computing technology is becoming more and more complex as it is used in an increasing number of fields to solve a variety of problems. from healthcare to engineering, computers are driving innovation as we know it. but computers are only as good as their ability to solve the problems they are given. in this context, there is a higher need for efficient software which could help users design better buildings, manage their data more efficiently, and even create entertaining movies and games for us. in this entire mix, the role of a software engineer becomes quite important.
who are software engineers?
software engineers are professionals who were previously known as software developers. the change in name reflects the changes that have arisen in these individuals' professional responsibilities. previously, developers would only be dealing with the creation of functional code. software engineers take a more holistic approach to the process. they work with a team of developers and other professionals in:
identifying the problem which needs to be addressed by a program
generating ideas for the best possible route to achieve the solution
generating and testing code for its efficiency
evaluating the software for ease of use and modifying it accordingly.
in other words, software engineers are involved in every step of the process, from the generation of the idea to the final rollout.
how can i become a software engineer?
many universities across the united states offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in software engineering. some of these universities also offer an online software engineering degree; this option is for students who wish to save on tuition costs, and those who may be currently working in another field and wish to transition into software engineering. the curriculums at each school may differ, but there are some common features. most undergraduate degrees will focus on covering the fundamentals of software engineering. you will learn how to identify problems and enhance your programming skills in multiple languages.
you will also be assigned projects which will test your ability to practically apply your classroom knowledge. at an undergraduate level, each university tries to maintain a balance between theoretical and project-based learning. at a graduate level, the emphasis is heavier on projects. if you are considering enrolling in an online software engineering degree, ensure that the university and the program are duly accredited by the education board of your state. otherwise, your investment may be in vain.
career opportunities for software engineers are available in a wide variety of fields. from accounting to government, biomedical to aerospace and intelligence, the fields are wide open. the us bureau of labor statistics reported the median annual wage for this profession in 2010 was $90,530, and a growth rate of 30%, which is among the fastest in the nation. as the demand for computer software increases, software engineers will be further pushed into the limelight. the job outlook in this profession therefore remains positive. those with a passion for computing should apply.