Career Information

Computer Software Engineers: Training, Salary, & Career Information

Career Profile: What do Computer Software Engineers Do?
From design to development, testing to troubleshooting, computer software engineers use their ability with applications and systems software to create the elements that make computers work. They use computer programs like C, C++, and Java to create packaged software and customized applications, often working in teams to create complex products.

Computer software engineers are highly trained in a range of technologies and well-compensated for their knowledge. No wonder Forbes placed computer engineers, including software engineers, at the top of their list of most lucrative college majors.

A Day in the Life of a Computer Software Engineer
The traditional 40-hour work week, in a comfortable office setting is typical for computer software engineers. Some may work overtime, particularly during deadline periods when a large amount of work is due. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that 17 percent of computer software engineers work over 50 hours a week on average.

Teamwork is essential for computer software engineers, who might work with a large group to solve problems and create new products. Even those who travel or telecommute must typically report to a team or management structure.

Computer Software Engineer Training and Education
Training for computer software engineers typically results in a bachelor's degree plus experience with a range of computer systems and technologies. Hiring managers for some complex, high-level, or competitive careers require a master's degree among applicants.

Many computer software engineers choose to combine their formal education with certification programs. These targeted training programs prove the employees' commitments to continuing education, making them more valuable to the company and workforce. Popular certification programs include Cisco and Microsoft-based training.

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Computer Software Engineer Employment & Outlook
About 324,000 new computer software engineers are expected to be added to the workforce through 2016, a huge increase for a job already in demand. The bulk of those jobs--226,000--are expected to go to applications software engineers, while the rest are expected to go to systems software engineers. Over 1.1 million computer software engineers in total are expected to be employed in the field by 2016.

Excellent job prospects are due in part to a rising sophistication in available technology along with the demand among clients for personalized software applications. Concerns over security should provide extra career demand for those with formal training or experience in software engineers.

Computer Software Engineer Salary
The BLS reports mean annual earnings for computer applications software engineers at $85,660 in 2007. That same year, systems software engineers earned $90,780. Systems software engineers in California and Virginia saw mean annual earnings over six figures, and the majority of computer software engineers were employed by computer systems design companies.

Sources
Forbes, Most Lucrative College Majors
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Software Engineers

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