- The job: Software engineers can be involved in the design and development of many types of software, including computer games, word-processing and business applications, operating systems and network distribution, and compilers, which convert programs to machine language for execution on a computer. Computer software engineers begin by analyzing users' needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs. During this process, they create the detailed sets of instructions called algorithms that tell the computer what to do.
- Outlook: Employment of computer software engineers is projected to increase by 38 percent over the 2006 to 2016 period, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. This occupation will generate about 324,000 new jobs over the projection decade, one of the largest employment increases of any occupation.
- Experience: Most employers prefer applicants who have at least a bachelor's degree and broad knowledge of, and experience with, a variety of computer systems and technologies. The usual college major for applications software engineers is computer science or software engineering. Graduate degrees are preferred for some of the more complex jobs.
- The not-so-good: Like other workers who spend long hours typing at a computer, software engineers are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Pay: In May 2006, median annual wage and salary earnings of computer applications software engineers were $79,780. In May 2006, median annual wage and salary earnings of computer systems software engineers were $85,370.
Learn more: http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos267.htm
This information is from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.