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Become A Software Systems Engineer

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Working As A Software Systems Engineer

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

  • $100,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Software Systems 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 Systems 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 Systems Engineer Career Paths

Software Systems Engineer
Senior Software Engineer Software Development Manager
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Senior Technician Specialist Senior Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Information Technology Director Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Project Manager Product Manager
Vice President, Product Management
13 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Senior Consultant Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Network Engineer Network Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Technical Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Owner Co-Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Senior Project Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Lead Lead Technician Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Lead Senior Consultant Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Lead Lead Technician Technical Project Manager
Technical Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Consultant Technical Project Manager Delivery Manager
Senior Delivery Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Assurance Engineer Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Member, Technical Staff Senior Programmer Analyst Senior Technical Consultant
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Software Systems 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 Systems Engineer
Programmer 3.6%
Consultant 3.5%
Internship 3.5%
Engineer 2.5%
Top Careers After Software Systems Engineer
Consultant 5.8%
Engineer 2.2%

Do you work as a Software Systems Engineer?

Software Systems Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

71.2%

Female

18.6%

Unknown

10.2%
Ethnicity

White

50.9%

Asian

21.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.3%

Black or African American

9.6%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.8%

French

12.1%

Chinese

9.1%

Mandarin

6.1%

Korean

6.1%

German

6.1%

Hindi

4.5%

Italian

4.5%

Carrier

4.5%

Japanese

4.5%

Arabic

3.0%

Vietnamese

1.5%

Marathi

1.5%

Gujarati

1.5%

Bengali

1.5%

Russian

1.5%

Thai

1.5%

Hebrew

1.5%

Croatian

1.5%

Portuguese

1.5%
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Software Systems Engineer Education

Schools

University of Houston

7.3%

George Washington University

7.1%

University of Phoenix

7.1%

George Mason University

6.8%

San Jose State University

5.8%

Arizona State University

5.3%

University of Southern California

5.3%

Johns Hopkins University

5.3%

Texas A&M University

5.1%

University of Texas at Austin

5.1%

University of Texas at Dallas

4.8%

University of Florida

4.5%

University of California - Irvine

4.3%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.0%

Southern Methodist University

4.0%

National University

3.8%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

3.8%

Regis University

3.5%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.5%

Purdue University

3.5%
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Majors

Computer Science

31.9%

Electrical Engineering

15.2%

Computer Engineering

11.2%

Business

7.9%

Computer Information Systems

5.3%

Information Technology

3.8%

Mathematics

3.0%

Systems Engineering

2.6%

Management Information Systems

2.4%

Management

1.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.8%

Computer Applications

1.8%

Engineering

1.8%

Information Systems

1.7%

Physics

1.5%

Aerospace Engineering

1.4%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%

Project Management

1.2%

Education

1.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

41.1%

Masters

40.7%

Other

8.7%

Associate

3.5%

Doctorate

3.4%

Certificate

2.0%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$100,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$75,000
Min 10%
$100,000
Median 50%
$100,000
Median 50%
$100,000
Median 50%
$100,000
Median 50%
$100,000
Median 50%
$100,000
Median 50%
$100,000
Median 50%
$134,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Diebold Nixdorf
Highest Paying City
Cupertino, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.9 years
How much does a Software Systems Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Software Systems Engineer in the United States is $101,033 per year or $49 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $75,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $134,000.

Real Software Systems Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Systems Engineer Idexcel, Inc. Ashburn, VA May 28, 2018 $105,000
Software Systems Engineer III Idexcel, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 18, 2018 $105,000
Software Systems Engineer Idexcel, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jun 18, 2018 $105,000
Software Systems Engineer II Robustware Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 13, 2018 $100,194
Software Systems Engineer III Techstar Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Sep 18, 2018 $100,194
Software Systems Engineer III Techstar Consulting Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 07, 2017 $92,019
Software Systems Engineer Idexcel, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 30, 2017 $90,000
Software Systems Engineer/Business Systems Analyst Idexcel, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jan 30, 2017 $90,000
Software Systems Engineer Idexcel, Inc. Ashburn, VA Nov 07, 2016 $88,000
It-Software Systems Engineer II Pinnacle Technical Resources, Inc. Ashburn, VA Jul 02, 2017 $83,480
It-Software Systems Engineer Pinnacle Technical Resources, Inc. Ashburn, VA Feb 08, 2017 $83,480
Software Systems Engineer Lead It Corporation Ashburn, VA Sep 15, 2017 $70,803

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Top Skills for A Software Systems Engineer

  1. Software Development
  2. Database
  3. Pl/Sql
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Led development and test engineers in understanding product requirements and resolving related defects through two software development life cycles.
  • Updated and maintained existing Microsoft Access database per customer requirements.
  • Developed automated data feeds using Oracle PL/SQL, UNIX shell scripts and Java programs between FTP data and third-party vendors 17.
  • Developed test cases, analysis and inspection plans to verify weather satellite program requirements.
  • Created web applications including internal change control application.

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Top 10 Best States for Software Systems Engineers

  1. California
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Washington
  4. Colorado
  5. Idaho
  6. Texas
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Utah
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Minnesota
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  • (3,190 jobs)
  • (258 jobs)
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  • (1,080 jobs)
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  • (4,602 jobs)
  • (1,884 jobs)

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