Software engineer: job description
The skills of software engineers are called upon when operational problems are encountered with computer programs and applications.
Typical responsibilities of the job include:
- investigating current applications
- liaising with users
- producing specifications
- costing new or modified systems
- agreeing proposals
- writing new software and operating manuals
- testing the product to ensure that it operates satisfactorily
- training users
- handling support and feedback
There can be some pressure to meet deadlines and extra hours may be required to do this. Very good salaries can be commanded by those with relevant experience.
- Software companies
- IT consultancies
- Electronics, IT and telecommunications companies
They may also be employed by any organisation that uses computer systems. Self-employment is possible for individuals with several years' relevant experience.
Jobs are advertised online and by careers services and specialist recruitment agencies.
There are routes into software engineering for both graduates and school leavers.
Graduates typically need a degree in a relevant subject such as computer science, software engineering, physics, mathematics or electronics. For graduates without computing experience or an appropriate qualification, a postgraduate IT conversion course can be useful.
Relevant programming knowledge is normally required, and many employers expect candidates to meet high standards in programming aptitude tests. Programming experience gained during placements and vacation work can also be beneficial.
An increasing number of software engineering apprenticeships are on offer. These lead to different levels of qualification; some include studying part time towards a degree.
To find out more about getting into IT and technology via a school leaver route, visit the IT and technology section of TARGETcareers, our website aimed at school leavers.
- Teamworking skills
- Numerical and analytical skills
- Ability to work to another’s design
- Commercial awareness
- Good communication skills
- A thorough approach