Inside Software Engineering Jobs

by QuickCert on November 17, 2010

An Inside Look At Working In Software Engineering
Despite the financial turbulence experienced in the Silicon Valley, software engineering is still a promising career path for those who are able to stand above the crowd of job-seekers. By obtaining outstanding educational credentials and the right software certifications, you can place yourself in that of pool of technical experts that are always in high demand.

In fact, despite the dot com bust and the resulting turmoil, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that software engineering will be among the fastest-growing job sectors in the period from 2008 to 2018. While overall job prospects for computer programmers and engineers is expected to increase by 21 percent from 2008 to 2018, employment specifically for computer software engineers should grow by 32 percent in the same period. The BLS advises prospective software engineers to have at least a bachelor’s degree if not a graduate degree in computer science or related fields.

The most significant projected growth over the next decade is for those software engineers who specialize in computer systems rather than computer applications.

The BLS also recommends that software engineers obtain certification to demonstrate their proficiency in different types of software systems. Certification is provided by vendors and by schools, organizations and centers that specialize in IT certification.

Certificates in popular applications and systems offered by companies like Microsoft, Cisco and CompTIA is especially valuable since many job openings will require skills in these areas. With the movement of the World Wide Web from static HTML pages to database-driven pages, there is a growing demand for certification in database systems and applications like SQL Server.

Another important area for certification is computer and internet security. The growing number of online commercial transactions and the concern over data privacy has fueled growth in this field. Certification is available for systems and applications like Cisco networks and the Department of Defense’s Directive 8570-1.

Unlike obtaining a college degree, certification courses are rather short and convenient, and can be taken in one’s spare time. A search on Google or Yahoo will quickly identify many sources of certification in your area. Generally, it is best to stick with schools that offer accredited course curriculum. Look for product training in Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, ITIL, VM Ware, CWNO Wireless and other well-known computer software systems.

According to the BLS, the median annual salary for a computer applications software engineer in the United States during 2008 was $85,430. The lowest 10 percent of salaries, probably including those for many beginning software engineers, was below $53,720. A computer systems software engineer had a higher median annual salary of $92,430 in 2008.

Salaries varied significantly depending on the area of specialization in software engineering. For example, for computer system software engineers here are some median annual salaries for different industries as provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

• Scientific research and development services: $102,090
• Computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing: $101,270
• Software publishers: $93,590
• Navigational measuring electro-medical and control instruments manufacturing: $91,720
• Computer systems design and related services: $91,610

To find the most updated information on wages for software engineers, you can check the BLS’s Occupational Employment Statistics Survey Program. The data includes earnings based on location for computer programmers, computer application software engineers and computer system software engineers.

Planning for a future as a software engineer, then, will require laying out one’s educational path with a specific field of specialization in mind. You should plan on putting enough time and energy into obtaining certification in applications and systems that are in high demand. Remember the importance of distinguishing yourself from the crowd.