Every time you visit a web page or load up an app on your smartphone, you’re interacting with the work of a Software Engineer.
Software Engineers are professionals who have a strong foundation in computer science which they use to build, develop, maintain and test computer software for clients. They will usually have detailed discussions with a client to establish the desired outcome of a project.
A Software Engineer’s role typically involves three core components:
Although the end goal of their project may be clear, the route needed to get there may not be. It is the Software Engineer’s job to map out a pathway by building models and using other problem-solving techniques.
Software engineers usually work by thinking about things in steps, e.g. “do x then do y” or “if a is true, then do b, otherwise do c” etc. Those who have a background in maths, physics and engineering typically find this easier.
There are a range of computer programming languages (or codes) e.g. Java and Python that are used to communicate instructions to a computer. A Software Engineer will have knowledge of one or more codes which they can use to design and maintain software.
With an increasing reliance on technology, Software Engineers are in high demand – and there are plenty of types of software that an engineer can develop. These include operating systems, computer games and network control systems.
What skills do I need?
The right person will:
- Love problem solving
- Have the ability to work well as a team.
- Be able to take a creative approach to problem-solving as the answers may not always be immediately obvious
- Be able to explain complex technical processes in a non-technical way to clients or other team members
- Have a good understanding of customer care, so you can effectively deliver what your client needs
- Be comfortable working to tight deadlines
- Have a working knowledge of at least one programming language
- Be able to concentrate for long periods of time
- Have respect for confidentiality and data protection issues
- Enjoy learning new things, as technology is constantly changing (as are the needs of the client) and you must be able to adapt with it
- Have enthusiasm for technology
- Have patience, as although some problems may be complex and time-consuming, you should be prepared to see them through until the end
What will I love about the job?
- The opportunity to learn everyday
- The option to work remotely – if your employer is happy for you to spend a day or two working at home, you could save a lot of time by not having to commute
- Software Engineering is a creative outlet, as you will constantly be creating and developing programmes
- The role rarely consists of routine tasks – everyday can be different, so it’s unlikely you’ll get bored
- The option to become self-employed, working remotely for multiple clients
What are the challenges?
Problem-solving is not always easy, and it can be frustrating if you cannot find a suitable solution. But when you eventually do, the feeling of achievement can be even greater.
How much will I earn?
As a Software Engineer, you could earn anywhere between £35,000 and £100,00 depending on experience. If you have highly desirable skills and experience then this can increase further in certain sectors.
Are there opportunities to progress?
With enough experience, a Software Engineer may go on to become a Senior Software Engineer or Team Leader.
Advice from our very own Lead Software Engineer, Duncan…