If you love programming and are keen on working with different types of software, chances are that software engineer jobs are something that you’d be interested in. As a software engineer, you’d be able to work with software at an in-depth level - that’s not something that everyone can say that they can do!
However, to be successful in your job hunting ventures, you should be able to understand the different software engineer requirements that each type of these engineers have. And yes, there are types! A few of them. Don’t worry, though - we’ll cover all of this in the article below.
Once you finish reading this tutorial, you should be able to better understand the intricacies of the different types of software engineer jobs, and the ever-looming question of the software engineer job outlook.
Table of Contents
- 1. Three Stages of a Software Engineer
- 2. Entry-Level Software Engineers
- 2.1. Requirements
- 2.2. Responsibilities
- 2.3. Career Path Options
- 2.4. Salary
- 3. Junior Software Engineers
- 3.1. Requirements
- 3.2. Career Path Options
- 3.3. Salary
- 4. Senior Software Engineers
- 4.1. Requirements
- 4.2. Responsibilities
- 4.3. Career Path Options
- 4.4. Salary
- 5. Are You Ready to Become a Software Engineer?
Three Stages of a Software Engineer
If you’ve already done your research, you probably know that there are different types of software engineers out there. Honestly, as you may know from other, similar articles, most of the working-class jobs have these “types” - they are used to determine an employee's skill level and experience in the field. Just to make the analysis of what software engineers do easier, we’ll be referring to three of the most commonly used types of software engineers - entry-level, junior and senior ones.
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Entry-Level Software Engineers
Just as the name implies, entry-level software engineers are industry newcomers. These people have just recently started their career path on the road of software engineering, and are now trying to find their (usually) first software engineer job.
While these people already know what do software engineers do, they are still completely new to the business. The most common description of an entry-level software engineer is a person who has just finished his or her university degree and is now searching through software engineer jobs, trying to find one that would both let them test their skills, and also grow and gain some experience. That being said, it is very common that these people participate in an internship and start their entry-level software engineer career path this way.
When an employer decides to take in a beginner software engineer, he or she knows that this person is completely new to the industry, and has a whole lot of learning to do. Now, you might say - how is the person new to software engineering if they have a degree in it? Well, to that I would say that studying the topic and applying your knowledge in a working environment are two very different things! Whatever the case might be, though, a lot of companies will command their new employees to go through special preparation programs that are designed to help the person get to know the software engineer job description and to start gaining the required skills as soon as possible.
Entry-level software engineer jobs have pretty straightforward and clear requirements. First of all, it’s super-important that you would have a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Software Development (or engineering itself) or Maths. Truth be told, any relevant education will allow you to apply for a software engineer position, as long as you possess the adequate skills required for the job.
In a general sense, though, proper education is essential when it comes to software engineer requirements. While it is true that there are certain specific professions out there where you could apply for a job with only an online course certification or while being self-taught, the software engineer job description is different. The vast majority of employers will ask you to have finished and graduated from a formal education institution (unless you’re going for an internship). This is mostly since software engineering is a very complex and multi-layered career path to follow - online certifications will most likely not be enough. You can, however, do it in addition to your studies - this will maximize the result and boost your knowledge significantly! And if it so happens that you can't buy the course as all of your financials are put into your current studies, try to apply for a scholarship for online classes.
As for the more technical requirements, beginner software engineer jobs are going to require you to have strong analytical and logical thinking skills, be great at maths and computer science, be able to document your processes and workflow, and so on. Even though it’s only an entry-level job, there are still a lot of things to keep in mind!
When you’re just starting, most software engineer positions will require you to try a few different tasks to assess your skill level and motivation. After that, depending on how you do, you will get assigned certain specific tasks.
The tasks will vary, but they will most likely all be centered around learning and gaining experience. You will most likely have to work closely with senior members of the team so that they could check your progress and, in turn, teach you some of the more essential tips of working in that company. Remember - the better you deal with your tasks, the better will be your software engineer job outlook!
Career Path Options
When you’re just starting, you’ll have a very limited amount of options ahead of you. But, as soon as you find a suitable place in one of the software engineer jobs and start gaining experience, more and more doors will start opening up.
As a software engineer, you’ll have a very broad spectrum of career paths to choose from. You could continue to specialize in this profession, or you could even turn towards software or web development or computer science. There are a lot of options to pick from!
Even though beginner software engineer posts offer the lowest salary out of the three groups, it is still widely known and accepted that software engineering is a profitable career path to choose from. Based on that logic, it would make sense to think that even the entry-level software engineers should make a pretty decent salary, right? Well, let’s see if that’s truly the case.
According to Ziprecruiter.com, a beginner software engineer should make around $66,800 per year. Well, truth be told, that is a great salary!
Junior Software Engineers
Whenever you gain some experience and become more aware of how most software engineer jobs work, you’ll surely become a junior software engineer. These engineers are somewhat in the middle - they are more experienced than their beginner colleagues but are also still far off from becoming senior members of the team.
Junior software engineer job descriptions are usually very diverse and depend completely on the company that you’re trying to get hired at. Some companies will require you to have more experience, while others may look at your character and overall personality. Whatever the case might be, one thing’s for certain - experience is important.
As I’ve mentioned above, the experience is going to be one of the main requirements when you decide to apply for junior-level software engineer jobs. While this was a “nice to have” type of a feature for the beginner group, it’s a super-important aspect for junior software engineers. In most job interviews, one of the very first things that you will be asked is whether you’ve ever worked in the field of software engineering before. But previous work isn’t the only way to gain experience! You could have had internships, personal or team-based projects - even things like seminars and workshops help!
In addition to experience and all of the before-mentioned entry-level software engineer requirements, you should also be able to work on your own, without too much supervision from your seniors. This is because your employers expect you to have a decent amount of fundamental knowledge on software engineering and other, related field - enough so that you would be able to work with all of the main software engineering tools by yourself.
Career Path Options
As for most junior software engineer jobs, you will most likely know a tad bit more about the field than only what do software engineers do. With that, you will also have a huge variety of job options available. That said, you should always keep in mind the fact that there are probably going to be many people competing for a single job position - even though the field of software engineering is considered to be a really difficult career path to follow, the high base salaries and work benefits still attract a lot of people every single day. To further your software engineer job outlook, you’ll have to be able to impress your potential employers and stand out of the crowd.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average annual salary that most junior-level software engineer jobs should offer is a bit more than $70,000. That’s a lot of money, but you should also keep in mind that it’s an average amount - junior engineer salaries could be way higher or lower, depending on their position, experience level, the company they work for, the specificity of the work, and so on.
Senior Software Engineers
Finally, we have the senior software engineers - the most experienced veterans of the field. One single look at some of the senior software engineer jobs on the market should give you a pretty good idea of just how difficult it is to become a senior engineer within this career path.
If you wish to get a job as a senior software engineer, you’ll have to have a complete and thorough understanding of the field of software engineering. Sharp logical thinking, math and programming skills, an extensive pool of knowledge, being able to not only work with software engineering but also development, being able to conduct pristine system analyses are just a few of the main requirements that you’ll have to meet to even stand a chance of being accepted for the job opening.
Furthermore, you’ll need many years of proven experience as a software engineer, and a Master’s degree in Computer Science or Software Engineering.
As for most of software engineer jobs at companies, you’ll have to manage to perform your tasks and supervise younger members of the team simultaneously. This requires a lot of planning and a strict timetable since senior software engineering tasks are far from being easy. On the contrary, your workplace will most likely trust you with some of the most difficult of tasks. That’s only natural, though, since you’re the senior software engineer!
Career Path Options
Most people who reach the senior level of software engineering tend to stick with the companies within which they acquired that title. That’s completely normal - they know the company and its workflow through and through and can continue learning and developing their skills while performing some of the senior software engineer tasks.
Another option that’s open for you is to branch out into different fields of IT. I’ve mentioned this earlier, but if you’re an expert in software engineering, you are most likely qualified to tun towards web development and other IT-based, programming-related professions.
Senior software engineer jobs offer some of the best salaries that there are - this has been a long-known fact. Payscale.com aims to prove this - according to the site, a senior software engineer can expect to earn around $115,000 per year! That’s a crazy amount of money!
However, what many people forget is the amount of work and dedication that goes into becoming a senior expert in the field of software engineering. It requires many years of concentrated work and studying - it only makes sense that all of this would be rewarded.
Are You Ready to Become a Software Engineer?
By now, you should not only know what do software engineers do but also understand the intricacies of all of the main types of software engineer jobs.
If you’ve decided that software engineering is the path to follow - great! It is quite evident that it won’t be easy, but the rewards are definitely worth the struggle! Best of luck in your future software engineer career path!