In Summary - Software Engineer
Software Engineers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Software Engineer
Computer software engineers traditionally work on the most complex types of software, including operating systems, while analyst/applications programmers work on software used to carry out business activities, such as managing a payroll. However, these career titles are becoming increasingly used to describe both types of work.
Software engineers are involved in all stages in the development of a software product. They apply software technology to meet a defined need or solve a particular problem. This could involve analysing an existing system, designing a new system or investigating new technologies.
Software engineers tend to work for: IT firms or consultancies; major IT users, organisations that harness, create or use IT, such as banks, retailers, manufacturers, telecommunications companies, the armed forces the public sector and voluntary organisations.
At the start of a project, software engineers have to develop their knowledge of the client's business and their particular needs and problems.
You will also be working closely with other staff/project managers, systems analysts and sales and marketing professionals.
Next, they work with their clients to agree on important issues such as the hardware and software they need, costs and deadlines, as well as setting out a specification of what the finished software product should be.
Software engineers (usually working in a team on larger programs) will then begin to write the program or programs. They will then test the program for bugs (faults), correcting any problems that they find.
Software engineers may train their clients to use the new program or system. They are also likely to train other people who need to know how to support and maintain the system, for example, computer service technicians and support services engineers.
Computer software engineers may write instructions or manuals to go with the software they have developed.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Design test plans, scenarios, scripts, or procedures.
- Test system modifications to prepare for implementation.
- Develop testing programs that address areas such as database impacts, software scenarios, regression testing, negative testing, error or bug retests, or usability.
- Document software defects, using a bug tracking system, and report defects to software developers.
- Identify, analyze, and document problems with program function, output, online screen, or content.
- Monitor bug resolution efforts and track successes.
- Create or maintain databases of known test defects.
- Plan test schedules or strategies in accordance with project scope or delivery dates.
- Participate in product design reviews to provide input on functional requirements, product designs, schedules, or potential problems.
- Review software documentation to ensure technical accuracy, compliance, or completeness, or to mitigate risks.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Interests - Software Engineer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
Attention to detail and commitment to seeing projects through from start to finish are vital qualities. You must enjoy solving problems and have a logical, analytical and methodical approach to your work.
A high aptitude for computers is also required. Computer software engineers need a high level of technical expertise. You must be willing to keep up-to-date with advances in technology, both in hardware and software.
Computer software engineers also need excellent interpersonal skills to work in teams and to communicate well with clients. You will usually need good written skills to present proposals and reports to clients and to write instructions and manuals for the programs. Strong communication skills are also needed to train clients in how to use new programs.
You must have a good understanding of the nature of your client's business activities and their information technology needs.
As well as working in teams, software engineers must be able to work independently. Software engineers often work to deadlines, so you must be well organised and able to work well under pressure.
Entry Requirements - Software Engineer
Most Software Engineers have a degree in Software Engineering, Electronics or Computer Science. Some people have postgraduate qualifications in computing, in which case their first degree may not be in a computing subject area.
Relevant degree courses are available from most of the Universities, Institutes of Technology, VECs and private colleges. SOLAS also provides Programming Courses [See course list available on this page].
Computing professionals can gain Chartered Engineer or Associate Engineer status through Engineers Ireland after first gaining an accredited degree, diploma or certificate, followed by three or four years experience in the workplace.
All professional titles are highly regarded by employers throughout industry.
Last Updated: October, 2014
Pay & Salary - Software Engineer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 23k - 74k
Senior Software Engineer: 45 - 74
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Software Engineer
As with programmers, the labour market indicators examined point to an occupation in high demand with strong employment growth and evidence that employers are having difficulties filling vacancies.
National Skills Bulletin 2018
Useful Contacts - Software Engineer
ICS - The Society for Chartered IT Professionals in Ireland
Irish Software Association
- Discover Science & Engineering, Wilton Park House, Wilton Place, Dublin, 2
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