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Computer Software Engineer

Career Overview

Computer software engineers take the concept for a software program through its initial development phase.  They utilize mathematical knowledge and the tools of computer science to design a program, defining it to the point that a computer programmer can begin writing code.  A software engineer may work with a network expert or a database manager in defining tasks for a new or updated software program.

The job of software engineer can change along with the rapid pace of technology advances.  Some software engineers specialize in areas such as video games, business applications, customer service software, or networking.  Computer software engineers will also consult with businesses seeking a unique software function that needs to be built on a custom basis.


Today most employers expect software engineering applicants to have a bachelors degree in computer science, software engineering or a related field; sometimes experience with or knowledge of computer systems design or information systems.  Continuing education is also part of this career choice, as software engineers must keep abreast of new hardware and systems development.

Current Employment

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that 857,000 software engineers were employed in 2006.  Their estimate divides the category into computer applications software engineers (507,000 employed) and computer systems software engineers (350,000 employed).

Job Outlook

This profession is projected to be one of the fastest growing job classifications in the country over the decade 2006 - 2016.  Computer software engineer opportunities are expected to grow by 38%.

Salary Range

Lowest 10% $25.04 $52,090
Median Salary $39.97 $83,130
Highest 10% $60.22 $125,260

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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