Graduate Careers Advice

Graduate Software Engineering Careers

James Thornhill

Few types of engineering have as big an impact on our changing world as software engineers.

Computers are now central to our lives. Software engineers have their fingers on the pulse of trends in computing. They use their engineering skills to recognise needs and write programmes that not only fill the hole, but are also easy for people to use. Changing with the times is part of a normal day for a software engineer because new technology keeps coming out, so it's important that you keep an open mind about what sort of programmes you're involved with.

The software engineering industry will probably be completely different between when you start as a new software engineer to five years down the road, and if you're going to be successful, you need to adapt with it.

Software development/systems development is detailed, analytical work that requires more than just being good at writing code.

You'll usually have a team of people that you work with, so you'll need to rely on them just as much as they'll need to rely on you to meet a deadline or solve a problem. Hours are fairly regular unless there's a problem to sort out, which may mean staying late in order to satisfy a client's requirements.

This is also an area of work where increasingly you can develop key skills at home and get a head start on a career – if you build websites, make apps, or code anything you are developing skills that could open the door to a top software engineering job.

How much can I earn as a Software Engineer?                                                                      

Starting salaries for graduates are usually between £22,000 and £26,000 a year, with experienced software engineers being able to earn between £28,000 and £45,000.

People in management positions can earn over £50,000 a year.

This varies depending on the type of job and company.

What Qualifications do I Need to be a Software Engineer?

To work in software engineering you will need to acquire a HNC/HND, foundation degree or degree in relevant engineering subject.

After a Bachelors Degree

Postgraduate study is not essential to enter into software engineering industry but a masters qualification can help further your career. There are many reputable universities who offer postgraduate courses in nuclear subjects.

If you took a none software specific degree subject it is also possible to study for a IT conversion qualification, although this is also not essential.

Graduate training schemes are available with many employers straight after your bachelors degree. For entry onto one of these schemes usually requires a degree at 2:2 class or above, in a relevant technical or scientific subject.

What Skills Do I Need to be a Software Engineer?

Different roles within the software engineering field will require slightly different specialist skills but in general you will need these skills to succeed:

  • Knowledge of software and programming languages
  • Planning and organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • Teamwork
  • Leadership
  • Self motivation

What Experience Do I Need to Get a Job in Software Engineering?

Formal work experience is not essential to enter into this field, but with the easy access to computing technology using your free time to develop IT and development skills would put you at a serious advantage for future employment.

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