How to Become a Software Engineer

By Robert Half on October 25, 2017 at 4:00pm

Good news for software engineers: The coming year is likely to be a good one for you, similar to the previous one.

Demand is very high for software engineers and software developers, and IT managers often find it challenging to hire them. Top candidates may receive multiple offers and are not on the market for more than one or two weeks.

In addition, software engineer jobs are projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. 

Let's take a close look at a software engineer salary and job description.

Software engineer salary

Perhaps it’s not surprising given the demand for these IT professionals that, according to the 2019 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, the salary midpoint for software developers is $124,500.

You can use our Salary Calculator to adjust an entry-level software engineer salary for your city.

Software engineer job description

If only we could all be software engineers, right? In case you’re wondering what it takes to make it in this specialty, here’s a list of qualifications:

  • Broad information systems experience, as well as a bachelor’s degree in computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering or a related discipline.
  • Several years’ experience in specific programming languages, such as C#/C++, Java or Visual Basic .NET, depending on the employer. Some employers also seek SQL skills.
  • Excellent communication and problem-solving skills, and the ability to work well in a team environment.

A typical software engineer job description includes:

  • Designing and creating engineering specifications for software programs and applications
  • Working with quality assurance to develop software test plans
  • Collaborating with hardware engineers to assess and test hardware and software interaction
  • Implementing a specific development methodology
  • Documenting software specifications

It's not just about the money

A few final words of advice for software engineers in the job market: While you’re in demand, remember it’s not always about the money. Candidates often only focus on bonus or salary, but it’s also important to look at the overall strength of a firm, and the company’s technology and leadership to get a complete picture.

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.

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