What does a Software Engineer do?

Software engineers use technology and creative problem-solving techniques to create and construct a range of programs from games to word processors that cater to our personal and commercial needs. With the rise of computer dependence, the demand for competent coders in New Zealand is increasing without signs of stopping. 

Software Engineers design new programs and enhance existing ones by analysing user needs; researching functions and procedures to ensure that software satisfies end-user demands. This also includes defining, creating, and testing the program. 

Software Engineer job responsibilities include: 

  • Work with other engineers and developers to establish requirements and create components, utilising methods such as whiteboarding and sketching
  • Create software applications that meet the demands of a varied user community 
  • Investigate computer system or component issues to discover flaws
  • Examine program logic for any mistakes
  • Testing and debugging
  • Assist with the development, maintenance, and troubleshooting of software by offering advice to other engineers, programmers, quality assurance specialists, or users
  • Creating specifications for computer software or hardware
  • Organising operational details for various computer systems
  • Creating technical drawings of engineering designs
  • Assisting in determining project feasibility 
Software Engineers tend to focus on certain study areas, such as system software, programming tools, web development, database design, or data management.

Software Engineers work for a variety of businesses, including:

  • Computer systems design and related services firms
  • Software publishers
  • Finance
  • Insurance
  • Real estate companies
  • Management consulting firms
  • Healthcare organisations
  • Schools and universities.   

What are the requirements to become a Software Engineer?

To be considered for a job as a Software Engineer, you must have strong programming abilities. Beyond being fluent in C++, Java, Python, Javascript, PHP, or similar languages, it's also necessary to show that you can design and construct something from scratch. What type of programming projects you'll have access to will differ based on your employer, but they might include creating a game or developing software for an e-commerce site. 

The ability to predict how customers will use a system and take that into account is also required of Software Engineers. They should be able to collaborate with other engineers, QA specialists, and users who can provide information about how the system functions in real situations.

What technology does a Software Engineer use?

Depending on the type of projects they are working on, Software Engineers employ a variety of tools, including: 

  • Operating systems like Windows, OS X and Linux for developing hardware and software applications
  • Programming languages like C++, Visual Basic, Java, Python or others depending on the needs of the project
  • HTML; SQL; Javascript; CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) for creating webpages
  • Integrated development environments (IDEs)
  • Version control systems like Git, Mercurial and Subversion for tracking changes in project files and folders
  • Source code management (SCM) repositories like Github and Bitbucket that help you manage your source code
  • Data mining tools to assist with complex data analysis projects 
Cloud computing tools, such as application programming interfaces (APIs), are frequently utilised by Software Engineers to connect data from various sources, including third-party elements to their applications or features they require and create new components utilising existing web services. 

What's in a Software Engineer's job description?

The job description for a Software Engineer can vary significantly depending on the organisation that's recruiting the role, what technology they use, and their project goals. 

The duties and responsibilities included in a typical Software Engineer job description include: 

  • Design software applications and programs to meet the needs of users
  • Creating software that directly influences how users interact with their devices or digital media
  • Using languages tailored to a specific platform (e.g., Objective-C for Apple iOS)
  • Keeping track of existing software programs and resolving problems
  • Technical writing to assist Software Engineers or computer system users with the technical development of other applications
  • Providing support for existing application software through updates and patches
  • Based on user comments, providing ideas for enhancing application features 

The hard and soft skills required in a standard Software Engineer job description include: 

  • Strong knowledge of programming languages + design and development tools
  • Understanding of the software development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Knowledge of software application development tools and operating systems
  • An understanding of the most recent programming methods and cutting-edge technological advances that are relevant to the project being worked on
  • Collaborative team working skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Methodical approach to problem-solving
  • Self-motivation and the ability to complete tasks without constant supervision
  • Strong interpersonal skills for communicating with fellow employees and clients 

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