Why a career in Software Engineering might be for you
The field of software engineer jobs and IT careers related to software is an interesting one. Facebook, Google, Uber, Microsoft, Netflix and Tinder are all well-known companies that have achieved billion dollar status. Primarily software companies, their success is in part owed to amazing individuals and teams within the field of software engineering.
A sign of the modern times we live in, careers in IT and engineering skills within the field have become very important. As we move deeper into the digital age, we might still see a rise in the demand for skilled IT professionals.
What is software engineering?
Software engineering is a very broad term, but the term is generally used to refer to the process of developing, researching and testing software, compilers, general computer applications and operating systems using formal languages designed to communicate with machines.
As a software engineer you would be expected to code, debug software errors and analyse your employer’s needs and translate those needs into software solutions.
What are the advantages of pursuing a career in software engineering?
There are quite a number of advantages you can expect from pursuing a career in software engineering. Firstly, these IT jobs are challenging and a broad enough field to keep your mind engaged and to ensure that you will never feel stuck as there is always something new to learn.
During the last few decades new formal languages and technologies have emerged such as Ruby on Rails and Twitter Bootstrap. The constant emergence of new technologies ensures that you will always have something to learn.
In addition to this there are numerous sub-fields within software engineer jobs that you can specialise in if you so desire, there are relatively new sub fields such as deep learning and artificial neural networks and older more mature sub fields such as search.
The software engineering field is very broad and you will probably find something that you enjoy and can specialise in.
As a result of the challenging and constantly evolving field of software engineering, work experience is not as valued as it is in most careers.
Having 20 years’ experience working in PHP will not necessarily make you a more desirable and higher paid engineer than an engineer with 4 years’ experience working in IOS development. If anything your pay will be determined by how well you keep up to date with new technologies being used by corporates. This means that, as with all IT jobs and careers, you will always be learning in order to stay relevant. This is a great feature of a career in software engineering for anyone who likes being constantly challenged.
Secondly, in terms of monthly income the software engineer salary is quite impressive. As the demand for software engineers continues to grow we will continue seeing IT careers becoming more and more lucrative.
As a software engineer in South Africa you can expect to earn an average salary of R321 536. This salary goes up once you become a senior software engineer. As soon as you become a senior software engineer you can expect to earn on average an annual salary of R515 340.
As an added benefit, if you choose to pursue a career in the much riskier start-up environment, you can expect to earn a small percentage of the company’s equity which could be a very valuable asset if the start-up can grow into a large company. Of-course this will depend largely on the start-up you decide to work for.
As a third advantage of being a software engineer, careers in IT gives you a skill that can be easily transferable to different countries. You will not have to convert your qualifications when immigrating to another country. This is because software engineering is in high demand and your skill will be highly sought after in any country you decide to immigrate to.
A fourth advantage you can expect to gain as a software engineer is that in general because of the nature of your job you can expect to have a high level of work flexibility.
As a result of this a lot of companies will be willing to let you work from home quite often as this will not impede on your ability to complete your work. The benefit of this is that you will be able to save large amounts of money on transport and you will be able to work from the comfort of your own home.
Not everyone is an office person, the beauty of working as a software engineer is that you will not be required to go to the office every day. Companies will give you more and more work freedom as you gain more experience and prove your value to the company.
An added advantage you can expect from pursuing a career in software engineering is that you will be doing important work that will have a direct impact on a business’ operational success. Your work efforts will contribute greatly to a business’ success. It is a very technical and specialist skill – not many people will be able to do what you can do.
This is one of the main reasons that software engineers are so sought after and can demand large salaries. This is particularly true if you work for a software company whose core business is the software they offer to corporate customers or consumers.
Lastly, another advantage of software engineering that is often ignored is that these careers in IT are one of the few high paying careers where you do not necessarily need to have a degree to get a job as it is a is a very practical career.
Most employers care more about your ability to write good code and work as part of a team as opposed to your academic achievements. The process of learning how to code well does not require tertiary education.
There are a number of online resources that can help you learn how to program and as soon as you learn the basics you can start working on your own projects or on open source projects to prove to potential employers that you know how to put what you have learnt to practical use.