Software Engineering Professions Video: Becoming a Computer Software Engineer

Software Engineering Professions Video: Becoming a Computer Software Engineer Transcript

Are you always thinking of programs that could make your computer better, your workday easier or your leisure time more fun? Computer software engineers are software development professionals who use the latest technologies to design and develop computer programs including operating systems, video games and office software. Software development companies hire software engineers to develop solutions for life in the digital age. A bachelor's degree in computer science is needed for most positions.

Introduction

Whether it's squashing a software bug, anticipating the actions of a computer's user or developing the latest version of a web browser or word processing program, computer software engineers solve problems. They imagine and create the computer programs that power our lives. A bachelor's degree in computer science or a related discipline is required for most of the entry-level positions in this field.

Job Duties and Skills

Computer software engineers help to design, code, test and analyze computer programs. The process to develop new pieces of software, from business productivity programs to video games, begins with an understanding of the program's intended use. After analyzing the habits of a program's users and their needs, software engineers brainstorm the program's features and overall design. The program is then coded using a programming language that computers can understand. Most computer software engineers are proficient in Java, C and other languages. Completed programs are tested for quality and then revised and tested again. Only after thorough testing are programs delivered to their final users.

To work efficiently, computer software engineers are often split into teams, each focusing on a particular aspect of a program's development or a specific task. Excellent communication skills and the ability to work in a team environment are a must. The ability to think outside the box and develop unorthodox solutions to challenging problems is also encouraged.

Training Required

Most employers prefer to hire software engineers who hold at least a bachelor's degree. Bachelor's degree programs in computer science and software engineering offer an in-depth study of mathematics, computer architecture and design, logic and computer programming fundamentals. A master's degree may be required for project management and other advanced positions. Software engineers must also stay current with industry trends and new technologies, making continuing education an important aspect.

Certifications focusing on the use of specific hardware and software platforms are offered by some companies, including Novell, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. These and other qualifications can increase career options and help software engineers to remain abreast of changes in technology, but are not required for most positions.

Career Options

Most software engineers will work to develop more traditional computer programs, like those that are run on personal computers in homes and offices. Cell phones and music players also require computer software engineers to design programs. System's engineers develop the operating systems that allow computers to run other programs. The video game industry also offers exciting opportunities to software engineers interested in entertainment and cutting edge technologies.

Software engineers who have experience in all aspects of program development often have the opportunity to pursue project management positions. Project managers oversee the development process, ensuring that deadlines and budgets are met and that development teams work with each other to reach their final goals. Project managers are often required to hold a master's degree in computer science or a related field.

Sources

http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos267.htm
http://www.collegeboard.com/csearch/majors_careers/profiles/majors/14.0903.html

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