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Best Jobs for Software Engineers – Entry-Level to Experienced

best jobs for software engineers

Software engineering plays a vital role in digital and technological advancement. Do you want to know the best jobs for software engineers? This detailed article expands on the following topics: who is a software engineer, how to start a career in a software engineering field, and the list of the highest-paying software jobs.

Almost all of the systems used in our daily lives come from software engineers. Network systems, mobile apps, robots, and operating systems are the work of these computer science professionals. As technology continues to transform our lives and enhance security, it equally improves the earning potential of developers and software engineers. This technology field is highly rewarding. It offers job security, great pay, fulfilling work, and excellent career progression. With the proper academic degree or certifications, students can be sure of high-paying and fruitful careers.

According to the BLS, the employment of software engineers will grow to 22% within the next eight years. This number is much higher than the average for all occupations. Depending on the role and organization you choose to work for, a bachelor’s or master’s degree will be required to merit the respective positions.

Read on to find out more!

What is Software Engineering?

In a real sense, software engineers identify user needs and then design and test consumer applications to meet those needs using software programming languages. Software engineers put the never-ending technological developments into the hands of users.

The demand for software development also emerged to address the high rate of change in user requirements and the environment in which the software application is supposed to be operating. A good software engineer ensures that the application is built accurately, on time, cost-effective, and within requirements. A student of software engineering studies to gain in-depth knowledge of the following:

  • Software systems
  • Databases
  • Information systems
  • Software design
  • Programming languages

These engineers’ computer software has become part of our daily lives. Engineers invented the software that allowed Uber and Lyft to disrupt transportation. They also created the software that keeps us on our smartphones for hours a day, learning everything from the weather forecast to playing Wordle.

Who Is a Software Engineer?

A software engineer applies systematic methods and engineering principles to develop software products and operating data for computers. They usually work in teams developing platforms, applications, and programs.

How to Enter the Software Engineering Field

Numerous career options exist in the software sector. If you have decided to pursue a career in the software industry, it is imperative to follow a proven path to success in the field. In this guide, we have highlighted the necessary steps to enter the software field:

Step 1. Earn a Software Engineering Degree

The first step is to have a robust educational background. A potential employer will want to see this in your resume. Some organizations might require you to obtain a bachelor’s or master’s degree.

Step 2. Gain Relevant Skills

You can earn additional software certification online to boost your experience profile. If you don’t have valuable experience with agile methodologies for software application development, you must learn it. Most software engineering teams utilize agile approaches, e.g., Scrum, during development.

Step 3. Go for an Internship

Whether you are in college or a graduate, it is beneficial for you to opt for an internship, as this provides hands-on experience.

Step 4. Advance your programming skills

According to a famous quote—No one is an island. As you progress further in this field, you should learn other relevant programming languages such as Java, PHP, Python, C++, etc. Each language has its benefits and challenges, offering options for various programming needs.

Step 5. Apply for Entry-level positions

As an entry-level graduate, you will work more with senior software engineers to carry-out routine tasks, update programs, etc.

The Skills of Software Engineering Majors

You must have excellent soft and technical skills to remain valuable as a software engineer. The skills you acquire and master mainly depends on your area of expertise. As different application platforms and programming languages are being introduced to the market regularly, building your skills has two significant benefits:

  • With technical skills, you can apply your programming expertise to develop, design, and test software while using your soft skills to interact effectively with team members.
  • Most employers will always prefer an applicant who possesses a more robust skillset.

Having said that, here are the technical skills that employers look for in a software engineer:

  • Software testing skills
  • Database skills
  • Cross-platform software skills
  • Encryption and cryptography skills
  • Computer networking skills
  • Data structures and algorithms
  • Object-oriented design (OOD) skills
  • Programming language skills

Employers are now looking for candidates who can play a part in fostering workplace productivity. Thus, in addition to technical skills, software developers should possess the following soft skills:

  • Multitasking skills
  • Communication skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Teamwork skills
  • Problem-solving skills

Most Lucrative Entry-Level Jobs for Software Engineering Majors

To rank the highest-paying software engineering jobs, we relied on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and PayScale.com. The first criteria examined was salary, which PayScale computed as an average (median) salary based on 2022 job data. According to BLS, the median annual pay for computer and information technology occupations was $97,430.

The next parameter examined was the estimated job growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the projected employment growth between 2020 and 2030 to be 7.7% within the next eight years.

The final criteria examined were the educational requirements. And the minimum academic requirement for most software companies is a bachelor’s degree. It is imperative to know that, for freelancers, obtaining a traditional degree is not compulsory because other relevant and accepted certifications can take the place of a degree.

Backend Engineer

Average Salary: $67,047
Education: Bachelor’s degree

Backend engineers, also known as backend developers, are software professionals responsible for writing backend codes and APIs used by mobile applications and frontend developers. They maintain and test current backends elements to ensure they are as fast and efficient as possible. Before deploying the application (web, mobile, or desktop), they perform a scalability test to determine whether the developed application will still function when hit by heavy loads or user traffic.

From PayScale.com data, an entry-level Back End Developer/ Engineer with less than 1-year experience makes an average of $67,407. Candidates with 1-4 years of experience earn an average of $80,275 per year. You need a bachelor’s degree for this role. For those that don’t have a degree, certifications in either PHP, Ruby, or Python, are acceptable for the position.

Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Engineer

Average Salary: $63,767
Education: Bachelor’s degree

SQA engineers use their coding skills to evaluate and test computer programs to measure the quality of software applications, updates, repairs, etc., before being delivered to the client. They help software developers enhance product performance by ensuring the built software meets specifications and standards.

Based on PayScale statistics, an entry-level software quality assurance (SQA) engineer with less than 1-year experience can earn an average of $63,767 per annum. Software Quality Assurance engineers with 1-4 years of experience make an average of $69,539, while those in the top 10% earn $93,830. SQA positions require a bachelor’s in either software engineering, information technology, or a relevant degree.

Software Project Manager

Average Salary: $62,829
Education: Bachelor’s degree

Software project managers use their robust experience in sequencing, scheduling, resource allocation, etc., to lead software development projects to completion on time. Also known as the Scrum Master, they focus on the success of the Scrum team. Leveraging their management experience, they can understand and interpret client needs to deliver an efficient product.

According to PayScale, the average salary for an entry-level software project manager with less than one year of experience is $62,829 per year. In contrast, those with 5-9 years of experience make an average salary of $91,189. This position requires a bachelor’s degree in software development management, software engineering, information technology, or a similar field.

Video Game Engineer

Average Salary: $54,045
Education: Bachelor’s degree

Video game engineers work for various computer gaming companies to offer solutions in designing and testing video games. A video game engineer is a software developer that carries out the visual and functional programming aspects in any phase of the game design process. They are in charge of the artificial intelligence process that controls the motions of the characters in the game.

According to PayScale Metrics, an entry-level video game engineer with less than 1-year experience earns a median salary of $54,045. Experienced game engineers with 1-4 years of work make an average of $64,846 per annum. A bachelor’s degree in software engineering, game design, or computer science is required to become a video game engineer.

The 10 Highest Paying Software Engineering Jobs

1. Blockchain Engineer

Average Salary: $113,000
Education: Bachelor’s degree

A blockchain engineer is a software engineer that performs the designing, operating, developing, analyzing, implementing, and supporting of a distributed blockchain network. In industry, blockchain engineers help create and maintain decentralized digital databases. These databases, also known as blockchains, record and share information transparently, securely, and without constraints.

A blockchain engineer makes a median salary of $113,000, according to PayScale metrics, making it the most lucrative software engineering profession. A bachelor’s degree in software engineering or any related field is required for this position.

2. Computer Vision Engineer

Average Salary: $95,000
Education: Bachelor’s degree

A computer vision (CV) engineer, or a machine vision engineer, deploys software for developing and implementing computer systems programs. These programs can interpret videos, images, and different forms of data. Barcode scanners and QR code generators are modern examples of tools employing computer vision techniques. Computer vision engineers primarily work with image processing and artificial intelligence technologies.

Based on the data obtained from PayScale, an entry-level computer vision engineer with less than 1-year experience makes an average of $95,000 per annum. In contrast, CV engineers with 5-9 years of experience earn an average of $133,887. A bachelor’s degree in software engineering, computer science, or any related field is required to apply for jobs in this field. Additional knowledge of programming languages like Python, and C++, will be an added advantage.

3. Machine Learning Engineer

Average Salary: $94,771
Education: Bachelor’s degree

Machine learning engineering is the application of software engineering methodologies with analytical and data science knowledge to make a machine learning model usable by a piece of software or humans. In a nutshell, a machine learning engineer is an IT professional who focuses on building, researching, and designing self-running artificial intelligence (AI) systems to automate predictive models.

According to PayScale, an entry-level machine learning engineer with less than 1-year experience makes an average of $94,771. In contrast, an early career machine learning engineer with 1-4 years of experience earns an average of $111,802 per annum. You will need at least a bachelor’s degree to land this software engineer job.

4. Cloud Engineer

Average Salary: $91,409
Education: Bachelor’s degree

Cloud engineers are IT professionals who work to resolve the problems resulting from the complexities of the ever-expanding cloud work environment. They are responsible for managing, planning, designing, and monitoring cloud-based systems. In an organizational setting, they educate the tech team on implementing new cloud technologies, processes, and initiatives.

Professionals in this field can expect to make a median salary of $91,409 per annum, according to PayScale. A bachelor’s degree in software engineering or certifications in a relevant field is required.

5. Software Architect

Average Salary: $85,672
Education: Bachelor’s degree

A software architect is a specialized developer responsible for creating high-level user interfaces, designing, and implementing programs, followed by debugging and ensuring that the software operates accurately in all aspects. They stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the field and ensure that the software produced meets technical (coding) standards.

From PayScale metrics, an entry-level software architect with less than 1-year experience can expect to make an average of $85,672. In contrast, an early career software architect with 1-4 years of experience earns an average of $103,422 per annum. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field is generally required to qualify as a software architect. And to advance further, one can pursue a master’s degree.

6. Full Stack Software Developer

Average Salary: $79,650
Education: Bachelor’s degree

When you use a web or mobile application, who do you think is responsible for the entire development? I am confident you would immediately think of an app developer. In reality, you are partially correct. The full stack developer is a software professional who builds full-fledged applications and is responsible for creating an application from its start to completion. During the development process, he designs the front end (client-side) and the backend (server-side) of an application while ensuring its reliability, efficiency, etc.

The median salary of a full stack software engineer is $79,650, according to PayScale. The minimum academic requirement for this position is a bachelor’s degree in either software engineering, application development, or certifications in any relevant field.

7. DevOps Engineer

Average Salary: $75,002
Education: Bachelor’s degree

By utilizing the expertise of a development operations (DevOps) engineer, organizations can release small features very quickly and integrate the feedback which they receive very rapidly. Technically, a DevOps engineer is a software specialist who incorporates various practices and processes to balance the requirements throughout the software development lifecycle. The procedures speed up the testing and release of software for public use. In a nutshell, they facilitate the ease of continuous rollout of software updates.

For this job role, an entry-level DevOps Engineer with less than 1-year of experience earns an average of $75,002. In contrast, an early career DevOps engineer with 1 to 4 years of experience makes an average of $89,083 annually, according to PayScale. The minimum academic requirement for this position is a bachelor’s degree in software engineering or certifications in any related field.

8. Data Security Engineer

Average Salary: $73,335
Education: Bachelor’s degree

Data security engineers, also known as IT security engineers, maintain, implement, upgrade, and oversee security systems and networks. Their work protects an organization’s sensitive data. They are part of the information technology team in any organization. They work directly with other departments to detect and fix any security threats (glitches) due to security loopholes in the system.

Available information on PayScale shows that entry-level data security (cyber security) engineers make $73,335 yearly. In contrast, experienced security engineers with 10 to 19 years of experience earn $117,774 annually. To have a higher chance of being employed, you must obtain a bachelor’s degree in data security, software engineering, or any relevant field.

9. Android Engineer

Average Salary: $71,960
Education: Bachelor’s degree

An Android developer specializes in designing software applications for mobile devices such as tablets and mobile phones, which run on the Android operating system. The development process of an Android application involves programming the software code, integrating backend services, and testing the complete application on a series of mobile device types.

From PayScale statistics, an entry-level Android software developer with less than 1-year experience can expect to earn an average of $71,960. Developers with 1 to 4 years of experience make an average of $87,027 per annum. A bachelor’s degree in software engineering is required for this position. For freelance engineers, certifications can be tendered instead of a traditional degree.

10. iOS Engineer

Average Salary: $71,081
Education: Bachelor’s degree

An iOS engineer builds (develops) and designs mobile applications for mobile devices running on Apple’s iOS operating system. During the software development process, the iOS developer analyzes customer needs, creates programs, writes code, documents and tests the final design before releasing it to end-users.

An entry-level iOS developer with less than 1-year experience can expect to make an average of $71,081 yearly. In contrast, an early career iOS engineer with 1-4 years of experience earns $87,416. The minimum educational requirement for this job role is a bachelor’s degree. Certifications in Objective C or Swift Programming are required.

Selling Your Skills as a Software Engineering Student

The big question is this: How do you persuade employers to hire you after you have obtained the necessary software engineering certification or degree? Companies are looking for candidates who will be a good fit for their organizational culture and ethics. As an aspiring software engineer, demonstrating your ability to solve problems, collaborate, and communicate effectively with others is a critical piece of the puzzle.

To land your dream job much quicker, the proven method is to have a portfolio of projects to show prospective employers. If you can demonstrate your abilities, it will go a long way toward convincing hiring managers that you have the necessary skills. Furthermore, having a professional and well-organized GitHub profile is essential.

To gain relevant experience in your spare time, you can join code camps as a student member. This gives you access to networking opportunities, mentoring, and the latest industry information.

Best Companies to Work for as a Software Engineer

Suppose you are looking for the best companies for entry-level software engineers. In that case, it is important to understand that your mastery of relevant programming packages will distinguish you from other candidates. To help you further, we have collated lists of some valuable companies suited for this role. And they are:

  • Apple
  • IBM
  • Accenture
  • Oracle Corporation
  • Cisco
  • Capital One
  • Dell Technologies
  • Microsoft
  • Motorola Solutions
  • Google

Launch Your Success with an Online Software Engineering Degree

Having read this article, are you ready to take a step further in your career? If your answer is YES, the sky is not just your limit but a starting point to your success. Follow your instincts, learn what suits you best, and adhere to the guidelines in this article. For more insightful articles on the best jobs for software engineers available, visit our resource center.

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