Software Engineering (SWE)
Career Hub

Software engineers are only becoming more essential across industries. If you’ve just joined the field or you’re working toward it through one of our bootcamps, we’ve developed this guide to help you navigate the growing industry.

We’ve got everything from the basics of the software engineer career path to a career development plan for a software engineer. Your coding skills are just one piece of the software engineering career growth puzzle.

Software Engineer
Career Path

Software engineering is a broad discipline that involves computer software design, development, and maintenance. Software engineers develop software that meets project goals and specifications while handling issues like system architecture or performance organization. Some are also involved in planning and testing stages.

Skill sets vary, meaning there’s a lot of opportunity to strike out on your own career path and explore your own areas of interest.

Software engineers may work in various roles depending on their experience level and expertise. With more experience, you’ll progress from junior to mid-level to senior roles.

How Does Software Engineering Differ From Other Careers in Computer Science?

Software engineering is a well-known career path in computer science, but it doesn’t cover all of your job options. A software engineer’s responsibilities will still differ from those of other tech professionals.

SWE Career Comparisons

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SWE vs. Web Development

Growth engineers use data-driven methods and custom code to improve and expand an organization’s product offerings. Software engineers may be involved with product development, but they’re rarely involved in the marketing side of a business. Growth engineers are more niche — it’s where marketing and computer science meet.

SWE vs. Cybersecurity Engineering

Both use coding to develop applications or systems that are tailored to a certain purpose. Software engineers create applications and write code for websites or applications. Cybersecurity engineers also need to be able to write code, but their jobs are dedicated specifically to creating safe technology environments for businesses.

SWE vs. Growth Engineering

Growth engineers use data-driven methods and custom code to improve and expand an organization’s product offerings. Software engineers may be involved with product development, but they’re rarely involved in the marketing side of a business. Growth engineers are more niche — it’s where marketing and computer science meet.

SWE vs. Data Science

Data scientists and software engineers both have knowledge of algorithms and statistics as well as a solid grasp of computer science. A software engineer, however, might create an algorithm by converting Big Data into meaningful information. A data scientist, on the other hand, may use it to create something new. Data scientists analyze data to understand how it works and evolves, and how we should respond.

Specific Jobs You Can Explore in Software Engineering

Learning the fundamental principles of coding languages and software development can give you many opportunities to explore different, fulfilling career paths. These are just a few examples of the direction you could take your career.

QA Engineer
DevOps Engineer
Security Engineer
Application Integration Engineer
Computer Consultant
Product Engineer
Implementation Engineer
Blockchain Engineer

What is a Software Engineer Salary?

The salary for software engineers is known to be quite lucrative. In 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that software engineers earned a median annual pay of $109,020. ZipRecruiter  reports that the average annual salary for a software engineer in 2023 is $139,952. These numbers can fluctuate depending on factors such as experience and location.

What is a software engineer salary for someone starting out in the field? App Academy gathered information from our cohort of graduates in 2019. For those who completed our Campus Programs in either New York City or San Francisco, first-year compensation ranged from $86,900 to $104,037. It also typically took our graduates less than five months to land their first position.

Designing a Career Development Plan as a Software Engineer

There are many paths to becoming a software engineer, and the first step is to determine which avenue you want to pursue.

Transitioning From a Different Field

If you’re working in a different industry, you may be able to transfer a lot of your skills to a software engineering role. Sales and Marketing work often provide a great foundation for software engineers to grow from, and with a bit of learning, practice, and brushing up your resume, you could be well on your way to a whole new career.

Returning to School

Going back to school for a degree in computer science or a related field is a common point of entry for aspiring software engineers, but it’s definitely not the only form of education to help you learn how to code.If you do choose to go back to school, you may decide to pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field.

Coding Bootcamps

Coding bootcamps often offer several options that may align more with your lifestyle and career goals. Plus, in many cases, the financial savings are obvious. According to SwitchUp, the typical cost of a coding bootcamp is $12,000 for a duration of 11 weeks, while a bachelor’s degree in computer science would set you back $40,722 for a year. When it comes to what you learn in a coding bootcamp vs. with a computer science degree, bootcamps teach the fundamentals of software development, while degrees tend to emphasize theory.

What Skills Does a Software Engineer Need?

What sets the best software engineers apart from the rest of the pack? Sure, software engineers need a certain handful of hard skills, but there are other abilities that help them stand out from their peers, too.

A good software engineer should:

Love problem solving

Enjoy a challenge

Cultivate resilience

Software issues and bugs can get frustrating or become tedious, and the best software engineers should find it rewarding to develop solutions for even the toughest problems.

Prospects for Software Engineering Career Growth

Is software engineering a good career path for growth? The short answer is yes.

As more businesses and sectors adopt new technology and software-based solutions, the employment outlook and potential for software engineers are unparalleled. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 25% increase in job opportunities by 2031 (the average is 7%).

Many companies now often welcome applicants without a four-year college degree in CS because they value skills and experience. Coding bootcamps help aspiring software engineers get the practical experience they need to enter this dynamic and growing industry, regardless of their degree.

Start Your Coding Career Today

There has never been a better time to begin a career as a software engineer. Explore our programs and learn how App Academy can help you change your life today.