A decade ago, software was relegated to a back office server room, maintained by IT teams. Over time, the internet has caused the evolution of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, and other digital mediums, including e-commerce, social, and phone apps. What that’s meant for Software Engineers is that they are no longer sent to the office building’s annex with Toby Flenderson, but instead are at the forefront of business.
Software Engineers are the experts behind the tools we use every day. They design, write, edit, and test computer programs. There was a Software Engineer (or two) behind the website you’re looking at right now.
As you might imagine, that makes the demand for these professionals very high.
Software Engineer Skills Needed
A Software Engineer must be simultaneously meticulous and creative. They must have a strongly focused attention to detail because computer coding is all about learning, reading, and writing in a different language. One little bracket or dash that’s out of alignment could break the code and cause the computer software to fail. So, they must have a very precise way of solving problems.
On the flip side, problems can be solved in all kinds of ways, so Programmers must also be creatively elegant in writing code that gets the computer to perform properly.
Because there are dozens of languages, frameworks, and tools, Software Engineers often specialize in applications, databases, operating systems, or networks. They may specialize in cybersecurity. They may also have skills in both computer hardware and software.
A good Software Engineer must have the following skills:
- A patient and meticulous attention to detail
- Creative persistence for solving problems
- Flexibility in the face of obstacles
- Intellectual curiosity
- High Intelligence
- A desire to learn new things
- Great reading comprehension and retention
- Good short- and long-term memory
- Skills as a troubleshooter and problem solver
- Enjoyment solving detailed mathematical problems
- Collaborating with other programmers, project managers, and end-users
- Solid communication and documentation skills
- Data analytics skills; able to spot patterns in data
- A keen interest in technology and science
- A desire to improve their skills
The Software Engineer works in a constant environment of performance improvement. That’s because the technology is always evolving, the languages are changing, and new breakthroughs are happening at the speed of the Internet. This means the Software Engineer must be willing and able to learn new things all the time.
Suggested Software Proficiency
Software Engineering uses programming languages to teach computers what to do. But each piece of software has multiple layers:
- The front-end where users interface with the software program
- The middle layer where Application Program Interfaces (APIs) link programs together
- And the back-end that connects to a database of information
Each of these layers has different frameworks and languages that the software engineer must be able to read and write. They usually know a methodology such as Agile, which is a framework for organizing large projects with lots of moving parts.
The software proficiency of these professionals varies depending on the projects they work on. Let’s say that the goal is to create a customized website for a company. Here are some of the programming languages and frameworks the Software Engineer should probably know:
- They may use a wireframing program to create a prototype for the website, and there are a handful on the market
- On the front-end of the website design, the Software Engineer may also need to know HTML or CSS to stylize the graphics on the website – or something else
- The website may need to connect to a database, so the Software Engineer may need to know something about MySQL or PostgreSQL or MongoDB — or something else
But what if the product the Software Engineer is building is a phone app? In this case, there would be an entirely new set of tools to use. For example, DZone says Object-C and Swift, C++, or HTML5 may be good programs to know. But keep in mind that programming for Android is different from iOS.
To make you even more confused, there are still legacy software applications out there that use older programming languages such as COBOL. Federal and state governments are full of platforms that are decades old — and they always need help maintaining them. Check out this article to see 10 of the oldest software applications in government today.
Software Engineering is a complex field with a lot of tools to potentially learn. When looking for a Software Engineer, we generally start with what application they’ll be working on and then work our way backward to figure out what software proficiency they should have.
Find Your Software Engineer Here
Despite the high demand for Software Engineers, we know people. Artisan Talent can help you find the perfect match. Contact us to discuss how Artisan’s creative employment team can help find you find the Software Engineer with just the right mix of skills for your next project. (click here to find talent).
If you’re a Software Engineer looking for greener pastures, we should talk. View our creative employment agency’s list of available opportunities or submit your resume (click here to find jobs).