How to Become a Software Engineer: Skills, Roles and Responsibilities

In order to provide you a little help in making that choice, we shine our spotlight today on the position of the software engineer. When you’re finished reading this article, you’ll know everything you need to know in order to make an informed choice about whether or not the career of a software engineer is right for you! Additionally, you’ll learn how to become a software engineer as well as what a software engineer’s salary looks like.

Also, you may already be working in some aspect of the IT industry and are considering upskilling. This article’s for you too!

So let’s get started with the basics, then move into the more involved details.

What is Software Engineering?

So what exactly is software engineering anyway? The definition from Techopedia is “the process of analyzing user needs and designing, constructing, and testing end-user applications that will satisfy these needs through the use of software programming languages”. It is the application of engineering principles to software development. In contrast to simple programming, software engineering is used for larger and more complex software systems, which are used as critical systems for businesses and organizations.”

Who is a Software Engineer?

From that definition, we can infer that a software engineer analyzes the needs of users, then designs, builds, and tests applications that meet those needs. Simple and straightforward, right? It may seem so at first, until you take into account everything that a software engineer does, and believe us, it’s a lot!

Software Engineer Roles and Responsibilities

Software engineers have a lot on their plates. A software engineer must:

  • Collaborate with systems analysts, engineers, programmers, and others to design systems and gather information on project limitations, capabilities, performance requirements, and interfaces.
  • Alter existing software to resolve mistakes and errors, facilitate its adaption to new hardware, and improve its overall performance.
  • Analyze user needs and software requirements to determine design feasibility within time and cost limitations.
  • Meet with customers to discuss software system design and maintenance.
  • Coordinate the installation of software systems and monitor related equipment to ensure specifications are met.
  • Design, develop, and modify software systems, incorporating scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure the outcome and consequences of those designs.
  • Develop and direct software system testing, validation procedures, programming, and documentation.
  • Analyze information to determine, recommend, and plan computer specifications and layouts, as well as peripheral equipment modifications.
  • Supervise the work of teams of programmers, technologists, and technicians, in addition to any appropriate engineering and scientific personnel.
  • Obtain and evaluate information on factors such as required reporting formats, related costs, and security needs to determine hardware configuration.
  • Determine system performance standards.
  • Train newbies to use new or modified equipment.
  • Store, retrieve, and manipulate data to analyze system capabilities and requirements.
  • Specify necessary power supply requirements and configurations.
  • Recommend the purchase of environmental control equipment, including dust control, temperature, and humidity levels in the area of system installation.