We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is a Software Engineer?

By Brendan McGuigan
Updated May 22, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A software engineer typically works with programmers and other individuals to create computer code for an application. This can make entirely new software, or produce an update for existing work. Day-to-day tasks in this field often involve things like creating flowcharts and diagrams that demonstrate how applications function so that programmers can write the necessary code for a program. Many of these engineers have a degree in computer science and often work full time at various companies that create or maintain software.

Duties and Responsibilities

Many companies employ software engineers to assemble extensive amounts of code into working applications, as well as to update and fix problems in existing software. The exact work necessary to do this, however, can vary quite a bit from one project to another. Programmers often work with a software engineer to determine what is needed when making a new application, and the engineer plans out how to best accomplish these tasks. He or she might do some programming personally, though often other programmers create all of the code; the software engineer must have a strong knowledge of various coding languages and methodologies even if he or she does not do the coding.

Necessary Skills

A software engineer usually has a strong background in mathematics and understands how programming works at a fundamental level. Communication skills are often vital in this field, since engineers frequently have to determine the needs of different clients and help explain the options that might best satisfy them. Engineers also typically understand leadership and task management, letting them work better with a team to ensure they meet goals on time.

what is software engineer

How To Become One

Many people in this career have degrees in computer science, though related fields like mathematics may work in some instances. A bachelor's degree is usually sufficient, at least for entry-level positions, and a number of schools offer graduate degrees in computer science for advanced study. Professional experience may also be necessary for a software engineer, who may have previously worked in programming or development. While software developers often have need of engineers, hardware manufacturers, major ecommerce websites, and video game studios may also hire people for this position.

Importance and Job Outlook

As the need for a software engineer in many companies has grown, this has become a very popular career field. Economically, socially, and politically, computers are changing the world, and these engineers help build the tools that drive such changes. Employment experts predict that opportunities in this field are likely to continue growing in the near future. Software development has become increasingly competitive, however, so structured training and professional experience are more important than ever before.

Work Environment

A software engineer often works as part of a team, usually in an office or similar location. Many engineers work full time, often 40 or more hours per week, with additional time required during certain phases of the development cycle. Long hours at a computer can lead to eye strain, headaches, and medical conditions like carpal-tunnel syndrome, so anyone getting into programming should learn to take breaks and make an effort to avoid such potentially serious issues. This position typically pays quite well, though exact amounts depend on individual companies and the level of seniority held by an engineer.

Debate over Job Title

There is some debate over the term "engineer" as it applies to this position. Some people feel that software development is not held to the same rigorous standards as fields such as electrical engineering, and therefore should not be associated with them. Companies use this title without any professional licensure, which is a hallmark of many other engineering disciplines. As of 2012, however, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) began developing a test for software engineer licensing, though full adoption of this standard may take some time.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources

Discussion Comments

By anon945220 — On Apr 11, 2014

Does app development affiliate with any type of software engineering?

By anon295580 — On Oct 07, 2012

I completed a normal degree but I want become software field jobs What can I do? Please give me any suggestions.

By shyamsunder — On Apr 08, 2011

I had done my Bsc coomputer science, but it is a certificate. i am nothing without a certificate.

i had the capability to do and maintain any type computer tasks or applications after having a bit of training, so, could you please tell me about it?

it is possible or impossible for a mature failure graduate?

By anon135904 — On Dec 20, 2010

apart from any other basic things we know, is there any things that can discourage one from focusing?

By anon123938 — On Nov 03, 2010

I want to become a software engineer for my country and myself. i am going to join the air national guard and become the woman i need to be for my family.

By anon123648 — On Nov 03, 2010

You should be pretty aggressive to become a good software engineer.

By anon111910 — On Sep 18, 2010

Don't think money wise. If you love doing something then do it. If you're good in programming and coding then software engineering is best. But if you're not good in codes then you struggle. My advice is to research about it. Software engineering is good profession.

By anon80869 — On Apr 29, 2010

what do i have to know for the interview for a software engineer? what all kinds of questions will there be?

By anon72211 — On Mar 22, 2010

As i don't have any experience in this field and i completed my B.Tech IT, what do i have to know for the interview for a software engineer? what all kinds of questions will there be?

By anon71341 — On Mar 18, 2010

i think i want to be a software engineer in the future?

By anon47234 — On Oct 02, 2009

How many hours a day is a software engineer expected to work? What is his/her annual salary range? Thank you

By anon11174 — On Apr 09, 2008

what about the annual salary of software engineers and other issues requirements to enter the field and attributes that a software engineer should have?

On this page
Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.