Software engineering is a field that is vital to computer technology as a whole. Without the software to run the computer hardware, that hardware becomes a clump of plastic, silicon, and metal – perhaps useful as an overpriced paperweight.
In the strictest sense, software engineering is an application of engineering principles to the design, development, and implementation of software. Because software engineering is a unique, scientific, and technically-driven field, special training and formal degrees are required.
By getting a degree in software engineering, graduates can work in several software engineering jobs such as creating video games, developing internet applications, running computer networks, or implementing computer security measures for an organization.
Software Engineer Salaries
The market demand for qualified software engineers has created an arms race for the top talent. Salary research from ComputerWorld, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and Robert Half International all reveal the same thing: Companies are willing to pay a premium to acquire top talent, with some annual salaries pushing northward of six figures.
A person working as a Software Engineer in Nigeria typically earns around 333,000 NGN per month. Salaries range from 170,000 NGN (lowest) to 513,000 NGN (highest). therefore, software engineering jobs are significantly lucrative in Nigeria.
This is the average monthly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Software Engineer salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location.
Steps to Becoming a Software Engineer
Software engineering is an ever-changing profession, one that adapts as new technologies are developed. Because of its shifting nature, there are multiple entry points into the profession. Although no single path to becoming a software engineer exists, the steps below outline the general path to employment.
Get an Education
Completing a formal education is the first step toward becoming a software engineer. Prospective students can select from both traditional and nontraditional training programs to gain the education necessary to pursue entry-level positions. Some options include:
Associate Degree (Two Years):
Although employers typically prefer candidates with a four-year degree, an associate degree can open the door to software engineering entry-level jobs in the field. Students may choose to pursue majors in several related areas, such as software engineering technology or software systems engineering. The curriculum focuses on the core principles of software engineering, programming languages, and modern approaches to software development.
Bachelor’s Degree (Four Years):
A bachelor’s degree in computer science, or a related field, is the traditional minimum degree preferred by employers. Bachelor’s degree programs expose students to a broader curriculum, one that provides a foundation in mathematics and computer science. Students develop a comprehensive understanding of programming, software architecture, and software testing. They may also take specialized courses in application areas, such as networking or embedded systems.
Coding Bootcamp (8 to 12 Weeks):
Coding boot camps are a relatively new educational path for aspiring software engineers or developers. These programs typically last between eight and 12 weeks and place students into a hands-on, immersive learning environment. Upon graduation, students should be ready for entry-level careers as software engineers or developers.
Do an Internship
Completing a software engineering internship provides students with real-world experience. Technology companies may offer internships for students with a bachelor’s or master’s degree who are seeking to expand their skills in specific areas, such as Java, XML, or SQL. Internships typically last between three and six months and allow students to work on specific projects or products related to their skills.
Pursue a Specialization
Generally speaking, there are two specializations within software engineering: applications and software/systems development. However, distinct areas of practice exist within each of these areas. Software engineers may choose to become experts in a single programming language or type of development. Below is a list of example specialty areas to consider:
· Web development
· Mobile development
· Technical stack (e.g., Python, Ruby)
Pursue Entry-Level Career Opportunities
After earning a computer science or related degree or completing a Bootcamp program, the next step is to seek out entry-level employment. Because of the demand, software engineering has been rated one of the best entry-level careers available, according to Forbes. Although the dream job may be at Google, prospective software engineers can start with a small, local job hunt because, in the profession, experience is a critical commodity for career advancement.
Although some certifications have lost their luster, they remain an integral part of the tech industry. Software engineering is precise and technical, and gaining certification verifies an applicant’s knowledge and abilities. Along with experience, certification can improve a person’s marketability in technology vendors (e.g., Microsoft, Cisco, and Oracle) as well as professional organizations (e.g., IEEE) and are tailored to specific areas of practice.
Innovation drives change. That means software engineers need to stay abreast of the latest developments in both the general profession and their specialty. Attending conferences is a great way to network with other engineers and learn about new products, business practices, and technologies. Popular conferences for software engineers include the International Conference on Software Engineering and the International Conference on Automated Software Engineering.
Earn a Graduate Degree
A graduate degree offers the opportunity to qualify for management and leadership positions in the industry. In addition, there is more to engineering than just programming. Software engineering calls upon interdisciplinary skills such as critical thinking, cost analysis, and project management — skills that can be enhanced in a master’s program in computer science, computer engineering, information science, or software engineering.
Software Engineering Bachelor’s Degrees
For students fresh out of the University (or shifting over from another career) who want to maximize their professional potential in software engineering and give themselves the best chance of finding ideal post-graduate employment, the bachelor’s in software engineering is worth pursuing. Most entry-level software engineering positions will require this four-year degree. Some more advanced positions may require a master’s degree in software engineering. In that case, a bachelor’s degree could be a prerequisite to admission.
Four of the typical classes that can be found at most software engineering bachelor’s degree programs are described below:
Object-oriented software development
Students will take an advanced programming language to solve common computer problems and tasks.
Students receive an overview of computer security. Ethical, legal, and practical considerations will also be discussed.
Techniques and methods for designing and developing software projects on schedule and a budget should be covered in this class.
By applying the concepts of human communication methods, students should learn how to create user-friendly software that can communicate with people.
Components of a Successful Software Engineering Career: Skills, Tools, and Technology
Software engineers are expected to have a broad knowledge base and skill set in multiple proficiencies, including both nontechnical and technical areas.
Because software engineers work with non-engineers such as vendors, customers, and other team members, employers value individuals who possess nontechnical skills. A good software engineer should be a:
- · Collaborator
· Able to leverage the input of others to devise solutions.
· Team player
· Works effectively in group settings.
· Creative thinker
· Able to develop new approaches to development.
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· Understands complex issues and knows how to use technology to solve them.
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· Can speak in both technical and non-technical terms to a variety of audiences.
Software engineering requires a comprehensive technical skillset and knowledge base that ranges from understanding business requirements to testing products. Below is a list of the core software engineering competencies from the National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies.