What Does a Software Engineer Do?

What Does a Software Engineer Do?

At its highest level, software engineering is about developing and maintaining programs, and software engineers are the people responsible for making sure software engineering is done correctly. Without software engineers, computer programs are at risk for no longer working. Since businesses, governments, and individuals rely on modern-day software to get through the day (think GPS, credit card systems, flight tracking, dating apps…), it is important for software engineers to continue to develop new programs and update existing computer software in use.

Software Engineers Are Not Web Developers or UI/UX Designers

Software Engineers Are Not Web Developers or UI/UX Designers

Let’s get this out of the way: Software engineers are not web developers or UI/UX designers. Even though there may be some overlap between these positions, especially on a small start-up team, and there certainly should be collaboration between the three, strictly speaking, software engineers do not develop websites or design how software looks.

(A tech-guru jack-of-all-trades might do everything, though, that’s really not ideal or realistic.)

Sure, websites are developed using code (like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript), and the UI/UX design of a computer program could impact how the software is programmed (e.g. these important elements should load before these less important ones), but that doesn’t mean those responsibilities fall on the software engineer. The software engineer is responsible for the functional software code that, when done right, is not visible or even thought about by the end-user.

Software Engineers Help Solve Problems Using Computing Devices

You can think of software engineers as creators and inventors who use computing technology to help solve problems for businesses and individuals. They use programming languages to talk to computers, telling computers what to do and how to do it. When a piece of software is coded correctly, the end-user won’t notice all the heavy lifting going on in the background, but the software engineer will feel proud of what they’ve accomplished.

Software engineers can work on the back-end or front-end of a piece of software, and they can be highly specialized in a specific technology niche or they can work in a more general capacity. The problems they help solve can also range from minor to major, making the job versatile.

Software Engineers Use Programming Languages Like Python

There are a lot of programming languages out there, including Python, which is an example of a programming language that computer programmers use in their job. Other popular programming languages that computer programmers could use include Java, Ruby, and PHP.

Python can be a good first programming language to learn for a software engineer who is just starting out because it is beginner-friendly and versatile. Once your career has started, you can use the foundational principles you learned while learning Python to learn other languages.

All Software Engineers Start at the Beginning

No matter what educational path you take to become a software engineer, one thing is true: you have to start at the beginning just like everybody else. Of course, how quickly you learn and develop your software engineering skills is entirely up to you. If you’re a woman who wants to pursue a career in software engineering, then check out Hackbright Academy’s 12-week Software Engineering course. Your new career could begin as soon as you’re ready to start.

Recommended Reading

What Is a Web Developer Versus a Software Engineer?

Why Should You Learn Software Engineering?

Read About Anna’s Journey Into Software Engineering on Course Report

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