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.

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 (2012-2022) 22% (for all software developers) *
Median Salary (2014) $95,510 annually (for software developers that work on applications *

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 monitoring of 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.

Job prospects for software developers are anticipated to be excellent (job growth of 22%) in the 2012-2022 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This was due to an increase in Internet technologies, resulting in a demand for Web, intranet and Internet applications. The handbook also stated that aspiring computer application software engineers generally have a bachelor's degree.

In May 2014, the estimated median annual wage for software developers that work on applications was $95,510 with the top ten-percentile earning an estimated $149,480 per annum (www.bls.gov).

Computer Software Engineer Requirements

As preparation for a computer science education, high school classes in elementary algebra and geometry are required 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.

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