A senior software engineer creates the code structure for computer operating systems and applications that people use everyday. Software engineers create photo editing programs, interactive websites and even entire operating systems. You can expect to work for several years as a junior designer, assisting other developers, before advancing to be a senior software engineer and creating your own software.
Education and Background
Lots of senior software engineers have five years or more experience in the field as junior software engineers or in computer programming. Their background includes solid experience with coding languages, problem solving software issues and managing large-scale projects. A senior software engineer usually has a bachelor's degree in computer science or a closely related discipline, and has earned certificates in the major software in the field.
Software Knowledge and Skills
The day-to-day work of a software engineer is to design, test and maintain computer software. In a senior position, you may oversee progress and workflow on a number of projects or may act as a lead engineer on a single one. Engineers need to see the big picture of how the final product is working for users and fixing any bugs that appear. As a senior engineer, you may delegate testing and coding to junior designers, so it is important to be able to communicate effectively.
Salary and Outlook
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2010 software developers were paid an average annual income of $90,530. The salaries ranged up to $124,000 for the best paid senior developers. The field is also estimated to grow 30 percent between 2010 and 2020 as mobile and new media platforms require programming. Salaries are often slightly higher for those working on systems engineering versus application engineering.
2016 Salary Information for Software Developers
Software developers earned a median annual salary of $102,370 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, software developers earned a 25th percentile salary of $78,570, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $129,310, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,256,300 people were employed in the U.S. as software developers.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.