What Is a Software Support Engineer?
A software support engineer administers technical assistance to customers or a company's employees. Software support engineers work specifically with computer software to diagnose performance issues and create solutions to help others navigate around these issues. They also implement new software applications and upgrades and observe their development, review error logs, oversee source code repositories and software configurations, and work with third-party software vendors as needed. Support engineers may work for a company, helping with internal technical issues, or they may work to help customers or clients with individual external issues. Support can be provided in person, on the phone, or over the computer via a chat messaging system.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's degree preferred|
|Job Skills||Troubleshooting, communication, interpersonal skills, customer service, various technical skills|
|Median Salary (June 2019)*||$62,735|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||11% (for all computer support specialists)|
Sources: *Payscale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Software support engineers are typically required to have at least a bachelor's degree in engineering, computer science, or a related technological field. Some employers may consider candidates based on extensive work experience instead of formal education. Certification is usually not mandatory but can be extremely helpful for standing out as a candidate. Certification will also aid in the success of your career, as many companies encourage and sometimes require technical staff to continue their education and stay up to date on new technologies. CompTIA, Oracle, and Microsoft offer certifications for software support engineering professionals.
Software support engineers must have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. They will need to communicate with a variety of people, who don't all have the same technical knowledge. Patience and attentiveness will help support engineers explain problems and fixes in an easily understood way and address the user's specific concerns. Support engineers often deal with people who are very frustrated and short on time, so experience in customer service is a must. Of course, troubleshooting is a main function of this job, and these problem-solving skills are essential to success as a software support engineer.
Software support engineers will also need many technical skills. Some of these skills needed are:
- Basic scripting, programming, and coding
- PC and Mac systems and other mobile operating systems
- Knowledge-based systems (KBS)
- Microsoft SQL, MySQL, or PostgreSQL
- NoSQL databases
- Remote software
- Cyber security
- Virus protection software
- Backup software
- Network monitoring software
Career Outlook and Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that employment of all computer support specialists is estimated to grow 11% from 2016 to 2026, faster than the average for all occupations. Support services will continue to be needed as organizations upgrade or add software. As software functions become more complex, so do the daily use and bugs that cause complications. Payscale.com reports that the median salary in June 2019 for software support engineers was $62,735.
Below are a few careers related to that of a software support engineer.