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Software engineer jobs are some of the most coveted careers in the US. The salary is great and has the added benefit of choosing to work-from-home. 

To land a software engineering job, you need to have both hard and soft skills as it is a hallmark prerequisite of this field to balance both technical and interpersonal knowledge and capabilities. 

The good news is, that’s exactly what this guide tackles! Read on ahead to learn what foundational skills are needed to become a software engineer. You can also head on over to our candidate services page for more details about basic skills and other intern roles software engineer jobs

Entry Level Software Engineer

With the right skillset, entry-level software engineer jobs are easy to land. Junior workers perform software engineer intern roles or low level duties under the supervision of middle-level and senior engineers to hone their skills. According to Indeed, the average entry-level software engineer salary is about $79,337 per year.

A junior software engineer performs software development, testing, debugging, and coding tasks. Some companies will give specific roles to these entry-level engineers. The most common positions for junior engineers are:

Front-end engineers: If you work as a front-end web developer, you’ll only focus on the user end of any application, website, or software. You’ll also need to possess user experience graphic skills.

Back-end engineers: Back-end developers only work behind the scenes. As a back-end engineer, you’ll work on the architecture, algorithms, and codes to make the system work efficiently for the end-user.

Full-stack engineers: Full stack engineers are the cream of software engineering. You have the skills to work on both the front and back ends of any application. With full-stack development skills, you can develop, code, or debug any system from the user end or the back end.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference between a software engineer vs a software developer?

Yes, there is a slight difference between the two roles. An engineer develops the systems (infrastructure) using engineering techniques that a developer uses to develop software. A developer mainly uses ready tools to create functional software. 

What are the duties of a software engineer?

Software engineer jobs are primarily into developing software, evaluating, writing code, debugging software, and updating existing systems. However, the roles may vary depending on the job description. Our article on “Top Software Jobs” tackles the duties and career opportunities of software engineers in more depth! 

Do software engineers use Math?

To get software engineer jobs, you don’t need to learn high-level math or perform complicated calculations.  However, you’ll need fundamental problem-solving and counting skills to thrive in this career.

How might an individual progress from the entry-level position of a software engineer?

In addition to fulfilling software engineer intern roles for your initial experience, you then progress to becoming a junior level engineer, followed by mid-level, and finally, a senior-level position. This is the common path software engineers take as they gain experience which will only get more challenging the further you go.

Is it hard to get entry-level software engineer jobs?

Yes, it might be challenging to land your first job because you most likely don’t have a strong network to help you with the job search as a fresh graduate. 

The best place to start is by applying for software engineer intern roles. Through them, you’ll gain experience and also network with other more skilled engineers. 

Basic Skills needed to be a Software Engineer

Before you read the list of skills below, we recommend you take time to read our article on “How to Stay Up to Date on IT skills” so you can integrate and retain what you need to work on!

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Hard Skills

Computer programming and coding: When applying for jobs, you’ll realize that different firms will look for employees with coding skills as well as a mastery of different programming languages. Some of the most common languages include Python, C#, C++, JavaScript, Java, and HTML. Additionally, our article on “IT skills” might provide you with a better insight of what to expect for jobs in this field. 

Data Structure and Algorithms: Data structure and algorithms are vital to learn if you want to get into the field. Common data structures and algorithms include trees, arrays, and linked lists. Learning these will help you keep your codes clean, your data organized, and give the user the best experience. 

Databases: Once you land a job, you’ll most likely need to store, update, or modify company records. This is where knowledge of databases will come in handy. SQL is the database standard acceptable in most organizations. You’ll need to interact with different SQL queries to master this skill.

Encryption: As a software engineer, you’ll need encryption skills to protect applications, software, and websites from getting hacked. Users tend to use programs that have end-to-end encryption because that is the only way they are assured of the safety of their data.

Cross-platform Software Development: A cross-platform software development skill is one of the most sought-after skills by employers. Developing software that performs on different platforms such as Windows, iOS, Mac, and Linux is a cost-saver for most tech companies.

Understanding of the Networking Layer: Almost all projects require a networking layer to connect the end-user to the servers. You’ll need to know how to fuse the hardware and software aspects to develop seamless products. Missing any networking protocols will render the software useless because it will not direct users to the correct gateways.

Software Life Cycle: Software engineer jobs such as this need to be conversant with the software development life cycle (SDLC). There are vital steps to follow to determine the lifecycle of any software. Here is a basic breakdown of the SDLC. 

  • Project analysis
  • Feasibility tests
  • Design
  • Coding
  • Testing
  • Deployment to end-user
  • Maintenance
  • Improvement

Soft Skills

Other than the above hard skills, software engineers need to have these soft skills to fit in the job market.

Communication skills: You’ll need to explain different processes to fellow developers or other users in the company. For this, you’ll need to be a good communicator.

Problem-solving skills: When troubleshooting or debugging systems, problem-solving skills are necessary. You will need to be a fast thinker; otherwise, other aspects of the business may come to a standstill.

Keen to Details: Software engineering involves following specific protocols to the dot. Missing a crucial step could render your project useless. As a software engineer, you’ll need to be keen on details.

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