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What Does a Software Engineer Do? (2023 Guide)

What Does a Software Engineer Do

You’ve likely heard of software engineers, and have some idea of their importance in today’s technologically driven world. But exactly what does a software engineer do? 

The digital world exists because of the programs and applications that software engineers create. They write the code that powers social media platforms, websites, and the apps that keep our smartphones and computers operating. 

So, let’s find out how software engineers work and how to become one.

What do Software Engineers do?

What do Software Engineers do?

Software engineers use engineering principles to tackle tasks in a methodical way. This is a set of concepts, rules, and ideas that direct them while they work. It entails analyzing, researching, creating, testing, and refining the procedure until a final product is created that achieves a specific set of goals.

Writing, testing, editing, and debugging programs are all tasks that software engineers perform using their expertise in mathematics, computer science, and engineering. That’s not all… Depending on the role, different tasks may be included, such as:

  • Writing new software programs from scratch.
  • Altering existing software.
  • Researching and developing entire software systems.
  • Forming connections by collaborating with other industry professionals, such as programmers, designers, coders, and software developers.
  • Using flowcharts and design documents to demonstrate the tasks at hand.
  • Assessing elements like costs, timelines, and safety during the process of design and development.
  • Creating instruction manuals

What is the difference between Software Engineers and Software Developers?

Software developers are responsible for writing the code that allows programs and operating systems to function. They determine what the software must accomplish and then write the code to make it happen. Software engineers are expected to do the same thing, but they use a “big picture” approach to develop the whole program or project in addition to writing the code.

For example, imagine a movie production’s crew and cast. Each crew and cast member is responsible for performing a unique role. However, the director is responsible for the whole crew and cast. They must focus on everyone to ensure that everyone performs their roles to the best of their ability to create the envisioned film.

Therefore, software engineers use the “big picture” approach when they supervise and create software. They must consider the coding and the program throughout the design process rather than focusing on a single part of the project.

What Qualifications do Software Engineers need?

What Qualifications do Software Engineers need?

The educational requirement for software engineers is a bachelor’s degree or higher in software engineering, mathematics, information technology, computer science, or a related discipline.

Employers in this field value practical experience in coding and programming. Students can get an advantage after graduation by getting an internship or finishing a capstone project while studying. Getting certified by the ICCP, through product providers, or through software companies also gives you a competitive edge.

Technology evolves fast, and software engineers know this. They commit to lifelong learning to keep their knowledge base up to date, for example, by attending professional development seminars. Many such opportunities exist to help further their education.


Software Engineers job descriptions place emphasis on specialized hard skills. For example, an employer may require expertise in a particular programming language like Python or C++. Therefore it is advantageous for software engineers to have various hard skills. Employers don’t all use the same software, so knowing several programming languages can be useful.

Being detail-oriented benefits software engineers since coding is very specific. Other crucial skills include problem-solving abilities, good analytical skills, and familiarity with abstract ideas. Designing new software requires creativity, while good time management keeps progression on schedule. Completing projects requires teamwork, so employers need software engineers who can effectively communicate with others and function well in a team.

How Much Do Software Engineers Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary of software developers was $103,620 in 2018. They do not use the title “software engineer,” but it includes this profession.

Data for similar jobs shows the employment future in software engineering looks favorable. For example, the employment of software developers is predicted to increase by 26% from 2018 to 2028. Systems development should stay in demand as more appliances and smartphones are equipped with new computer systems.

Common Work Environments and Industries

Common Work Environments and Industries

Although many software professions are remote, software engineers occasionally have to go to the office. Software engineers may sometimes need to work overtime or irregular hours, too, because the internet is always on.

Most industries nowadays profit from the skills of software developers. They work in various fields, including aerospace, healthcare, military, education, manufacturing, publishing, business, government, and general computing.

Are you also considering other Software Related Careers?

Then check out our in-depth Software Developer Job Description, our Software Tester Job Description, our Software Test Engineer Job Description, our Computer Programmer Job Description, and our UNIX System Administrator Job Description.

Or, take a look at our comprehensive comparison of Computer Science vs Software Engineering and the Top Interview Questions To Ask Software Engineers in 2023.

However, if you’re searching for a great job opportunity or just want to know what’s available at the moment, the Best Remote Computer and Tech Jobs are well worth checking out.

What Does a Software Engineer Do? – Final Thoughts

Now that we know what a software engineer does. There are opportunities spread across the world’s industries. They can design and write almost any program and are an essential part of the growing tech industry. A passion for technology and dedication to learning are important attributes for anyone considering a career in software engineering. 

All the very best with your career as a Software Engineer, and happy coding!

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