Software engineering is a fast-growing sector, with continued rapid growth forecast for the rest of the decade. Computers are a part of almost every aspect of our lives, so there is inevitably a huge demand for software engineers to develop systems and applications to meet this expanding need. Here is a look at some of the reasons the demand for software engineers is not expected to subside any time soon.
Existing shortage of people
According to a report by CNBC, there is a sizable shortage of people in the software engineering sector, with more than 918,000 vacancies at the end of 2021. The shortfall in numbers of software engineers is predicted to rise by a further 20% by 2040. Around 30,000 computer science students graduate each year in the U.S., which is significantly less than the number required to fill the skills gap.
Increasing demand for online activity
The demand from consumers for digital transformation has been growing for many years, and this demand was further boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns and other restrictions meant that more and more people turned to online activities. This had a significant impact on the retail sector while transforming sectors such as remote working and spurring a surge in demand for online meeting and collaboration platforms.
Software is becoming increasingly complex
More and more elements of our lives require software, and our expectations are constantly growing. As technology develops, the software that an organization is already using needs to be integrated with newer applications. Evolving and emerging sectors rely on software engineers to deliver their products and services, such as robotics, cryptocurrencies and self-driving cars.
In addition, the technological environment is made more complex by the constant presence of cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities. Software engineers need to pre-empt and counteract this with increasingly complex security and protection.
Multiple technology platforms
Businesses of all sizes are now expected to operate multiple platforms. In the past, a small business might have used only a website, but in today’s world, most businesses need a far broader online presence to hold their own against competitors in the sector.
This means that in addition to web developers, businesses may now need iOS and Android developers. Websites are also more complex than in the past, requiring optimization for mobile devices. All of the software in use needs to be engineered to create a seamless interface and user experience for customers.
Systems require maintenance and updating
Code cannot remain static. Over time, it will need to be reviewed and updated so it does not become obsolete. Applications need to be upgraded to meet evolving business requirements and accommodate changes in technology. When major changes are required, it may be preferable to develop completely new software that makes use of newer technologies. This requires additional software developer resources to effect the changes, such as when making the transition to cloud-based IT infrastructure.
Sectors where software engineers are in demand
Software engineers are needed in almost every type of industry, including:
Some sectors have seen a huge surge in demand for software engineers recently. For example, the demand for blockchain software engineers is increasing by more than 500% each year. Individual companies can employ tens of thousands of software engineers, such as Samsung, which has more than 40,500 software engineers.
You may choose to work as a systems engineer, developing networks, coordinating systems and helping to shape the technological strategy of an organization. Alternatively, you may prefer to work in application engineering, designing, building, testing and maintaining applications to meet the needs of the business.
What skills are needed to be a software engineer?
It is important to keep your skills up to date in the world of software engineering because technology evolves so rapidly. Some of the core skills software engineers need include:
- Project management – Agile and Scrum
- Systems architecture
- Object-oriented programming
- Testing and debugging
A successful software engineer will also need to display a range of soft skills, such as communication skills, problem-solving and the ability to work as part of a team. Another useful skill is productivity management in software development.
Qualifications required for software engineer careers
Most roles in software engineering will require you to have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. If you want to progress your career in software development, one of the best routes is to study for a masters of Computer Science degree. This is also an ideal way to transition from another career path into software engineering.
Even if you do not have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, you may be able to apply for programs such as the online masters in software engineering at Baylor University. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree in subjects such as physics, mathematics and engineering may be successful in securing a place in such programs. These programs can often be joined at various points throughout the year.
Although software engineering is sometimes associated with working long hours, it can also be a good career choice if you need flexibility in your working pattern, with part-time work as well as contracting and freelance work widely available in this sector.
With a masters in Software Engineering, you will create a wealth of new openings for your career. The IT industry is expanding globally, with software engineers in particularly high demand. Various reports have estimated that there are more than 26.9 million software engineers worldwide. This is expected to grow to 28.7 million by 2024. In the U.S., there are estimated to be 4.4 million software developers, of which around 680,000 are software engineers.