Computer software engineers are the main designers behind software products. A common comparison drawn to better explain the function of a computer software engineer is that between a construction worker and architect, as opposed to a computer programmer and software engineer – the programmers are those who perform the “manual labor”, while software engineers are tasked with the high-level design, such as planning the program’s functionality, building a basic framework, and giving orders to each programmer. Computer software engineers usually work close with hardware developers when working on projects that require new hardware to be produced.

[Click here to browse our list of accredited online Computer Science & IT degree programs]

Becoming a software engineer requires at least a Bachelor’s degree in computer sciences, or even better, software/computer engineering. Due to the recent influx of graduated Bachelors with such degrees on the market, more and more employees are raising the requirements and asking for a Master’s degree from their candidates, and the market in general is really competitive today compared to what it was a few years ago. On the other hand, demands are high as well, so finding employment isn’t difficult at all.

Software engineers tend to be paid noticeably higher than the programmers involved in their respective projects. Usually, the software engineer(s) on a given project will earn up to 40-50% more than the programmers who’ve contributed to it, with the annual pay rate going between $52,000 – $81,000. Similarly to programmers, software engineers may earn dividends from the products they’ve worked on, making the job a very attractive one.