Should You Major in Software Engineering?
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Hale Jaeger in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- What Do Software Engineers Do?
- What Skills and Degrees Are Needed to Be a Software Engineer?
- What Jobs Can You Get as a Software Engineer?
- How Much Money Do Software Engineers Make?
What Do Software Engineers Do?
Your responsibilities as a computer scientist and software engineer will vary by job and depend heavily on what field you enter. Regardless of the specific discipline, there are tons of opportunities and many varying projects and tasks for you to work on.
The tasks that you may be assigned include building networks and operating systems for applications and designing and enforcing information technology (IT) standards and practices.
You may be managing the needs of the hardware, tweaking software, providing and releasing regular updates, integrating different software platforms into one product, or engaging in research, which usually consists of using mathematical and scientific models to predict outcomes, design systems, and analyze results.
What Skills and Degrees Are Needed to Be a Software Engineer?
To complete these tasks, you need both hard and soft skills.
The hard skills that you need are things like computer science programming skills; being able to adapt to multiple coding languages, including Java, Python, C+, and HTML; possessing an aptitude for mathematical modeling and analytics; and the ability to design and implement new software.
The soft skills that you need include organization, creativity, and determination to solve problems. These will all contribute positively to your ability to perform your duties as a software engineer.
If you’re potentially interested in computer science and software engineering as your field of study, think about whether you are interested in developing these hard and soft skills.
In general, you also need to have an undergraduate degree to be employed as a software engineer, as many potential employers prefer hiring graduates. Most entry-level positions only require a bachelor’s degree in computer science, meaning people can enter the workforce immediately after graduating.
However, some people do choose to complete a master’s degree or Ph.D., depending on their long-term goals. Going into teaching or academia often requires advanced degrees, for example.
What Jobs Can You Get as a Software Engineer?
Once you have honed the necessary hard and soft skills, you’ll be ready to enter the labor market as a software engineer.
It could be a job related to software design, such as for online gaming. You could also work as a mobile app developer, assist in online security, or design 3D graphics.
All these roles and industries require talented software engineers, so you’re sure to find something that caters to your passions and interests.
How Much Money Do Software Engineers Make?
Software engineering salaries are highly dependent on the employer, field, or industry, as well as the job’s location and the cost of living in the area.
The median salary for software engineers is around $100,000 and ranges from around $80,000 to $117,000 per year. In locations like Silicon Valley, for example, the median salary for a software engineer is around $123,000 per year. In other places, such as Mississippi, the median salary is around $84,000 per year.