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A career guide to becoming a Software Engineer

Published: Friday 6th November 2020

Working as a software engineer you will be an essential part of most modern businesses who provide any kind of digital service. They’re responsible for developing systems and software that businesses deploy via apps or their website. Software engineers are involved in laying the groundwork for new software systems, including drawing diagrams and models, testing programmes, recommending software updates and documenting any errors and bug fixes. The software developers will then step in and build the code for the system to come to life.

Software engineer working at his desk

What qualifications do I need to be a Software Engineer?

Software engineer employers will likely expect to see a degree or diploma. This could be in computer science, software engineering or information technology on your CV. However, there is now a growing trend of tech-based apprenticeships and internships that may allow you to gain first-hand experience whilst studying. The benefit of this is you are career ready when the time comes. You may also find some software engineer employers are happy with a qualification at a third-level college. This might include a Level 3 Certificate in Programming or a HNC in Computing. You should check out our top five tips for writing a tech CV to help further improve your chances of securing an interview.

What skills will help me succeed

Software engineering requires you to think analytically, have a good eye for detail and have a strong grasp of computer programming language. There will be times when you need to be incredibly committed to your duties so that you can solve problems and test the software completely. A creative and patient approach is likely to yield the most success. You will likely work as part of a team, instructing developers on how to build your designs and bouncing ideas off other software engineers. Having good communication and listening skills will allow you to excel in a team environment.

Software Engineer main duties

  • Working with users to discover what their software needs are
  • Designing software programmes and systems
  • Advising software upgrades to existing systems
  • Testing software for bugs and other anomalies before it goes live
  • Meeting with developers and technicians to orchestrate plans and implement strategies and ideas
  • Delivering a working software programme that works flawlessly and integrates with other systems.

Software engineer working at her desk

Where to find Software Engineer jobs near me?

Some businesses don’t require software engineers to maintain their systems, simply to design them. For this reason, you could find work on a freelance basis. If you’re looking for more security in your job, your best chance of finding software engineer jobs near you is at local IT firms and digital technology-based agencies. You can try to connect with local professionals on LinkedIn to discuss any vacancies or routes into the business before applying. This way when your application does land on their desk, they’ll already have positive feelings about you.

Salary

Salaries for software engineers will depend on your experience and the size of the company you work for. The average starting salary for this type of role in the UK is around £20,000 a year. With sufficient experience and success, you can earn up to £70,000 a year. Should you find your way into a career as a head of tech, or another senior management position then you could potentially earn a six-figure salary.

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