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What is Software Engineering? What Does Software Engineer do?

In this digital age, software engineering has revolutionised the IT industry. They are known for transforming ideas into functional software solutions transcending human imagination. And with everyday technological advancements, software engineers have become more crucial than ever. 

If you need to learn about software engineering and the work scope for professionals post-course completion, you’re at the right place. So let’s get down to the detailed breakdown of the profession and everything you should know about it. 

Introduction to Software Engineering

In brief, software engineering is a systematic process of designing, testing, and deploying software that can solve real-world problems. But what is software development actually, and how does the entire process work?

Software building requires a combined knowledge of computer science and engineering and their application. However, the task of a software engineer doesn’t end here. They continue to build, test and manage software for almost every device, ranging from web applications to networks. 

Some crucial aspects of software engineering are coding, database management, web-development technologies, user experience design, and algorithms. One needs to master all these elements to make a reliable software system that meets the need of users. 

In today’s age, software plays a pivotal role in almost every industry. Thus, one requires extensive knowledge to be a part of such an evolving and expansive field. 

Responsibilities of a Software Engineer

Software engineering is much more vast than it seems, and as a result, professionals have a myriad of responsibilities. The engineer needs to learn all, whether designing, developing, testing, or maintaining the software systems, as they are pivotal to the entire software development cycle. 

To answer the question of “What does a software engineer do?” in brief, here are a few things that they work on. 

Software engineers closely work with analysts and other programmers to design user-friendly systems that can serve the user’s purpose and continue to determine their performance. 

Before developing software, the professionals must collaborate with stakeholders to analyse each requirement. Following this comes the task of planning and designing the software technically. This preparation then comes to reality with coding and implementation. However, the engineer’s work doesn’t end here. Ensuring the software’s reliability is paramount, for which multiple performance tests are conducted regularly. If any errors are identified in the process, then debugging is done. Along with this, continuous maintenance and updates to the software system also come under a software engineer’s job.

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Types of Software Engineers

There are several types of software engineers with expertise in a specific field. Here, we have listed a few prominent ones. 

  • Back-end Software Engineer

These engineers work at the back end, handling databases and focusing on server-side development. For their work, the developers use programming languages like Java, Ruby, or Node.js to ensure the smooth functioning of web applications. 

  • Front-end Software Engineer

These specialised developers work on building user interfaces, making the best use of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and other tools to create the most appealing web or mobile applications.

  • Full-Stack Software Engineer

One with mastery in both back-end and front-end development is a full-stack software developer. They can work on all aspects of the software stack, from user interfaces to server logic and databases. 

And to specialise in this, one can sign up for the Executive PG Programme in Full Stack Development from IIITB by upGrad. This programme focuses on upskilling and career transition with a specialised focus on data structure, algorithms, and projects to boost your CV. Advance your career with industry experts’ mentorship.

  • Machine Learning Engineer

Machine learning engineers work with data sets and integrate them into software applications. They are highly competent in understanding machine learning models and algorithms. 

  • Mobile App Developer 

Software engineers who develop applications for mobile platforms like iOS and Android are known as mobile app developers. Some programming languages they work with are Swift, Kotlin, and React Native.

  • DevOps Engineer

The core task of a DevOps engineer is to ensure the efficiency and reliability of software delivery. Their centre of attention is on continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) 

In-Demand Software Development Skills

Skills Required to Become A Software Engineer

Here is a list of essential skills a software engineer must have to succeed. It will also help understand the pertinent question, ‘What do software engineers do

These skills are advisable both for beginners and professionals working in the field.

  • Good grasp of programming languages

One of the most essential skills of any software engineer is proficiency in multiple programming languages such as Java, Python, C++, and many more. This is essential for anyone thinking of pursuing a career in software engineering. 

  • Web Technologies

Another crucial element is the technology involved in web development. Be it the front-end (HTML, CSS) or back-end (Node.js, Django) developments, an engineer should master as many as possible.

  • Software Testing

As discussed previously, the responsibilities of a software engineer don’t end with building the system but also include its testing. But what is testing in software engineering? In a nutshell, it is a process by which the engineer can evaluate the software application or system for any errors. They should know how to use testing frameworks like JUnit and pytest for this.

  • Debugging

The knowledge of debugging tools and profilers is also vital to detect bugs and fix the performance of software systems. 

  • Version Control

Software engineers should be familiar with Git or other version control systems to manage codebase changes and facilitate collaboration.

  • Database Management

Sound knowledge of database design and SQL queries helps software engineers interact with relational databases efficiently. 

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Software Engineer Salary

Being one of the most in-demand jobs in India and on a global level in 2023, the salary of a software engineer is quite lucrative. The growing industry demand for developers’ skills adds an impetus to their handsome salaries with timely increments and promotions. 

To be precise, the average salary of a software engineer in India is around Rs.5.1 LPA. It can go up to Rs.13 LPA as you gain experience and expertise. The salary also depends on the company you are working for and the role. Top companies hiring software engineers in India include Accenture, Tech Mahindra, TCS, HCL Technologies, Wipro, Capgemini and Cognizant, among many others. 

The salary structure may also vary depending on the industry. The top-paying industries for software engineers in India are internet services, financial services, software products, telecom and IT services and consulting. The salaries in these industries range between Rs.6 LPA to Rs. 14.8 LPA.

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Become a Software Engineer

It’s been almost six decades since Margaret Hamilton coined the term software engineering, and a lot has changed in these sixty years. Especially for software engineers, the path to pursue their dreams is more convenient now. 

Here’s a guide that a software engineering aspirant can follow to achieve their end goals. 

STEP 1: Career Planning

The foremost element to building a successful career is understanding the vast domain you are entering. Thus, an in-depth knowledge of the different spheres of software engineering, such as web development, full-stack development, and machine learning, is essential. Research each role thoroughly to learn which one is most suitable for you. Accordingly, set your goals and work on the necessary skills for your chosen path. 

STEP 2: Educate Yourself Correctly 

Once you have a clear path, the next step is to learn the required skills without getting distracted. And when one aims to pursue a career in software engineering, learning programming languages like Python, Java, and C++ goes without saying.

In addition, a sound understanding of other essential concepts in solving real-world problems is also critical. 

STEP 3: Gain Experience 

Learning about the core subjects and acquiring the required skills is one thing, but applying the knowledge to solving actual problems is another. That is why hands-on experience is quite crucial. For example, one can enrol for bootcamps to help with practice projects. Also, gaining experience through internships, part-time jobs, or working voluntarily for startups is a great way to build an impressive CV.

STEP 4: Build Your Portfolio

After working on different projects, you can create a portfolio showcasing your work. It can be the projects you worked on or the software application you developed. Your portfolio should vividly explain what you can do professionally to the hiring managers. 

Explaining in detail about each project and the tools used in completing it is more advisable

STEP 5: Apply to Your Dream Job Roles

Once you are well-versed in the craft of software engineering and also have some experience working, this is the perfect time to apply to the companies you always aimed to work in. But before that, ensure you have a solid resume displaying all your skills and previous work experience. 

You can apply to companies directly or start networking with industry professionals to help you land a job. 

Conclusion

Software Engineering is a discipline within computer science that involves the creation, design, development, testing, maintenance, and improvement of software systems and applications. Software Engineers play a pivotal role in the technology industry by leveraging their technical expertise to build functional and efficient software solutions that address various needs and challenges. 

Being a job role in great demand across various industries, opting for this career path now can bring a rewarding future for aspirants. The first step towards securing the dream would be registering for an industry-recognised course from a prominent institution. 

The Full Stack Software Development Bootcamp from upGrad is an excellent programme that can uplift your career with outcome-driven learning. The course offers immersive learning, projects and case studies, and a certificate from Golden Gate University post-course completion. With this comes ten times more job opportunities, which will also help you get ahead of your peers. Visit the website today to kickstart your journey!

FAQs

What is reverse engineering?

Reverse engineering is how an engineer analyses a software application or system to learn more about its design, structure, and functionality. In this practice, the professional deconstructs software to understand its internal workings.

How do I become a software engineer?

An aspirant should obtain a bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field to become a software engineer. Learning programming languages like Python, C++, or Java is advisable. Along with this, considering bootcamps or internships to gain real-world experience is a must.

What is SDLC in software engineering?

SDLC refers to the Software Development Lifecycle, a structured approach that guides the development of software applications. It ensures the software's efficiency and meets the required quality standard.

What is agile software development?

Agile software development is a modern approach to managing software development that prioritises adaptability, collaboration, and customer feedback. Methodologies like Scrum and Kanban allow improvement throughout the development process.

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