Support Your Family as You Work in a Booming Industry

If you are passionate about computers, math, solving problems and creating new programs, a career as a software engineer could be an exciting and lucrative way to support your family. Most software engineers do not need advanced degrees to get started in the field, so this is an excellent career if you want to spend only a few years in school before beginning to earn a salary. As an added bonus for those raising a family, most software engineers work regular business hours and enjoy full benefits with retirement planning.

Job Description

Software engineers are the creative minds who develop the systems and applications that enable computers, phones, tablets and other devices to function properly and smoothly to meet anticipated user needs. They brainstorm software design and upgrades, then develop and test programs and systems to ensure they meet requirements. Software engineers check that programs run together smoothly. Although most are skilled coders, their main responsibility is to create diagrams that show programmers what they need to code, and then check to make sure the code written by those programmers functions well under a variety of conditions. They must understand customer needs as presented by their project managers, as well as work efficiently with teams of other computer professionals. Software programmers are keen problem solvers who are able to go back and fix bugs or issues in software and systems to get them running with optimal efficiency. They are often responsible for supervising others assisting in the development process, so leadership skills are a plus.

Education Requirements

Software engineers normally enter the field with a bachelor's degree in software engineering or computer science. It is important to gain hands-on experience and focus on taking college courses that offer the opportunity to create software applications/ Many college programs offer internship opportunities to assist students in gaining experience and meeting contacts in the software industry. Some employers prefer candidates with a master's level degree, so a few educational programs offer a combined bachelor's and master's program to give you an extra edge as you enter the workforce.

The median salary for software engineers is $100,080, which means that half earn more than this, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $157,590, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $58,300.

About the Industry

Twice as many software engineers work in application development than in systems development, and most work in corporate office settings with regular business hours. Some employers offer the opportunity to work from home all or part of the time, which is convenient for those desiring flexibility while raising children. Most employers are computer systems design companies, software publishers, manufacturers or finance and insurance companies.

Years of Experience

Income increases with experience and is also influenced by employer and geography. According to one projection, salary could look something like this:

  • Entry-Level:

    $54,863 - $111,582
    * Mid-Career: 

    $63,760 - $126,981
    * Experienced:

    $71,106 - $139,294
    * Late-Career: 

    $77,622 - $149,890

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for software engineers are expected to grow a whopping 24 percent over the next decade, much faster than in other industries. Demand for applications developers is expected to be especially high, with 30 percent anticipated growth in that area of the field. An increasing number of devices that use applications, such as cellphones and tablets, is behind this impressive growth. Ensure that you are knowledgeable on the latest in programming tools and that you are a proficient coder to gain an edge over competition in the job market.

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