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What is Software Engineering?

Justin McIntyre

What is Software Engineering?'s Image

As technology improves and the number of coding languages to learn rises, we’ve entered a new era of software engineering and what it means to be considered a software engineer.

No longer are discussions about software relegated to the IT department. Investing in tech can have a huge impact on your business’ bottom line.

So, what is the definition of software engineering? Is software engineering the same thing as programming? How is software engineering different from web development? Let’s break down what it means to be a software engineer in 2019.


What is software engineering?

Software engineering is the development of applications, systems, and programs for computers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Software engineering entails the study and practice of engineering to build, design, develop, test, deploy and maintain software. Typically, software engineering applies the principles of engineering to the development of software, with a goal of improving technology in some way.

There are many different areas of software engineering, and software engineers serve different functions throughout the application and program life cycle.


What do software engineers do?

Software engineers do a myriad of things. Though many people equate web development with software engineering, developing software is only one aspect of software engineering. In their day-to-day life, software engineers may be involved in any number of the following tasks:

  • Work with the CIO, sales team, and product managers to analyze user needs and plan out a product development timeline

  • Discuss UI and UX design elements with front end web developers and design team

  • Write and design software systems

  • Test, maintain, and debug software

  • Develop new features

  • Learn new coding languages


Why is software engineering important?

It should come as no surprise that the demand for software engineers is continuing to grow rapidly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of software engineers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Software engineers are the people who are responsible for analyzing their company’s business needs and creating solutions to solve business problems. They are the people who develop, build, and maintain a company’s technology.

In many tech-oriented companies and industries, software engineers are helping to lead and execute business strategy – their role has expanded far beyond the stereotypical image of a coder or IT department in the basement.

Software makes up the fabric of our lives, whether it’s the apps we use every day on our phones, our computers at work, the systems that power our banks and hospitals – and software engineers are the people behind the technology.


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