What is a Software Engineer?

Software engineers are specialists in computing systems and software, and are responsible for applying engineering principles, such as computer science and mathematics, to software design and development. It is a highly complex and technical role that involves maintaining and improving systems to meet the specific needs of an organisation or client.

From operating and network control systems, to computer games and business applications, there are multiple types of software that engineers develop and work on. The process of developing software is extremely complicated and intricate, which is why creating diagrams and flowcharts is essential.

However, software engineers don’t just create and maintain the software, they must also be able to test systems, as well as be confident in diagnosing and resolving any faults. This is likely to be a crucial aspect of their role, so this must be an area engineers are confident in.

Due to changes and progress in technology, software engineers work in a constantly evolving environment. The top software engineers will be proactive in keeping up to date with the latest technological developments, helping them to quickly understand the most recent advancements and trends.

Whether you’re a talented software engineer looking to progress your career, or someone looking to start a career in the software engineering industry, make sure you get in touch with a member of our friendly team today. We have a vast network of partners across Bristol, and can help place you in your dream job. Contact us today!

Responsibilities of a Software Engineer

A software engineer’s work is primarily based in an office, but they may be expected to travel to clients to resolve any faults that have occurred within the software. Engineers involved in the installation and implementation side of the business are more likely to be frequently out of the office and at a client’s establishment.

The working hours of a software engineer are generally 9am to 5pm (or similar). This isn’t always the case though, as engineers might be expected to work longer hours as deadlines approach or during the testing stage of a system. Engineers may even be required to be on call during evenings and weekends.

Depending on the nature of the project, engineers might work alone or as part of a specialist team.

Although daily tasks will vary and depend on the type of business, the following can be typical of a software engineer:

  • Researching, designing and developing new software systems
  • Writing and testing code (refining and rewriting it when necessary)
  • Analyse systems to identify areas of improvement
  • Troubleshooting
  • Integrating software products
  • Maintaining systems by evaluating efficiency and by monitoring and amending any defects
  • Consulting clients concerning the performance of systems
  • Attend courses and training programs to continually update technical knowledge and skill

How to Become a Software Engineer

Although this industry is open to all graduates, having studied computer science, computer software engineering, mathematics a similar subject will largely increase the chances of employment. The vast majority of employers also favour candidates with evidence of CPD (continuing professional development).

The job is incredibly computer-based, so those who are skilled and enjoy spending time on computers are more likely to excel and be suited to the role.

Some recruiters will have set much higher requirements for employment. They may only employ graduates with proven technical skills and a degree (2:1 above) in a computer-related discipline. Smaller companies may hire graduates with an unrelated degree if they demonstrate technical knowledge and enthusiasm.

Applicants without a degree may also be considered if they have a HND (Higher National Diploma) in a computer-related subject. Employment without a degree or HDN is highly unlikely, although may be possible after gaining experience within the industry. This is where past work experiences can be useful, highlighting the benefits of completing work placements or internships.

Skills of a Software Engineer

As for any engineering role, it’s beneficial to keep learning. In particular, staying up to the minute with industry knowledge, as well as the latest trends in software, equipment and other tools will help you stay competitive in the job market.

Some of the essential skills that employers may look for could include the following:

  • Extensive knowledge of computer systems and technology
  • An ability and willingness to learn new skills and technologies quickly
  • Attention to detail
  • A logical and methodical approach
  • The ability to effectively communicate with clients and colleagues
  • Technical competency

Software Engineer Tips and Advice

In most scenarios, having an internship or experience within a certain industry or setting can help a candidate stand out in a competitive field.

Professional qualifications and skills are always valued, and illustrating competencies, such as being able to produce and understand flowcharts, or showing confidence in the creation of algorithms, will help in any software engineering job search.

Having experience and interests that illustrate someone who is an active problem solver and has a genuine interest in computing will help a candidate succeed in a software engineering role.

Software Engineering Jobs in Bristol and the South West

If you’re looking to start your career as a software engineer, or are looking for your next career move, make sure you submit your CV with us here at BMR Solutions. We specialise in pairing top talent with the most reputable businesses across the south west.

Software engineer vacancies and related opportunities often become available, so make sure you have signed up for job alerts to avoid missing out.

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