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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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