Are you looking to pursue an education or a career in software engineering? Why study software engineering today is a common question asked by those who wish to start their software engineering careers. Diving headfirst into a field without knowing what it’s like can be scary, so here’s a guide to help you ease into it.
What is Software Engineering?
A civil engineer is responsible for every aspect of building and designing infrastructure. A software engineer, on the other hand, is responsible for every aspect of developing software. Software engineers may be involved in any phase of the software development lifecycle (SDLC).
Software engineers have a long list of varied tasks. A software engineer working for one company may have a completely different set of tasks than a software engineer working for another. And just like many other fields of engineering, there are many kinds of software engineers too.
A software engineer’s day-to-day tasks depend on the type of software engineer they are. There are front-end, back-end, full-stack, QA engineers, and many others. You’ll know more about them later on in this article.
Why Study Software Engineering Today: 7 Reasons to Become a Software Engineer
The competition in the software engineering field is fierce. Landing even an entry-level software engineering position can be quite difficult. But there is more good than bad when it comes to this field, and here are seven reasons to study software engineering today:
1. Work-Life Balance
When you think about software engineers or software developers, do you imagine them hunched in front of a laptop? Are they working all day in a cubicle and taking zero breaks? That’s probably the movie version.
In real life, software developers enjoy an outstanding work-life balance. Even before the pandemic, working from home and flexible hours were the norm for many software engineers! Armed with your work laptop and a stable internet connection for meetings and updates, you can pretty much work anywhere you’d like.
2. High Demand
We’re in the information age. Kids get introduced to mobile phones at such a young age. Students even switched over to virtual classes. It’s getting harder and harder to imagine a life without computers, gadgets, mobile phones, and the internet. All these equate to a higher demand for computer professionals.
More than 95% of all companies rely on software technologies, and QA engineers are some of the most sought-out software engineers in the world. QA engineers help developers stay on track by preventing product defects as they happen. They review specifications and technical design requirements and make sure that programmers abide by them.
Companies hire QA engineers to make sure that no defective product gets released and that applications meet client standards. They must have a basic understanding of the programming languages used by the team. They should also have an additional set of soft skills like strong communication, team coordination, and time management.
Since many companies are now switching to automation, test automation skills are becoming more in-demand for QA engineers. If you’re looking for a career in QA engineering, you might want to learn automation testing to get started. QA engineers create and run automated test scripts. They are often tasked with analysis, feedback, exploratory testing, bug reporting, and many other testing activities too.
3. Continuous Learning
They say that you learn something new every day, and this could be true for software engineers. The programming field is an ever-developing one. New technologies can surprise us every day. Software engineering is an area concerned more with application than theory. There is always something new and exciting going on in the work-life of a software engineer.
For example, front-end developers are usually responsible for UI/UX design. This means that they develop customer-facing interfaces on websites and applications. One of their main roles is to understand human-machine interaction.
4. Creative Outlet
Websites, mobile applications, and computer programs can serve as creative outlets. Website and app design is a job for creative people. Most web developers and engineers start with a blank screen, and seeing apps take shape and come to life can indeed be satisfying!
Coding problems can often be solved in different ways too. It’s why development teams can often provide multiple solutions to solve just one problem. Take, for example, a back-end engineer.
Unlike a front-end developer, a back-end engineer is more concerned about the logic and the programming behind computer programs and applications. They work with servers, databases, and other aspects of software development that are usually hidden to the naked eye.
Back-end engineers use many programming languages, but Java, Python, Ruby, C++/C#, and PHP are some of the most common. Different projects may require knowledge and application of different or multiple programming languages. It’s also typical for a back-end engineer to master more than just one language.
5. High Compensation
The average annual salary of software engineers in the US is $102,341. The average entry-level salary is $95,630. Top companies like Citi, Facebook, and Samsung even offer salary packages as high as $184,500.
A full-stack engineer does what front-end and back-end engineers do. This means that they have the skills required to develop fully functioning apps and websites. This also means that they are more flexible and have a wider skill set, as they may be tasked with both client-side and server-side programming. In the US, a full-stack developer can make an average of $106,427 a year, plus around $4,000 in bonuses.
California is the highest paying city in the US for all kinds of software engineers. It’s also the birthplace of Apple, Google, Oracle, HP, and many other big tech companies.
6. Individual and Team Collaboration
Software development teams rarely consist of one person, so there’s plenty of ways and chances for you to collaborate with your teammates. You can also work individually on smaller, one-person tasks. You can contribute individually and collaborate with others while you’re working as a software engineer.
7. Career Opportunities
Almost every line of business needs software engineers, and there will always be career opportunities across many industries. As we have covered earlier, there are many kinds of software engineers, and only your skills will limit the possibilities. Machine language and computer logic are universal languages. You’re going to have limitless choices when it comes to companies you can work for and industries you can work in.
Is a Degree in Software Engineering Worth it?
Yes! Have you already decided to become a software engineer? Then a degree in a related field would help immensely when it’s time for you to start your career. A combination of determination, genuine interest, and major problem-solving skills should help you advance your position.
It’s also true that a degree isn’t required to become a software engineer. However, it may help you land jobs where managers value the theories and skills taught in college programs. Some colleges offer software engineering degrees, but a computer science or an IT degree would work just as well.
While some companies require degrees, many others would be happy to hire someone with just the required skills and competencies.
Boot camps, certification, and online classes could teach you basic and advanced software development skills. But, like any other skill, constant practice is necessary for improvement. You can learn automation testing for beginners and different programming languages. If you’re looking to further your position, you can even learn about project management.