If you are interested in the tech industry, software engineering is a fast-growing field worth your attention. Essential to the expansion and improvement of modern computers and machinery, these engineers create inventive new systems for use in technology. In addition, they develop apps and websites and work towards bettering the functionality and efficiency of countless programs. This article explores software engineering, the difference between a software engineer and a software or web developer, and how you can begin a career in the field.

Software engineering is the arm of computer science that employs technical knowledge and engineering principles to handle software product design, development, testing, and upkeep across an extensive range of systems. While many of those products are computer programs, software engineers may develop software for mobile devices, like cell phones, tablets, and other systems and machines. In addition, software engineers have a hand in modern automobiles, production machinery, and retail and health infrastructures. As a result, there’s demand for the expertise of software engineers in almost all industries, from your local post office to cutting-edge biotechnology labs.

What does a software engineer do?

Software engineers administer engineering principles and insight into programming languages to produce software solutions for end users. In other words, they can accurately use platforms, architectures, and programming languages (like Python, JavaScript, or C) to develop software used in tech―from video games to phone apps to computer operating systems to network control plans. In addition to constructing their systems, software engineers test, optimize, and maintain software created by other engineers. Additional tasks might include:

  • Appraising and testing new programs

  • Optimizing software for speed

  • Writing and testing code

  • Consulting clients, other engineers, security professionals, and shareholders

  • Demonstrating new features to shareholders and private clients

What is the difference between a software engineer and a software developer?

Both careers hold a firm prospect concerning job growth, demand, and salary. Still, while software engineers and software developers have many characteristic parallels, their tactics in addressing computer science and routine tasks are different. For instance, software engineers are likely to undertake tasks in software development, but software developers do not usually have duties in software engineering. Software developers work through a greater scope of software than a coder or programmer would. Software developers are concerned with the entire cycle of product research, development, testing, and launch. Despite the magnitude of their responsibilities, software developers sometimes go into a particular niche, like mobile application development. 

Generally, persons working in computer programming will alternate the terms software developer and software engineer. Even titles and job posts shift between one and the other.

Is a web developer a software engineer?

Developers and engineers receive different titles at different organizations. Positions overlap in the computer science industry, making the formal job titles inconsequential thanks to the chaos from so many companies using them interchangeably. There are some historical differences between web developers and software engineers, but how do the two roles compare in the modern job market? 

Once upon a time, web development happened by building web pages. But today, a web developer usually writes code for the browser and may even construct APIs accessible through a web protocol. Though they may perform some of the same responsibilities as software engineers, their focus is less on the big-picture cohesion and productivity of operating systems and network platforms than the fleshing out of websites and web applications. And because the tasks assigned to web developers are not as performance-based as emphasizing design and functionality, the programming languages used aren’t always the same, the most common coding language of web developers being HTML and CSS. 
Due to the tasks of web developers not generally being as high-level as those of software engineers, the pay scale for web developers is often lower than an engineer (typically around $68k at entry-level). But depending on their duties and where they work, web developers can exceed $141k in salary at top companies and are predicted to see a 23% growth in job opportunities within the next decade.

Job opportunities in software engineering

Enterprises from small to world-renowned are developing software for consumers, putting software engineers in significant demand on an international scale. The job calls for considerable wages, is known to be stimulating work and therefore touts exemplary job satisfaction, and presents the chance to build and operate state-of-the-art technologies. Moreover, if you’re an analytical thinker who likes puzzling out problems and making digital products more effortless to use, you may find a career as a software engineer worthwhile.

As noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are some quick facts:

  • The average salary for a software engineer in the U.S. is over $110k a year.

  • There’s no prerequisite work experience required.

  • It’s estimated that there will be a 22% increase in job outlook between 2020 and 2030, which is much higher than average.

While college is an option to develop yourself into a successful software engineer, you could elect to educate yourself. Software engineering is unique in that employers often care more about skills than degrees, and being that most of the skills needed are technical, you can attain them through online schooling at home. Of course, the self-instructed route necessitates discipline and structure to guarantee that you learn what you need to secure a full-time job. However, there are many resources to teach yourself computer science essentials online. Take advantage by looking into the comprehensive software engineering bootcamps from the University of Massachusetts Global.

This program is wholly online and go-at-your-own-pace with flexible payment options. Get career advice from seasoned pros in the field, support from a team of 1:1 mentors, build a portfolio, learn programming code such as JavaScript and Python, and so much more.

Build a lucrative and stimulating career as a software engineer by enrolling in the University of Massachusetts Global’s bootcamp today.