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Become A Software Engineer/Architect

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Working As A Software Engineer/Architect

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

  • $104,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Software Engineer/Architect 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 Engineer/Architect

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 Engineer/Architect Career Paths

Software Engineer/Architect
Software Architect Solutions Architect Senior Project Manager
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Software Architect Solutions Architect Information Technology Project Manager
Enterprise Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Software Architect Solutions Architect Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer/Architect Senior Software Architect Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer/Architect Senior Software Architect Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer/Architect Senior Software Architect Software Development Manager
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Senior Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Director Of Software Development Director Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Director Of Software Development
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Development Manager Engineering Manager
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Software Engineer/Architect?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Software Architect 3.2 years
Software Designer 3.2 years
Software Engineer 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Software Engineer/Architect
Consultant 4.7%
Programmer 2.3%
Top Careers After Software Engineer/Architect
Consultant 3.4%
Architect 3.2%

Do you work as a Software Engineer/Architect?

Software Engineer/Architect Demographics

Gender

Male

80.8%

Unknown

11.7%

Female

7.5%
Ethnicity

White

52.8%

Asian

18.9%

Hispanic or Latino

12.1%

Black or African American

9.3%

Unknown

6.8%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Carrier

28.6%

German

14.3%

Serer

14.3%

Dutch

14.3%

Korean

14.3%

Italian

14.3%
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Software Engineer/Architect Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

10.0%

San Jose State University

6.7%

Boston University

6.7%

University of South Florida

5.6%

University of Central Florida

5.6%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.6%

Columbia University

5.6%

University of Maryland - College Park

5.6%

Pennsylvania State University

4.4%

Georgia State University

4.4%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.4%

Johns Hopkins University

4.4%

University of Southern California

4.4%

University of Arizona

4.4%

University of Dayton

4.4%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

4.4%

University of Florida

3.3%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.3%

Drexel University

3.3%

Wichita State University

3.3%
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Majors

Computer Science

41.1%

Computer Engineering

13.5%

Business

8.1%

Electrical Engineering

8.1%

Computer Information Systems

4.6%

Information Technology

3.2%

Mathematics

2.4%

Computer Applications

2.2%

Management Information Systems

1.9%

Mechanical Engineering

1.9%

Physics

1.9%

Information Systems

1.9%

Finance

1.6%

Engineering

1.6%

Accounting

1.1%

Aerospace Engineering

1.1%

Computer Networking

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.1%

Project Management

0.8%

Biomedical Engineering

0.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.2%

Masters

37.3%

Other

9.4%

Doctorate

3.9%

Certificate

3.4%

Associate

2.1%

Diploma

0.7%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$104,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$77,000
Min 10%
$104,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Median 50%
$104,000
Median 50%
$142,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Walmart
Highest Paying City
San Francisco, CA
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
3.6 years
How much does a Software Engineer/Architect make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Software Engineer/Architect in the United States is $104,904 per year or $50 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $77,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $142,000.

Real Software Engineer/Architect Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Architect, Engineer Violin Memory, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Aug 07, 2016 $189,000
Software Architect, Engineer Violin Memory, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jul 08, 2016 $189,000
Software Engineer/Data Architect Creative Information Technology, Inc. Washington, DC Oct 05, 2014 $175,308
Business Leader, Software Engineering Architect Mastercard International Incorporated San Carlos, CA Jan 10, 2016 $170,200
Architect, Software Engineering Sears Holdings Management Corporation Seattle, WA Aug 31, 2015 $165,000
Software Engineer-Solutions Architect Good Data Corporation San Francisco, CA Sep 16, 2015 $155,000
Software Engineering Architect In Test Move, Inc. Santa Clara, CA May 12, 2016 $155,000
Architect Software Engineer Staples, Inc. Austin, TX May 10, 2015 $150,000
Software & Engineering Architect-Realtime Web A Medium Corporation San Francisco, CA Sep 29, 2016 $150,000 -
$225,000
Software & Engineering Architect-Realtime Web A Medium Corporation San Francisco, CA Sep 13, 2016 $150,000 -
$225,000
Software Engineering Architect Deloitte Analytics LLC New York, NY Sep 08, 2013 $148,000
Software Engineer-Siebel Architect Intellect It, LLC Costa Mesa, CA Sep 10, 2013 $146,090
Software Engineer-Siebel Architect Intellect It, LLC Fountain Valley, CA Feb 04, 2014 $144,000
Software Engineer/Architect Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Nov 23, 2015 $130,000 -
$150,000
Software Engineer/Enterprise Architect Anjaneyap, Inc. Milpitas, CA Oct 12, 2015 $122,762
Architect, Software Engineer Sears Holdings Management Corporation Chicago, IL Aug 04, 2015 $121,540
Software Engineer, Solution Architect Slalom, LLC Boston, MA Feb 18, 2013 $120,000 -
$140,000
Architect, Software Engineer Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Aug 17, 2016 $120,000
Architect, Software Engineer Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Dec 14, 2016 $120,000
Software Engineer IV: Hardware Architect NXP Semiconductors USA, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 09, 2016 $119,400 -
$166,300
Software Engineering Architect Zebra Technologies Corporation Holtsville, NY Jul 27, 2016 $104,083 -
$170,293
Software Engineer Architect Zebra Technologies Corporation Holtsville, NY Oct 19, 2016 $104,083
Software Engineer Architect Contract Staffing Specialists Omaha, NE Nov 30, 2014 $104,000
Software Engineer Architect Contract Staffing Specialists Omaha, NE Jan 06, 2016 $104,000
Architect, Software Engineer Sears Holdings Management Corporation Hoffman Estates, IL Oct 27, 2015 $100,000
Software Architect Engineer II Mphasis Corporation San Francisco, CA Jul 09, 2016 $98,987
Software Engineer/Technical Architect AVCO Consulting Inc. Worcester, MA May 12, 2016 $97,500

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Top Skills for A Software Engineer/Architect

  1. Web Application
  2. SQL
  3. Architecture
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Address Standardization & Geo Locator Developed a Component that provides address standardization services to InsWeb applications.
  • Designed and developed Microsoft SQL Server database to maintain customer records.
  • Lowered risk in software changes through agile component-based system architecture utilizing GoF Design Patterns.
  • Provided leadership for data warehouse implementation project - oversaw internal and external software development resources.
  • Implemented OWASP standards on aforementioned web application.

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Top 10 Best States for Software Engineers/Architect

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Virginia
  4. Texas
  5. New York
  6. New Hampshire
  7. Illinois
  8. Massachusetts
  9. District of Columbia
  10. North Carolina
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  • (3,018 jobs)

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