Release Engineer Jobs: Options and Requirements

Release engineers require varying levels of experience and education. Learn about the potential degrees, job duties, job options and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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Have you ever wanted to create computer software? Computer designers and software publishers hire a variety of software developers to produce innovative apps and functions for their products. This article covers a special type of software developer: the release engineer.

Essential Information

Release engineers are software coding and development specialists who are in charge of the release process of deploying software for use. They generally have at least a bachelor's degree and can work in a variety of industries.

Required Education Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% (for applications software developers) & 13% (for systems software developers)
Median Salary (May 2015)* $98,260 (for applications software developers) & $105,570 (for systems software developers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Release Engineer Job Options

Release engineers can both build software and integrate software applications into existing projects. They are skilled in software troubleshooting, security, defect tracking and process management. By specializing in information technology, some of the career areas where they are employed include:

  • Software development
  • Online brokerage houses
  • Financial services
  • Telecommunications
  • Software applications
  • New media and Internet

Release engineers can also be known as build engineers, software configuration managers, quality assurance engineers and computer engineers. Job functions may differ slightly within each position, but generally a release engineer will concern themselves with how to create a safe, integrated software product that best fits a customer's or company's needs and desires. In doing so, they may modify software to correct problematic errors, adapt it to improve overall performance or integrate it with new hardware.

Release engineering is a valuable skill that companies seek when looking to improve their software products and the pay these engineers receive is reflective of that value. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't have salary data specifically for release engineers; however, it does indicate that applications software developers earned a median salary of $98,260, while systems software developers earned $105,570 in median wages.

Requirements to Be a Release Engineer

There are no firm educational requirements to become a release engineer; however, earning a degree is still advisable in order to gain employment and demonstrate capabilities in software release engineering. The BLS expects a higher than average growth rate for software developer positions from 2014 to 2024. They were expected to see a leap in job availability by 17% during that time frame.

Many employers require a combination of education and experience. It is common to need at least a bachelor's degree in computer science or computer engineering to become a release engineer. Course topics in these degree programs include:

  • Computer programming languages
  • Coding types
  • Software databases
  • Computer architecture
  • Software design

Job experience in release engineering and software development is also critical. According to a November 2014 CareerBuilder.com job posting, it is common for employers to desire a 4-year degree and 2-5 years of experience in the industry. Specific requirements are also known to differ across various sectors of the software job market.

Although the BLS does not provide data specific to release engineers, they may work either as applications or systems software developers. Important skills for this job include competence with multiple coding languages and familiarity with current technology. With these, an applicant can expect very agreeable job prospects.

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