Posted: 21 Jul 2017
When it comes to the software engineering industry, it is a common misconception that the main component of a job in this area is the ability to write code.
While this is an important skill for many roles, many industries now use software to aid with coding and then have engineers with vast skill bases working in other roles such as business analysts, software testers or project managers. This allows potential candidates to choose a career path based on their specific skills.
Interests, personal skills and experience may dictate what path you take when looking for a career in software engineering. If you are a student considering software engineering jobs in the future, you should carefully plan which subjects to study, taking the time to research and extend your knowledge in said area. Whether you are a student heading to university or someone looking for a career change, this research will be beneficial latterly.
If you are a student considering software engineering as a career path, choosing a course that suits your preferred software role is a must. Subjects based on maths and science would give you a good introduction to the sector.
Identifying the content of the course is also important, as you will want to have a good level of exposure to coding and other important software engineering skills. This can also be achieved with personal research alongside your studies.
These courses will help to prepare you for higher level learning within the software engineering industry, but you may want to do as many other students do and incorporate work into your studies to strengthen your skill base.
To incorporate work and studies, you may look to pick up an apprenticeship during a placement year at university. This means you will split your degree into a “sandwich course” but with an industrial placement in software engineering, which will help to enhance your studies by incorporating real life experience.
University leavers can apply for graduate jobs after university to get them onto the career ladder immediately post-graduation. This investment in graduates and apprentices will benefit large companies as they can help the business to grow while they are learning their trade.
If you are already in full-time employment and you are looking to make the change to software engineering, you will want to research courses or qualifications you can complete to make the transition as smooth as possible, while also allowing you to add to your C.V.
Although it is difficult to define the exact technical skills that are required for a job in software engineering, there are some other skills that will be extremely beneficial in the industry, such as teamwork and communication. Within large companies or business which operate on an international scale, employees must be able to communicate to complete tasks and projects efficiently to benefit both clients and the company.
Employers would expect you, as a software engineer, to handle pressure caused by a demanding workload and other time constraints. You will also need to be self-motivated and have the ability to work to short deadlines, with problem-solving a key factor within the role.
There will be challenges that arise on a daily basis, such as dealing with software or code that you might not be familiar with. In this situation, you would be expected to proactively deal with and solve the issue.
You must also prove that you have an enquiring mind, which can be proven by how proactive you were at gaining experience outside of your studies. Practising your skills on the internet by coding your own website or app, for example, is a great way to prove to a potential employer that you have taken the time outside of your studies to develop yourself further.
It is also useful to keep up-to-date with current industry trends so that you have your finger on the pulse. This can be easily done by looking online and finding the latest news or reading the opinions of the technology community.
Once you have joined a company, there will often be the opportunity for progression, either within the department you are currently working in or moving to a different area to further increase your skill base. It is encouraged that, if you can do so, you gain experience in many departments within software engineering. This will allow you to mould your career path to your exact wishes and decide in which sector you would like to progress.