Software Engineer Salary

Software Engineer

When people hear the words software engineer they are often times unaware of what the job entails.  Software Engineers are skilled people with creative minds that develop applications that allow people to do specific jobs on a computer or other programmable device.  Some may even develop systems that run the devices or control networks.  So how much does a software engineer make?  This article will go over a software engineer salary.

Software Engineer Salary

What is the salary of a software engineer?  Presently, the annual average salary is around $93,000 and the monthly average salary is around $7,750.  The top 10% of software engineers are earning over $139,000 while the starting wage can be as low as $45,000.  The top paying states for this profession are California, Virginia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

A software engineer’s salary can vary greatly depending on the number of skills and amount of experience an individual possesses.  It can also be affected by whether or not that person has a degree, certification, and their area of specialty.  Salary can even fluctuate depending on the size of an employer’s company.

Generally speaking, the more skills and experience a software engineer has the higher the salary will be.

Software Engineer Job Description

Software engineers can do a variety of jobs including analyzing user needs and then designing, testing and developing software to meet those needs, recommend software upgrades, design pieces of applications then plan how the pieces will fit together, and collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimal software.

They are often in charge of writing software in a more methodical formal process.  Software engineers use the principles of software engineering to design, develop, maintain, test, and evaluate software and the systems that make computers or anything with a software network.

As a software engineer an individual can perform a number of jobs and work for many different disciplines.  They can work for software service companies where their duties could range from writing algorithms to eliciting project requirements.  As a professional they could also work as an embedded software engineer where they work for companies such as GE and Boeing where they may do anything from help controlling the lighting to working on medical imaging programs.  Software engineers can also serve as a cyber security manager by helping to prevent hackings through writing security programs or acting as an expert in selecting programs and educating the development team about best practices.

Work Environment

Most software engineers work for computer systems design or related services firms.  They typically work full time in a well lit office environment.  Some work more than 40 hours per week and projects may require additional hours or even weekend work in order to meet deadlines or solve unexpected technical problems.  However, it is common for some to telecommute (work away from the office).  This flexibility in working location allows companies to utilize talents even internationally.

Due to the nature of the job eye strain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel are common issues that software engineers often battle.  These concerns can be handled easily with quick fixes such as looking away from the computer screen regularly to rest the eyes, utilizing a balancing ball instead of a chair, and finding an ergonomic keyboard to help with hand and wrist strains.

How to become a Software Engineer

Today, most have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field.  There are even a select few that have degrees in mathematics.  Computer science programs are the most popular as they cover a broad range of topics.  Students should center their coursework on building software.  Additionally, many employers value relevant experience so partaking in internships while pursuing a degree is a good idea.  Tuition for a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or a related field can range anywhere from $7,000 to $45,000 a year depending on whether or not you are going to school in the state in which you live and if it is a private or public institution.

There are also training courses offered by community colleges and other vocational institutes and in some cases software vendors offer a certification program.  Often times students will go through a certification process with a vendor to supplement his or her bachelor’s degree.  Certification is sometimes preferred or even required by employers as it is a testament to your skills.  The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers offers a certification that is internationally recognized by the software engineering community as reputable.

Because technology is constantly changing it is also important that professionals partake in continuing education through conferences, seminars, and networking.

Career Outlook

Software development jobs are expected to grow 22% by 2022 which is much faster on average than for all other occupations.  The biggest reasons for the rapid growth is because of the internet’s expansion and the increasing complexity of data-processing systems used in many different business sectors from telecommunications, to healthcare, to the government.  There are also increasing concerns over network and computer security which could also drive the increased need for software engineers.

These jobs will also continue to grow as new opportunities arise because of the increase in the number of products that use software.  Computer systems are now in telephones and appliances which all require software.

On the other hand, some are concerned that outsourcing may decrease the employment growth for software engineers, but because they usually need to be in close proximity to their clients the off shoring of these jobs is expected to be minimal.

Related Careers

Computer Network Architects make on average $91,000 a year by building and designing data communication systems like local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and intranets.  Most work full time with nearly a quarter working more than 40 hours a week.  Computer Network Architects also usually have a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field and need experience in a related occupation as well.

Information Security Analysts make around $86,170 per year.  They plan and carry out security measures that protect an organization’s computer networks and systems.  Their responsibilities continually expand as the volume of cyber attacks increases.  Most work for computer companies, consulting firms, and business and financial companies.  And they tend to have at least a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field as well as relevant experience.

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