Getting Started On Your Career Path As A Software Engineer

When you are at the crossroads of your career, you might stop and contemplate the advantages of becoming a software engineer. Every business has its own computer systems or might require personalized programs to be written for them. A software developer or engineer writers or manages computer systems and programs, and helps a business keep in pace with the rapidly changing world of technology.

If your chosen career path is on the lines of becoming a software engineer or a software developer, there are some skills and qualifications that you need to acquire. You also need to determine which field of software engineering you would like to enter into and master. If networking or computer system administration is your forte, you would require specialized training in those areas. On the other hand, if you would like to get into the world of development, you will need specific training on a programming language of your choice, or a group of languages that go hand in hand.

What To Study

Most companies require that you have at least a Bachelor’s degree in any computing stream, science or applied math, before you can be taken on as even an inexperienced software engineer. With some companies, your experience counts towards educational qualifications, but those that consider work experience above qualifications are not really found around every corner.

If you’ve decided on a specialty in software engineering or development, consider getting a diploma or additional certification in that specialty. Apart from equipping you with skills in your preferred niche, it highlights your abilities to prospective employers and helps narrow down your job search.

Required Skills

To pursue a career in software engineering, you need to have strong analytical abilities as well as the ability to pay careful attention to minute details. You also should be able to work well in groups, think creatively, be proactive and understand the business process and technical processes followed in different organizations. Good communication skills, and the ability to rise to the occasion in the event of crucial projects is also vital.

Job Prospects

Once you’ve got your degree and certifications in hand, you are all set to jump into the job market and showcase your skill to prospective employers. Many larger companies with specialized computing requirements hire people fresh out of college and train them in a particular niche. While this is a good way in which to start off your career in software engineering, be prepared to sign a contract with these companies, since they will require you to stick around for at least a year after you get trained. After all, it would be unreasonable for them to train you and let you move on to another company without getting the full worth of the training they’ve invested in you.

If you would prefer to give the open job market a try, prepare a professional resume that highlights your educational qualifications, your skills, and any experience you might have acquired through internships during your degree. Prepare a brief covering letter introducing yourself to prospective employers, and you are all set on your career path as a software engineer!

Are Software Engineer Jobs for You?

Software engineer jobs are among the most in demand computer-related jobs out there so it’s no surprise that many are applying for them. If you’re one of these jobseekers who want to try your luck in this career, it helps to know what’s expected of you and whether or not you’re an ideal candidate for this position.

The first thing you have to be aware of is the responsibilities that computer engineers have. These computer gurus are responsible in creating and maintaining software programs. They’re not only limited to work in IT industries alone but also in other sectors like engineering, manufacturing, education, and even in the public sector.

Perhaps the most challenging task software engineers may face lies in developing a program since it takes months and even years to finish and perfect one. Computer programs need to be tested and examined carefully by software engineers before they’re used.

This type of engineering falls into two categories. Applications software engineers are responsible in developing applications like the ones used in robotics. They’re adept in programs like C and C++ used by scientists as well as Java and other Web applications. They meet with clients and huddle with their team before they start designing a program.

On the other hand, computer systems engineers are responsible in developing the necessary software based on the client’s preference. Usually, they install computer systems and programs that can link one department with another within the company. They work together with the engineering, marketing, manufacturing, and design teams in creating a system for their clients.

Software engineers work in a favorable environment. They usually have an office of their own. The job itself is full of challenges since software engineers need to update themselves regularly with the latest trends in computer technology.

Many employers are strict when it comes to hiring engineers in the IT sector. They require a degree in computer science or software engineering. They also prefer those who passed certification courses particularly in computer languages like Java and C++. Very seldom do companies hire fresh graduates who lack experience but once they see some potential in you, they’ll be happy to take you in and train you in their company.

If you’re really after a career as software engineer, you have to send your application to major computer companies and consulting firms. Prepare an impressive portfolio and comprehensive resume that highlights your skills and capabilities. Look for vacancies in classified ads or searching for relevant job roles online.

Computer software engineers are earning an average of $80,500 a year. Aside from this, they also avail of other benefits like paid vacations and holidays, health care, and bonuses.

If you’re someone who wants a fast-paced and challenging career, then this job role is perfect for you.

Top Five Accessible Master of Software Engineering Degrees

A graduate program that awards the Master of Software Engineering degree is not as easy to find as you might think. Many universities today make include software engineering as an area of concentration for the graduate degree in computer science or computer engineering. Software engineering remains an afterthought in many graduate level programs at the high profile schools, although many of those universities offer an undergraduate degree in the field. A degree devoted solely to software engineering is, at the graduate level, often made available only to working professionals. This list of resources for the degree is compiled from schools that have a respected school of computer science, have a manageable tuition structure and offer a terminal graduate degree in software engineering.

New Jersey Institute of Technology is the state’s principal academic institution for technology and management degrees. The NJIT offers masters degrees and doctoral programs in the principal engineering fields, architecture, and a wide range of IT programs. The Master of Science in Software Engineering is a comparatively new program offered by the Department of Computer Science designed to equip students with advanced knowledge of the concepts, techniques, skills and tools for developing modern large-scale software systems. This is clearly a business oriented degree.

University of Maryland offers the Master of Software Engineering as a collaboration between the College Park campus and the University’s professional education division, University College. The thirty six credit curriculum has several courses in project design and management, preparing students for supervisory roles in software and systems design. Electives include a course in Engineering Economics & Financial Analysis and an Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.

Arizona State University has one of the highest ranked computer and electrical engineering programs in the country. They are also proactive in the development of online degree options; the Master of Science in Software Engineering is available to Arizona students on campus and to students from across the country online. This program incorporates instruction for designing and developing software projects with the business and management skills needed to manage a team engaged in software systems development or redesign.

Santa Clara University turns out many of the computer science and computer engineering graduates that go to work in the Silicon Valley firms located throughout the region where the campus is located. The Master of Science in Software Engineering requires applicants to have an undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering; or to pass the computer science section of the GRE exam. This degree is oriented to the science and technology of software development with a minimum of the curriculum devoted to project management. The programming requirement in the program may be waived for professionals who have at least a year’s experience.

University of Minnesota offers a two year program for the Master of Science in Software Engineering that is designed for professionals who have work experience in software development or a related field. The course load is flexible enough to allow students to continue working, and classes are taught on alternating Fridays and Saturdays so that normal work hours are not significantly disrupted. There is an industrial seminar series incorporated into the curriculum that includes instruction in software re-engineering & maintenance, as well as a course on legal and intellectual property issues.