Sunday, May 26, 2024

Do You Have the Right Attributes for a Career in Software Engineering?

Last updated on June 7th, 2023 at 05:27 pm

Software engineers are in high demand these days. With the skills needed to turn the impossible into the possible, software engineers are responsible for building, developing, launching and maintaining applications, systems and platforms. And, the job is highly desirable, with research showing that almost a fifth of people born after 1997 are applying for jobs in this field. Since we are in a modern world where our lives revolve around smart devices, technology and the internet, more software engineers are always going to be welcomed into a rapidly-growing industry that has been subject to massive skills shortages in recent years. If you are interested in furthering your career in the world of software engineering, here are the skills and attributes that you will need to get ahead. 

Formal Qualifications

A career as a software engineer will almost always have a minimum entry-level education requirement, which will usually include a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject. A bachelor’s degree in computer software engineering or within the fields of math or computer science are typically the most sought-after. Once you have gained your bachelor’s degree, there are various further qualifications that you can gain to demonstrate your level of competence and stand out as a candidate in the job market. Along with a range of certifications in different core subject areas including software development, software testing, and user experience, you may want to push yourself to improve your credentials even further with a masters in software engineering online. 

Coding Skills

Learning how to code is a prerequisite to the job as a software engineer, and will be one of the first things that you will learn. But with so many different programming languages in existence today, it’s normal to worry about whether or not you’re going to be able to learn all of them. But the good news is that you probably won’t have to. Although it’s essential to be familiar with different programming languages and operating systems, most software engineers will choose one coding language to master and another couple to be fluent in. Most developers opt for JavaScript, with Kotlin, Python, Go, and TypeScript coming in second. It is also important to learn how to code for mobile if you want to get ahead as a software engineer in the modern world. Today, smartphones and other smart devices have almost become an extension of us and humans, so keeping your mobile development skills sharp will help you to future-proof your career and find more job opportunities. 

Testing Skills

Deploying code that is broken or untested is one of the biggest bugs in production, so it’s no surprise that one of the main skills that employers search for in software engineers is the ability to test and debug their own code. Today, there are ten different methods of product testing that software engineers use. However, just like coding languages, you will not need to master all of them – getting familiar with just two or three of the common testing methods can give your reputation and employability a huge boost. Being able to regularly test your software requires you to think logically and be curious; two attributes that often make a successful, innovative software engineer. 

Organizational Skills

The ability to plan ahead well and stay organized is crucial for a good software engineer. In this field of work, you will need to be able to clearly understand the scope and requirements of any project that you are working on in order to prioritize the key tasks, set workable deadlines, and maintain a high level of performance throughout so that you can release a high-quality product in the expected timeline. Along with being an organized person, it is also important to have a strong attention to detail, especially when it comes to repairing issues and finding problems with code that you might often have to search through lots of to identify small errors. 

Communication Skills

Working as a software engineer is far from the stereotypical image of a geek typing away on a keyboard and having no contact with the outside world. When working as a software engineer, your job will involve much more than simply writing code. In order to make sure that you achieve the best results with your projects, you will need to be somebody who can work well as part of a team, which involves having great communication skills. Being somebody who is able to clearly express ideas and put complex ideas across in layman’s terms will help you ensure that expectations are met when it comes to the work that you do and reduce the risk of errors due to miscommunication. When you are able to clearly put your ideas across, it increases the opportunity for others to spot how to improve them for an even better finished result. In addition to strong verbal communication skills, software engineers will also need to master strong written communication for writing up user documentation. 

Professional Development

A good software engineer is very aware of the fast-moving pace of the technology landscape, and is committed to professional development and keeping themselves up to speed. Technology is moving at a faster pace than ever before, and what may have been a cutting-edge new development yesterday might be old news tomorrow. Because of this, good software engineers need to be constantly dedicating themselves to learning new things, keeping abreast of the technological changes, and always looking for new opportunities to learn more and develop their skillset further. Seeking out opportunities to learn something new with online courses, industry events, connecting with peers, local meetups, and reading research articles are just some of the things that a successful software engineer will do on a regular basis to make sure that they are able to remain current and relevant in their field. 

If you are looking for a career that is exciting, always has something new around the corner and gives you the chance to contribute to some of the most awesome technological advancements of the future, software engineering could be ideal for you. 


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Jennifer Evans
Jennifer Evans
principal, @patternpulseai. author, THE CEO GUIDE TO INDUSTRY AI. former chair @technationCA, founder @b2bnewsnetwork #basicincome activist. Machine learning since 2009.