Software Engineering is one of the hottest jobs in the world right now. There’s hardly a product, service, or activity not being improved by software in multiple ways, and the trend is accelerating rather than slowing. The world needs more coders!
And as companies get wise to the fact that diverse teams are winning teams, women who have other professional backgrounds are being sought for software roles by many employers.
Why is software engineering not only a skill in demand, but a great career path? There are three big reasons.
It’s no secret that being a software engineer pays well. It’s a highly technical profession that requires constant learning and attention to detail. Well-written and efficient code can have a major impact on a company’s bottom line. Yet there’s far more demand for engineers than there is a supply of them. Thus, the creators of that code are compensated accordingly.
The average software engineer in the United States makes an annual salary of $98,260, according to a 2015 report from the United State Labor Department. This is more than double the national median salary ($44,148) according to TheBalance.com. The average salary can be even higher in tech hotbeds such as San Francisco ($134,00), Seattle ($126,000), New York ($120,000), and Los Angeles ($117,000), according to Hired.com.
In addition to high salaries, many publicly traded tech companies provide their engineers with generous stock and bonus packages. Other benefits, such as premium health and dental insurance, unlimited vacation days, and catered workplace meals provide additional forms of compensation. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also a vibrant gig economy, in which software engineering skills can lead to contract work such as building apps or teaching courses.
Opportunities for Growth
The field of software engineering will continue to grow for the foreseeable future as more consumer products integrate digital technologies. Things such as televisions, cars, and even refrigerators are being manufactured with processing and networking capabilities. Smartphones and wearables are becoming ubiquitous. All of those products require capable software engineers to write the code that makes them function. As the digital technologies continue to proliferate through new domains, more qualified software engineers will be needed to meet the increased demands of the market.
Behind the scenes, there are even more new opportunities being created by emerging technologies. Advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) have created new demand for specialized software engineering skills. This puts software engineers at the forefront of exciting developments such as self-driving cars and real-time language translations.
Even traditional fields are being infused with software smarts. Your organic strawberries may have come from a farmer who uses software to help them raise fresh foods sustainably. If you can think of it, there’s probably software for it now — software that’s constantly being improved to stay ahead.
While many jobs are concentrated in the tech hotbeds mentioned above, location has become increasingly less important when working as a software engineer. The ability to work remotely provides great flexibility for those who don’t live near tech-heavy cities. Collaboration services such as Github, Slack, and Google Hangouts reduce the barriers for building remote teams. Working from home has become a lifestyle with its own online guides.
The possibility of flexible in-office work schedules is also common for software engineering jobs. It’s not uncommon for software engineers to spend part of their week in the office and part of their week working from home — for people who spend hours at a stretch writing code, it’s an established way to let them get more done.
Finally, some startups and established companies offer generous vacation packages to attract in-demand engineers. ‘Unlimited’ personal time off can be a huge selling point for a company competing for talent. More companies are also offering more generous maternity/paternity leave to new parents, rather than risk losing hard-to-replace employees.
The Winners Hire Women
Women with other professional backgrounds have a unique opportunity: There are more unfilled openings for mid-level managers than there are for entry level coders. A former lawyer, teacher, scientist, analyst or marketer has relevant skills and experience that a lifetime hacker may not.
And companies of all kinds and sizes are realizing that in focusing on male engineers — intentionally or unwittingly — they have put themselves at a disadvantage to getting the best people for many still-unfilled roles. By contrast, Salesforce, one of the most unstoppable successes in software, has nearly one in four technical roles filled by women.
At many companies, breaking the barriers for women has become a priority. They’re looking past headcount diversity to workplace inclusion. The one firm requirement: Have the coding chops you need to do the job. If you’ve got those, you’re in bigger demand than you may know.
To learn more about the Software Engineering Courses Hackbright Academy currently offers for women, click here.