Computer Software Engineer Career Working Environment

Computer software engineers typically work in well-lit offices in comfortable surroundings or in computer laboratories. Most work at least 40 hours a week, but due to the project-oriented nature of the work, they may also have to work evenings and weekends to meet deadlines or solve unexpected technical problems. Like other workers who spend large amounts of time in front of a computer terminal typing at a keyboard, they are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort and hand and wrist problems. Many computer software engineers interact with coworkers and customers as they attempt to improve software for users.

Computer Software Engineer Career Facts

Projections show computer software engineers to be the fastest growing occupation over the next 10 years. College graduates with at least a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or computer science and those with practical experience working with computers are expected to face very favorable opportunities.

Computer Software Engineer Career Description

Computer software engineers perform tasks that evolve rapidly, reflecting changes in technology and new areas of specialization, as well as the preferences and practices of employers. These engineers apply the techniques and principles of engineering, computer science and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing and evaluation of the software and systems that enable computers to perform their many applications.

Computer Software Engineer Career Details

Software engineers working in applications or systems development analyze users' needs and then design, create and modify general computer applications software or systems. They can be involved in the design and development of many types of software, including that for operating systems, network distribution and compilers, which convert programs for faster processing. In coding or programming, software engineers instruct a computer - line by line - how to perform a function. Additionally, they solve technical problems as they arise. While they must possess strong programming skills, they are even more concerned with developing algorithms and analyzing and solving programming problems than with actually writing code.

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Computer Software Engineer Career Specializations

Computer applications software engineers analyze users' needs and then design, create and modify general computer applications software or specialized utility programs. Depending on the purpose of the program, different programming languages are used, most commonly C, C and Java (Fortran and Cobol are used less often). Computer systems software engineers coordinate the construction and maintenance of a company's computer systems and plan their future growth. They coordinate each department's computer needs, such as ordering, inventory, billing and payroll record-keeping and make suggestions about its technical direction.

Computer Software Engineer Career Required Training

The majority of employers prefer to hire those with at least a bachelor's degree and broad knowledge and experience with computer systems and technologies. While computer training programs are offered by systems software vendors like Microsoft, Novell and Oracle, they are not required in order to sit for a certificate exam. However, many authorities feel that certification alone is not sufficient for most software engineering jobs. Professional certification is offered by the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals; this voluntary certification is available to those with a college degree and at least two years of experience. Additionally, the institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society is planning to start certifying software engineers who pass an exam.

Computer Software Engineer Career Coursework

Degree concentrations for applications software engineers are usually computer science or software engineering; for systems software engineers, the usual concentrations are computer science or computer information systems. More complex jobs prefer those with graduate degrees. Academic programs emphasize software and may be offered as a degree option or in conjunction with computer science degrees. Those seeking software engineering jobs enhance their employability by participating in internship or co-op programs that their schools offer. Inexperienced college graduates may be hired by large computer and consulting firms that train new hires in intensive, company-based programs.

Computer Software Engineer Career Future Job Outlook

Computer software engineers are projected to be the fastest growing occupation from 2000 to 2010. Very rapid employment growth in the computer and data processing services industry, which employs the greatest numbers of computer software engineers, should result in very favorable opportunities for those college graduates with at least a bachelor's degree in computer engineering or computer science and practical experience working with computers. Employers will continue to seek computer professionals with strong programming, systems analysis, interpersonal and business skills.

Computer Software Engineer Salary

Median Salary--$90,530 in 2010

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