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Become A Software Development Engineer

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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

  • $80,739

    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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Do you work as a Software Development Engineer?

Software Development Engineer Jobs

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Software Development Engineer Career Paths

Software Development Engineer
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager Director Of Information
Chief Technology Officer
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Contractor/Consultant Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Information Technology Director
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Business Analyst Product Manager
Product Management Director
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Lead Project Manager Product Manager
Product Manager, Mobile
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Quality Assurance Engineer Quality Assurance Lead Senior Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Data Analyst Web Developer
Senior .NET Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Senior Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Software Design Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Senior Java Developer
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Consultant Project Manager
Senior Project Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Quality Assurance Engineer Business Analyst
Senior Quality Assurance Analyst
6 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Database Administrator Senior Software Engineer
Senior Quality Assurance Engineer
7 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Lead Quality Assurance Manager
Senior Quality Assurance Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Program Manager General Manager Database Administrator
Senior Software Engineer
6 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Technical Program Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Software Design Engineer Program Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President, Software Development
11 Yearsyrs
Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager Product Management Director
Vice President-Products
13 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Software Development Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Software Engineer 3.0 years
Software Developer 2.6 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 4.8%
Programmer 3.4%
Developer 3.4%
Consultant 3.2%
Top Employers After
Consultant 3.6%
Developer 2.5%

Do you work as a Software Development Engineer?

Software Development Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

71.5%

Female

21.8%

Unknown

6.7%
Ethnicity

White

55.8%

Asian

31.8%

Hispanic or Latino

7.1%

Unknown

4.2%

Black or African American

1.1%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

22.0%

French

14.2%

Japanese

11.3%

German

10.6%

Mandarin

6.4%

Chinese

5.7%

Arabic

5.7%

Russian

5.0%

Korean

2.8%

Italian

2.8%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Carrier

2.1%

Persian

2.1%

Hindi

1.4%

Cantonese

1.4%

Hebrew

1.4%

Telugu

0.7%

Dutch

0.7%

Shan

0.7%

Bulgarian

0.7%
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Software Development Engineer Education

Schools

University of Washington

14.3%

University of Texas at Dallas

7.8%

Northeastern University

6.0%

University of Texas at Austin

5.6%

San Jose State University

5.0%

University of Southern California

4.8%

Arizona State University

4.7%

University of Florida

4.7%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.3%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.1%

University of Colorado at Boulder

4.1%

More Tech Institute

4.1%

Illinois Institute of Technology

3.9%

George Washington University

3.7%

University of Texas at Arlington

3.7%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.7%

Cornell University

3.7%

Purdue University

3.7%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

42.4%

Computer Engineering

13.7%

Electrical Engineering

11.6%

Business

5.2%

Computer Information Systems

3.6%

Information Technology

3.4%

Computer Applications

2.9%

Engineering

2.4%

Information Systems

2.1%

Mathematics

1.5%

Management Information Systems

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.3%

Physics

1.2%

Management

1.2%

Computer Networking

1.1%

Finance

1.1%

Project Management

0.9%

Information Sciences

0.8%

Marketing

0.8%
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Degrees

Masters

42.8%

Bachelors

39.1%

Other

9.7%

Doctorate

3.5%

Certificate

2.1%

Associate

2.1%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Software Development Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Development Engineer Fortinet, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 01, 2015 $217,008
SW Develop ENG Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Feb 09, 2016 $215,000 -
$235,000
SW Development Engineer Ict5 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Feb 09, 2016 $210,000 -
$230,000
Software Development Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 28, 2016 $208,000 -
$229,330
Principal Software Development Engineer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jan 26, 2015 $203,873
Software Development Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA May 07, 2015 $201,000 -
$224,700
Software Engineer/Developer YASH & Lujan Consulting, Inc. San Antonio, TX Jun 18, 2015 $200,000
Software Development Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 24, 2016 $200,000 -
$233,900
Software Development Engineer, Systems, Principal Yahoo! Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jul 06, 2016 $200,000 -
$220,000
Software Development Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 12, 2015 $200,000 -
$229,300
Software Development Engineer 4 Thomson Reuters (Markets) LLC New York, NY Jun 27, 2016 $195,691
Pmts Software Development Engineer Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD) Sunnyvale, CA Jun 20, 2016 $193,800 -
$305,500
Software Development Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 21, 2016 $192,756 -
$233,900
SW Develop ENG Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Mar 10, 2016 $190,000 -
$210,000
Software Development Engineer II Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Jan 10, 2015 $120,300
Software Development Engineer II Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA May 19, 2016 $120,300
Software Development Engineer II Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Oct 01, 2015 $120,300
Software Development Senior Engineer Dell Software, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 01, 2015 $120,285
Staff Software Development Engineer Qualcomm Technologies Inc. San Diego, CA Aug 31, 2016 $120,245 -
$156,700
Software Development Engineer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jan 02, 2016 $120,200
Software Development Engineer In Test Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Feb 12, 2015 $120,142
Software Development Engineer Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jul 10, 2015 $120,116
Software Development Engineer-Server & Tools-BG or Other Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Aug 28, 2015 $104,840 -
$124,840
Software Development Engineer II-Strategic Enterprise Services IT or Other Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Jan 15, 2016 $104,825 -
$124,825
Software Development Engineer I A2Z Development Center Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jun 09, 2016 $104,800
Software Development Engineer-RET Modeling Mentor Graphics Corporation Fremont, CA Nov 09, 2016 $104,770 -
$151,800
Software Development Engineer Audible Inc. Cambridge, MA Sep 27, 2016 $104,670
Software Development Engineer Audible, Inc. Newark, NJ Jul 22, 2016 $104,670
Software Development Engineer Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc. (DBA Nokia) Mountain View, CA Aug 18, 2016 $104,666 -
$114,300
Software Development Engineer-Ad Platform Display Engineering or Other Microsoft Corporation CA Apr 17, 2015 $104,652 -
$124,652

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Top Skills for A Software Development Engineer

Pl/SqlWebApplicationWindowsXPDatabaseC#.NETUserInterfaceC/C++SQLServerTestCasesAPIXMLPlatformAutomationScriptsSoftwareDevelopmentHtmlASPProceduresBugWebServicesUnix

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  1. Pl/Sql
  2. Web Application
  3. Windows XP
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed and Developed Stored Procedures, Packages and Functions using PL/SQL and SQL Scripts.
  • Tested Server Management web application that uses MySQL database.
  • Ported a complete DirectX Video Acceleration (DirectX VA) code for Windows XP Display driver.
  • Integrated imaging tools into an electronic medical records application interfacing with a SQL database.
  • Presented the User Interface (UI) design in the key investors' meetings multiple times in Presentation and Question/Answer sessions.

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Top Software Development Engineer Employers

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Software Development Engineer Videos

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