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Career Advancement for Software Engineers

Software engineers play an important role overseeing the design of new pieces of software. Those who wish to expand their career options may grow into other leadership roles within the IT field.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Software Engineers

Software engineers are a crucial piece of the development team for new pieces of software. Software engineers help integrate the work of designers and programmers to ensure that the end product meets the requirements. Software engineers work to plan the flow of the product and write the code that makes the product function. After working as a software engineer, many professionals will wish to grow into other roles. They may wish to take on advanced roles in the development of software as a software architect, in the integration of business and information technology (IT) systems as a solutions architect, or in protecting privacy as a chief security officer. Some information about these options is presented below.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2016-2026)** Education or Experience
Software Architect $120,235 24% (software developers) Bachelor's degree and experience
Solutions Architect $115,444 24% (software developers) Bachelor's degree and experience
Chief Security Officer $134,498 8% (top executives) Bachelor's degree and experience

Sources: *PayScale, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

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Career Information

Software Architect

Many software engineers will wish to move into positions having more responsibility for product development and planning. These professionals may wish to consider the position of a software architect. Software architects are involved from the inception of new software design and are the leaders of the software developers. They may plan the development of particular pieces of software or understand how different pieces of software will interact on a computer system. Software architects design a basic plan for the coding of the software and then break up and assign these coding tasks to themselves or others. Software architects have a minimum of a bachelor's degree and extensive experience with software design, however a master's degree or certification can be helpful in obtaining a position.

Solutions Architect

Software engineers may take increasing responsibility for seeing how the software they are developing impacts the business as a whole. Those that enjoy this role may wish to consider moving into a position as a solutions architect. Solutions architects work to identify technology problems faced by a company and understand how to integrate software and hardware to solve these difficulties. They must be able to understand the business process of the company and how the computer network will work to support the business. Solutions architects must be skilled at listening and understanding the concerns of the business. They must also have experience with a wide range of software and hardware products. A bachelor's degree and extensive technology experience is the minimum educational requirement for solutions architects, however many employers will prefer candidates with a master's degree or certification.

Chief Security Officer

Software engineers must be conscious of the security protocol when designing new pieces of software. Those that take these security precautions seriously and wish to increase network security for their businesses should consider growing their career to a position as chief security officer. Chief security officers are typically top executives within their companies. These professionals work to develop security policies and are responsible for ensuring that the business and IT team complies with the security processes put into place. They also make certain that the security of private data is maintained. Chief security officers ensure that all employees are properly trained regarding company security protocols. If breaches occur within the security systems, the chief security officer will investigate and mitigate these issues. They will supervise the other information security personnel. A minimum of a bachelor's degree and experience is required for these positions, however most employers will prefer a master's degree and certification.

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