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Computer Software Engineers, Applications Careers: Employment & Salary Trends for Aspiring Computer Software Engineers, Applications

Computer Software Engineers, Applications at a Glance

Computer software engineers, applications, currently hold the number one spot on the list of America’s Best 500 Jobs Overall. Computer software engineers, applications, design and program system-level software, such as operating systems, database management systems (DBMSs) and embedded systems. Computer software engineers are also called "software engineers," "systems programmers" and "systems engineers."

Computer software engineers, applications, spend most of their time in front of a computer in comfortable office environments or laboratories, while consultants may travel frequently to meet with clients.

Schools to consider:

Employment Trends

Job Outlook: Rapid increase
Annual Openings: 58,690
Percent Growth: 44.6%
Total Jobs Held: 507,000
Projected Employment: 733,000 by 2016
The Best 500 Jobs Overall Ranking: 1

Source: “Best Jobs for the 21st Century,” JIST Publishing 2009. Farr, Michael and Shatkin, Laurence, Ph.D.; “Salary Facts Handbook,” JIST Publishing 2008. Editors @ JIST.
Aspiring computer software engineers, applications can expect a rapid increase in job growth between now and 2016. Employment is projected at 733,000 by 2016, meaning, this career will enjoy one of the largest employment increases of any other career. Networks will continue to grow at a rapid pace, businesses will continue to upgrade to and implement new technologies as competition among businesses continues to grow, and businesses will continue to seek out new ways to increase production and keep privileged information secure. This will create a high demand for skilled computer software engineers in just about every sector.

While companies will continue to outsource jobs to individuals and companies that reside in other countries, this practice won’t affect software engineering much. Unlike software careers, software engineering requires more than basic developing skills. High-level research, development, and inventiveness are required.  

Salary Trends

In 2009, computer software engineers, applications earned an average salary of $83,130 per year. This figure represents a 4% increase over 2008 ($79,780). Computer software engineers, applications in the 90th percentile can expect to earn around $119,770 per year, while 75th percentile computer software engineers, applications can expect to earn $98,470 per year. Entry-level computer software engineers, applications can expect to earn a starting salary of around $49,350 per year.

Degrees and Training Programs

It is very unlikely that an employer will hire an aspiring computer software engineer (applications) without a bachelor’s degree or higher. 80% of all computer software engineers (applications) hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Most aspiring computer software engineers will obtain a degree in computer science or software engineering and they will also complete one or several internships before graduating.

Many aspiring computer software engineers may obtain certification in one or more different types of software systems, but this is not always necessary. Technology changes so rapidly that by the time certification is obtained, the program may already be on its way out in favor of a more advanced version. In general, continuing education is key and most computer software engineers will learn new programs on a regular basis throughout the life of their career.

Coursework Required

It should come as no surprise that aspiring computer software engineers, applications, are excellent in math. Students can expect to take calculus, physics, applied statistics, algorithms & data structures, and differential equations as well as chemistry, electrical science, software engineering, operating systems, software systems, software design, database systems, digital design, and linear circuits. Computer architecture, computer networks, program verification, and economics are also major course requirements.

Did you know that in addition to software applications the Bureau of Labor statistics estimates that 6 of the 20 most rapidly growing jobs between 2004 and 2014 will be in high-end software work, systems engineering, data-communications analysis and administration, and network systems?