You have obtained a computer science degree with a specialization in software engineering. What do you do next? It's a common question many computer science graduates ask. Similarly, you may wonder what to do if you already have an established software engineering career but suddenly lose a position you have held for quite a while. There are plenty of positions available for software engineers, but not all of them are equal. Some may not suit your skills, experience level, or desires in terms of duties, industry, and pay level.
Before you can apply for the software engineering position you want, you must understand how such positions work. They are typically divided into entry, junior, and senior level positions. Each one includes different job requirements and expectations. The basic duties and salaries for each are outlined below. Also included are several resources to help you quickly find the software engineering position you desire.
Types of Software Engineers
Before selecting a software engineering position, you must determine what type of software engineer you are. The term “software engineer” can refer to a variety of positions across multiple industries. Some popular examples of software engineer types include:
Quality assurance engineers create tests to ensure software is running properly.
Video game designers use wide ranges of skills to create immersive virtual game play experiences.
Software integration engineers program hardware like smartphones and smart security systems.
Front-end engineers create user interfaces for websites and applications and must have detailed knowledge of concepts like graphic design.
Data scientists create programs designed to analyze data, often with the goal of determining which products or services best suit the needs of a particular business or industry.
Mobile developers are software engineers who work specifically on applications for tablets, smartphones, or other mobile devices.
Software Engineer Position Titles
Software engineering positions are typically given titles based on seniority levels within a company. Commonly, they are referred to as junior, middle, and senior positions. However, some companies use a different title system. For example, certain companies have entry-level, junior, and senior engineers, instead. Therefore, it is important to understand the job ranking system the company to which you are applying uses. That way you can apply for the position that best suits your skill and experience levels.
The positions you may encounter along your career path are also dependent upon which software engineering career track you want to pursue. On the technical track, you can strive to obtain a position as a senior staff engineer. You may also eventually qualify to become the principal engineer, who is the senior engineer in charge of overseeing projects and delegating tasks to other team members. You could also opt to pursue the managerial career track, which might eventually garner you a position as a chief technology officer (CTO). A CTO is the most senior engineer. He or she oversees all other software engineers and engineering projects within a particular firm or department.
Basic Duties and Salaries of Entry-Level, Junior/Middle, and Senior Software Engineers
The duties of a software engineer vary based on skills and experience levels. An entry-level software earns an average of $76,882 per year. Such an engineer is typically given mundane software coding tasks. Those tasks are designed to allow the engineer to learn about the software coding techniques utilized by the firm for which he or she works. In an entry position, a software engineer is overseen by mid-level engineers and is expected to work as part of a team. Collectively, the team updates existing software programs or develops new programs, as needed.
A middle software engineer earns an average annual salary of $111,201. The job of a middle, sometimes called junior, software engineer is to perform similar tasks to those of an entry-level engineer but do so with more autonomy. Often, a middle engineer is also given more projects to handle at once and expected to multitask efficiently. Additionally, a middle level engineer typically has the skills and experience needed to identify and correct code errors or inefficient sections of coding.
The average senior software engineer earns $131,206 annually. He or she has already achieved high levels of training and experience. Typically, a senior engineer must have at least five years of industry experience. Some companies prefer senior engineer candidates to have eight to ten years of experience. A senior software engineer oversees and monitors lower level engineers. He or she is responsible for reviewing code, resolving problems, and managing large projects, including the development and launching of new software.
Top Companies Hiring Software Engineers
If you want to use your software engineering skills to work for a well-established company, you have many choices. There are several major companies that are constantly in need of skilled software engineers. They are the giants of the technology and online commerce world. Here are some options:
Google had approximately 4,000 software engineer positions available in 2021. Senior software engineers working for Google earn annual salaries of up to $1.2 million.
Microsoft is one of the biggest names in the computer industry. Approximately 10,000 software engineers are employed annually throughout its European and North American branches.
Adobe is one of the top digital media marketing companies in the world. According to 2021 data, Adobe has approximately 1,500 available software engineer positions.
Apple is among the most popular technology-based companies in the United States. Based in California, it consistently employs thousands of software engineers and listed over 3,000 software engineer job openings in 2021.
Amazon employs thousands of software engineers and developers worldwide. It also features its own academy where existing Amazon employees can receive training in the skills of their choice, including software engineering.
Other Ways to Find Software Engineering Jobs
There are many other ways to find your ideal software engineering position. One is to move to an area where software engineering is in high demand. For example, the popular job recruitment website ZipRecruiter reports six of the top ten cities in the United States for high-paid software engineering positions are located in California. However, many software engineering jobs are work-from-home positions you can do from any location. Therefore, you do not necessarily need to move. Instead, utilize local job fairs and online resources like LinkedIn to find available positions quickly. You can also request recommendations and endorsements from friends or family members already in the industry.