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Software engineering jobs: All of your options

Software engineers, also called software developers, apply the principles and concepts of engineering to software development. Software engineering jobs put you at the heart of software design, testing, and maintenance. 

With a software engineering degree, you have the skills and knowledge to create new and exciting software while simultaneously improving upon existing programs and systems. 

Projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to experience 22% job growth by 2030, software engineering is an in-demand and lucrative field. 

What is it like to work in a software engineering job?

Software engineering jobs blend engineering, software development, and programming knowledge and skills. Software engineers work across industries, designing, building and managing software programs for use in computers and applications alike. 

Software engineers typically work in an office setting as part of a team. Remote work may be an option, but cooperative and collaborative activities mean software engineers can work both independently and in a group setting. 

With fellow programmers, designers, and developers, software engineers plan the scope and order of software function and performance. Software engineering’s variety allows you to pursue a career you find rewarding and lucrative. 

Whether you want to design practical applications, educational programs, games, or some other type of software, becoming a software engineer can make it happen. 

How much money can you make in software engineering?

Earning potential as a software engineer varies by education, experience, industry, and location, among other factors. According to PayScale, the average base salary for software engineers in April 2022 was $88,570. 

The BLS states the top-paying industries for software engineers include transportation and computer manufacturing. California, Washington, and New York are the states paying top wages for software engineering jobs. 

A bachelor’s degree is the foundation for a job in software engineering, but earning additional certifications and advanced degrees can increase earning potential. 

Software engineers with credentials in advanced programming, project management, and computer-aided drafting technologies demonstrate expertise in specific and essential aspects of the job. 

What can you do with a software engineering degree?

Earning a software engineering degree sets you on a path to a software engineer job, but experience also impresses potential employers. You may also find career advancement with a software engineering master’s degree.

Applications architect

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $124,690 average base salary (Feb. 2022)

Applications architects create, maintain, and oversee the development of software for applications. They collaborate with designers and developers to streamline design processes and testing guidelines. An applications architect understands how all parts of an application system work together, defines application requirements, and identifies potential limitations.

Computer and information research scientist

Minimum degree required: Master’s degree
Salary expectations: $131,490 annual median pay (May 2021)

Computer and information research scientists develop theories and models to address problems in computing. They determine computing and system requirements, use existing and new languages and tools to meet them, and test their efforts. Computer and information research scientists may specialize in areas including programming or robotics. 

Computer network architect

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $120,520 annual median pay (May 2021)

Computer network architects design, build, and oversee communication networks. They may focus on local area networks, wide area networks, or intranets. Computer network architects develop plans for information management. They implement, monitor, and upgrade software and hardware as needed, introducing new technologies as they become available.

Computer programmer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $93,000 annual median pay (May 2021)

Computer programmers write, edit, and test code for software and applications. They use their detailed knowledge of programming languages to make software designs functional and efficient. Computer programmers may work alongside software developers or take on development duties.

Computer systems analyst

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $99,270 annual median pay (May 2021)

Tasked with monitoring computer systems, computer systems analysts identify ways to improve functionality, cost benefits, and efficiency. Computer systems analysts research new workplace technologies, such as financial or healthcare computer systems. They may design or oversee the installation of new systems, often training others to use them. 

Computer systems analysts are also called programmer analysts and information technology project managers, depending on their specific duties. 

Data engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $93,270 annual median pay (April 2022)

Data engineers create algorithms to collect, process, and organize large datasets. They may prepare datasets for further study by data scientists or analyze the data for trends and patterns themselves.

These professionals should be proficient in Linux and data structuring. Programming languages including Java, SQL, and Python are also useful.

Information security analyst

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $102,600 annual median pay (May 2021)

Information security analysts plan and implement security measures for computer networks and systems. They identify security needs, monitor threats, and upgrade security measures. These professionals also recommend enhancements, develop and train users about best practices for information security, and stay current on infiltration methods. 

Information systems manager

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $85,230 average base salary (April 2022)

Information systems managers oversee information technology employees, needs, and processes. They create, implement, and manage plays to develop network and desktop technologies. Information systems managers troubleshoot and mitigate problems using their understanding of information security, network administration, and computer hardware and software.

Mobile application developer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $74,800 average base salary (April 2022)

Mobile application developers create apps for smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Mobile application developers master programming languages such as Objective-C, Swift, and Javascript and gain experience with HTML, cloud storage, and wireless networks. They design the look and mechanics of applications — sometimes working alongside UX/UI designers — and address bugs.

SEE: Mobile app development bootcamps

Network systems administrator

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $80,600 annual median salary (May 2021)

Network systems administrators supervise computer and network systems’ daily operations. This may include local area networks, wide area networks, network segments, intranets, or comparable data communication structures. 

Network systems administrators monitor network system users, maintain network system security, and train others to use hardware and software. 

Quality assurance engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $72,230 average base salary (April 2022)

Quality assurance engineers test software to identify bugs and potential security issues. They document their findings, make recommendations to software developers about changes, and continuously run tests to ensure software works. 

Quality assurance engineers need experience with programming languages, software development processes, and security protocols. 

Software engineer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $88,570 average base salary (April 2022)

Software engineers work closely with programmers, designers, and fellow software professionals to map out programming tasks at the micro and macro levels. They prioritize overall software performance. Software engineers know programming and coding alongside processes and practices used throughout the software development process.

Solutions architect

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $121,290 average base salary (April 2022)

Solutions architects help organizations identify and implement hardware and software to meet objectives. Solutions architects test data requirements, find ways to improve existing processes, and design and develop new technical solutions to match goals. 

Web developer

Minimum degree required: Bachelor’s degree
Salary expectations: $77,200 annual median pay (May 2020)

Commonalities exist among software engineer vs. web developer jobs. Both roles require skills in programming languages, software development processes and practices, and computer hardware. One of the main differences between the two is that web developers design, create, and maintain websites, while software engineering jobs include working with many software programs and systems. 

Web developers may focus on the look and feel of a website (the front end), the technical aspects of a website (the back end) or do both as a full-stack developer. 

This article was reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

Monali Mirel Chuatico, a woman with long dark hair, smiles in a headshot.

In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor’s in computer science, which gave her the foundation that she needed to excel in roles such as a data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor.

Monali is currently a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a data analytics captain at a nonprofit called COOP Careers, Monali helps new grads and young professionals overcome underemployment by teaching them data analytics tools and mentoring them on their professional development journey.

Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, advocating for mental health, empowering women, and educating youth. Monali’s goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skill set, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.

Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education freelance review network. 

Last reviewed March 31, 2022.

Unless otherwise noted, salary and job growth data was drawn from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of April 26, 2022.

https://www.zdnet.com/education/computers-tech/software-engineering-degree-jobs/