Why Demand of Software Engineers is High

By Indeed Editorial Team

February 22, 2021

If you are considering a career as a software engineer, the job outlook for this profession is likely one of your primary considerations. With the consistent demand for new software and mobile applications, the need for software engineers continues to rise. Learning some of the reasons why demand is high along with steps you can take to advance your career in this field can help you decide if a job as a software engineer is for you.

In this article, we discuss what a software engineer is, how the role differs from that of a software developer, what the job outlook and average salary is and how you can advance in the role.

What is a software engineer?

A software engineer is a computer science professional who applies engineering principles and their knowledge of programming languages to the design, development, testing, evaluation and maintenance of computer software. Software engineers have extensive knowledge of computer operating systems, software development and programming languages. They apply engineering principles at every state during the development process in order to create customized software systems for clients.

Read more: Learn About Being a Software Engineer

Differences between software engineers and developers

There is an overlap in some of the responsibilities of software engineers and developers. The job titles are sometimes even used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences, including:

  • Tasks: A software engineer applies the principles of engineering to the development of software. A software developer, in contrast, is usually more creatively-minded and focus on the development aspect as a portion of the entire software development life cycle. Unlike software engineers, they don't rely on engineering principles.

  • Independence: Software engineers typically work as part of a team, while software developers often work independently. They do work with work closely with project managers, graphic designers and senior managers to build specific projects. However, the actual development is primarily a solo activity.

  • Tools: Software developers use tools that are readymade in order to build software and applications, while software engineers create the tools they need to develop software.

  • Scale: Software engineers usually solve issues on a much larger scale than software developers.

Read more: Software Engineer vs. Software Developer: What's the Difference?

Job outlook for software engineers

One of the reasons that software engineering is an appealing career in IT is that the demand of software engineers is high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for software developers, which includes software engineers, is going to grow 22%, substantially faster than the 4% average for all careers.

What is driving the high demand for software engineers?

There are a number of reasons for the increased demand to hire software engineers, including:

Need for innovative software

Most companies need applications and websites to be built and if the company is large, they typically want a customer application. Health insurance companies also need software to administer customer policies digitally and manage enrollments.

There is also an increasing number of products that use software programs. For example, it's often being built into electronics like appliances. Ultimately, the high demand for custom-built websites and mobile applications drive will continue to drive the need for software engineers.

Limited life span of code

The code in applications is being constantly changed and updated. Additionally, each line of code typically has a life span of only a few years. On some occasions, companies may choose to discard old software entirely and rebuild it using modern technology.

Accelerating growth in technology

Each time a software program is released, another development team builds a similar program to complete. For example, there are many different types of messaging apps, e-commerce platforms and even search engines, all of which help to drive the high demand for software engineers.

Increasing complexity of projects

The code and tools that software engineers use to complete projects are improving. However, because projects are also increasing in complexity, companies typically hire a number of engineers to deliver exceptional results for customers.

How much does a software engineer make?

The average salary for a software engineer is $110,662 per year. Senior software engineers make an average of $132,274 per year. Some of the primary factors that impact salary for software engineers include years of experience, educational level, specialization and geographic location. The highest paying cities for software engineers are San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Boston and San Diego.

Read more: 10 Best Cities for Software Engineers

How to advance in your career as a software engineer

Here are some steps you can take to advance your career as a software developer:

1. Practice coding

Being a successful programmer requires you to practice coding and learn all you can about different programming languages. Familiarize yourself with as many different programming languages as you can and focus the majority of your efforts on the most popular ones. Look for opportunities to increase your skills whenever possible.

While specializing in one programming language later in your career can make you invaluable within a company, the broader your knowledge of different languages is, the more opportunities you likely will have.

Give yourself personal goals, whether it's learning a new programming language or developing a new program from scratch. The commitment to professional development can help you position yourself as a strong candidate for openings.

2. Get experience at large companies

Any type of hands-on experience is important for a software developer, especially early in their professional career. However, experience at large technology companies can stand out on your resume and differentiate you from other candidates.

For a well-rounded professional background, try to get experience at both big, well-known companies and smaller ones. The combined experience will look good on your resume and help you stand out as a candidate when applying for new opportunities.

3. Develop your soft skills

There are a number of skills that can help you advance as a software engineer, including communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills. Think through different soft skills that are required for the role and identify weaknesses that you can start working on improving.

4. Pursue leadership experience

Another way to advance your career as a software engineer is to pursue leadership experience whenever possible. Even if you aren't in a management role directly, look for opportunities to coach or mentor less experienced IT professionals. This can help you expand that aspect of your resume, which can position you for higher-level positions within an IT department.

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