IT technologies are influencing almost all spheres of our lives today. The need for new personnel is growing every year. In the future, this trend will only intensify. This article contains Proxet HR Team research and recommendations for those who want to carefully and quickly learn and keep up with the industry.
IT skills and technologies are continuously changing our lives and increasing in demand. Even 35 years ago, a computer was something outlandish. Today, a laptop and a smartphone are essential items for many people worldwide, and the Internet is an essential service in most household bills.
IT seeps into all areas of life. For example, imagine the e-commerce or food delivery market without gadgets and the Internet. It doesn’t seem realistic or usual, does it? Now you can order dishes from your favourite restaurant with just one click in a food-delivery application, and those dishes will be on your table in half an hour.
Indeed, IT has affected almost everything – from car-sharing to bills payment, from online entertainment to healthcare, from mechanical engineering to the expanded list of possible remote jobs.
The high pace of information technology development is also linked with a relatively low entry barrier. Namely, anyone can learn the basics, master one of the programming languages, and create something revolutionary that users and the IT community can quickly adapt. In other areas, for example, in mechanical engineering, it is most likely that you’ll fail to create something big without an impressive technical background and practical experience.
There are tons of options when it comes to IT jobs. Here, we’d like to discuss one of the most popular specializations. If you enjoy programming and want to work on different types of software, you will be interested in software engineering. As a computer software engineer, you will be closely associated with developing various programs and apps. Interestingly, not every person in the field of programming can say this.
However, to succeed in your career in software development, you must know what criteria a software engineer must meet and its various types. Generally, a software engineer must have computer technician skills needed to solve engineer-related IT tasks, but first things first.
A Software Engineer’s Career Path
First of all, it would be right to clarify one issue. A lot of people wonder what the difference between a software engineer and a programmer is. Confusion often arises with these definitions, and as a result, all technology specialists are simply called “programmers.” This is the “software engineer vs developer” mix-up.
In fact, as cliché as this sounds, a programmer is the person who writes the code. Such a specialist normally receives a task, as well as explanations on how to solve it. Thus, they follow the instructions and write code using a certain programming language they are experts in.
- Software Engineer
The goal of a software engineer is to create optimized and clean-looking programs that also support updates and extensions. For instance, a software engineer can spend time finding optimal software development solutions. You’ll start your software engineering career as an entry-level specialist. With more experience and new knowledge, you develop a portfolio of projects and solved issues. Over time, an engineer can advance through the junior, middle, and senior levels within their company. But promotions are on a case-by-case basis and depend on company policy.
After becoming a senior engineer, you can advance your career by becoming a software architect or a team lead. Architects, like software engineers, solve problems but at a higher level. They figure out what the internal structures and external interfaces of the software complex should be. After making complex architectural decisions, they submit the task for development.
“Of course, the senior stage isn’t the last step of an IT career. Here, however, one can often face a choice between a ‘technical’ path, that is, focusing more on hard skills and sharing of expertise; and a ‘managerial’ one. The titles in the second case may sound like Team Lead, Engineering Manager, etc. Soft skills are more important for this career branch, as your task is to ensure seamless workflow and productivity of your team”— Yuriy Grushevoy, Director of Information Technology at Proxet, a custom software development solutions company.
Software Developers’ Work Specialization and Responsibilities
It’s time to continue with the software developer levels description. So, let’s clarify the major responsibilities of software engineers of different levels.
When you are just entering the world of software engineering, most jobs will require you to take tests to assess your skills. After that, depending on the results, you will be hired with specific responsibilities and tasks.
The assignments may differ, but they will aim at learning and gaining experience. More often than not, you will need to work with more experienced team members who monitor your progress and share company knowledge with you. Note, the better you cope with tasks, the more opportunities you will have in the future!
Junior & Middle
Normally, experience is a major requirement when hiring a junior software engineer. For this level, experience is less like a plus and more like a must-have. At the beginning of any interview for a software engineering position, they will ask you about the relevant experience in a similar profession or position. However, work is not the only way to gain experience. Perhaps you had personal and team projects. Even seminars or courses can be useful in this case. Completing software engineer school is also a plus.
In addition to experience, a junior software engineer must be able to work independently without the constant supervision of mentors. The employer expects you to have a basic knowledge of software engineering and other related fields. You are supposed to have enough skills to work with all software engineering tools freely.
The same goes for middle specialists. One clarification, though. A middle-level software engineer has more responsibilities and skills (hard and soft ones) than a junior. Such an expert can be a mentor for entry-level and junior engineers.
Like most seasoned professionals, as a senior software engineer, you will need to fulfill your direct responsibilities and lead and support the team. It will require management and communication skills and, of course, active listening skills, although not every job will be associated with it. On the other hand, you will be entrusted with the most important and difficult tasks so that the responsibility level will increase significantly. Being a strong senior specialist means you’ve managed to build a software development career.
The platform architect makes sure that the platform looks simple and straightforward to external users. To accomplish the task, you can use, for example, an API. In this case, in addition to organizing the processes, you will be involved in API design. Mostly, you’ll be choosing and implementing the architecture, while the rest of the time will be spent on market analysis and working with other product managers. Frankly, such skills can help with any start up challenge.
In some situations, there is no time left for direct participation in product development, but at the same time, the architect will continue to work closely with many development teams. Responsibilities may also include overseeing the development of applications and services. It is necessary to ensure scalability, make the right choice of technologies, and ensure reliability and continuity. In this case, software architects should offer the creative thinking needed to solve the most complicated issues.
Everything You Need to Know about Software Engineer Entry Level
Now we’d like to consider software engineer entry level issues and required professional skills.
Entry-level software engineer requirements are fairly straightforward and unpretentious. For starters, it is usually important to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, application development, or software engineering. Honestly, any computer-related education will allow you to apply for a position as a software engineer. But you’ll need to have certain skills and knowledge as well. Willingness to learn and grow will help you along the career path for software developers.
Proper education is an essential requirement for applying in this industry. For some professions in the IT field, self-study and online courses will be enough, but a software engineer profession is different. Of course, there are many self-educated specialists, but it requires a special kind of mindset, perseverance, and strong desire. And generally, it’s a more non-typical career path.
As for the technical requirements, a beginner software engineer must have good logical and analytical thinking skills, be well-versed in mathematics and computer technology, be able to document their workflow, etc. Even though this is only a beginner’s level, you still need to have the most basic skills and knowledge. And you should remember that you’ll have more chances with a good software engineer portfolio.
What to Expect: the Future of Profession
IT has a big future. We can even say that IT seems to be the future of humanity. And software engineering is a big part of this story.
First, there will be an increasing dеmаnd for skilled software developers. Why? Because our mоdеrn wоrld runs on sоftware.
Second, businеssеs tend to shift their operations tоwаrd automation. Forrester, a business rеsеаrch company, forecasts that firms will spend more than $25 billion on glоbаl mаrkеting аutomation by 2023.
Third, take a look at the development of AI, IoT, cloud technology, Blockchain, new development stacks, and even progressive web apps; everything is related to software engineering one way or another. For example, Ericsson Mobility Report says that by 2024, the number of connected devices is expected to exceed $22 billion.
On the other hand, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the software engineering industry is expected to rocket by 2026. Anyway, most experts in this field agree that software engineering has a big and bright future.
What is a Software Engineer: Job Titles Examples
Let’s list the most probable software engineer career path titles:
- Chief Technical Officer (CTO)
- VP of Engineering or Director of Engineering
- Delivery Manager
- Chief Architect
- Software Architect
- Engineering Project Manager or Engineering Manager
- Technical Lead or Engineering Lead
- Principal Software Engineer
- Senior Software Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Software Developer
- Junior Software Developer
- Intern Software Developer
Now you can see the full picture of the challenges you might face in the software engineering world once you decide to take this path. And if you do, keep in mind Proxet, a company that is proud of its top-notch professionals. Software developers with an out-of-the-box thinking mindset can easily solve any problem whether it’s healthcare, pharma, automotive or any other field of business. So, think Proxet, especially if your aim is complicated and extraordinary.