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Computer Application Software Engineer: Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and required skills to become a computer applications software engineer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about coursework, job duties and the employment outlook to see if this is the career for you.

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A lot goes into creating all the extras in your computer programs, and computer application software engineers are often the ones building and designing those extra features. These professionals need a broad understanding of computer science, with specific knowledge of computer programming, application design, and user-focused features. Creative problem solvers tend to do well in this profession, as do individuals with strong communication skills.

Essential Information

Computer applications software engineers help design, program, test, maintain and repair computer applications for businesses and private customers. Most computer application software engineers have a bachelor's degree in computer science or software engineering.

Required Education Bachelor's degree, usually in computer science or software engineering
Other Requirements Knowledge of programming languages, operating systems and computer networks
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 19%* (for software developers)
Median Salary (2015) $98,260* annually (for applications software developers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description of a Computer Application Software Engineer

Application software engineers design and develop software applications, such as utility programs and general application software. They work with the user to determine needs and create software to meet user's needs. They modify existing software to fix problems, optimize functioning and enable its use on new hardware platforms. They oversee installation of software systems as well as monitor equipment. They also perform testing and validation of software systems to ensure that applications work properly.

While some computer application engineers design and produce commercially sold software suites, most design or customize applications for businesses or other organizations. Some application engineers design and analyze databases within a given application area. An emerging field is game and application designs for cell phones, mp3 players and other portable computers.

Applications engineers must communicate with systems analysts, engineers and programmers to get information on project limitations, performance requirements and interfaces. They consult with clients in the design phase to determine clients' needs. After an application has been released, they help customers with maintenance issues.

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Computer Software Engineer Requirements

To prepare for a college degree program in computer science, high school classes in elementary algebra and geometry are require, while trigonometry, calculus, physics and chemistry courses, and AP courses in computers and advanced technology are recommended. For some entry-level positions, an associate's degree in software engineering or computer science is sufficient. However, most positions require at least a bachelor's degree.

A Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering prepares students in the analysis, design, verification, validation, construction and maintenance of software systems. During the first two years, students typically take required courses in physics, calculus, linear algebra, introductory engineering, and computer science. In their junior and senior years, they take upper division courses in computer science theory and software engineering, including:

  • Intro to programming languages and its principles
  • Software design and architecture
  • Operating systems
  • Algorithms
  • Computer networks

Job Outlook and Salary for a Computer Application Software Engineer

Professionals who work as computer application software engineers fall under the larger category of software developers. Job prospects for such professionals are anticipated to grow 19% during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is due to an increase in Internet technologies, resulting in a demand for Web, intranet and Internet applications.

In May 2015, the estimated median annual wage for software developers that work on applications was $98,260, per the BLS. Stats from that same year showed that the top ten-percentile earned an estimated $153,710 per annum.

Computer application software engineers work with both users and programmers to build applications for business and recreation. Training to become a software engineer often takes place in bachelor's degree programs, particularly in computer science or related majors. With an almost 20% expected rate of growth during the 2014-2024 decade, professionals in the software development field should have a wide range of job opportunities.

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