Software engineering is one of the most versatile fields in the tech industry. Some of the best jobs for software engineers are among the highest-paying jobs in the world. So, if you are thinking of learning software engineering and want a glimpse of the job opportunities available, this article is for you.
Before you read the list of the highest-paying jobs for software engineers, we will explain what it means to be a software engineer, outline some of the top companies hiring software engineers, and provide actionable tips to help you thrive as a software engineer.
What Is a Software Engineer?
A software engineer is an information technology expert who combines engineering and computer science principles to design, develop, and maintain software. It is an incredibly broad term often used loosely. However, there are multiple branches of software engineering you can specialize in, and each one comes with a unique set of responsibilities.
People who want to become software engineers may be looking to pursue a challenging and rewarding career. Moreover, others may be fascinated by technological advancements regarding software development, hence, wanting to switch their career to follow their passion in tech.
What Jobs Are Available to Software Engineers?
Software engineers can work as full stack developers, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence developers, backend developers, front end developers, cyber security specialists, mobile application developers, game developers, software architects, system engineers, cloud engineers, and site reliability engineers.
There are full-time, part-time, and freelance jobs available to software engineers within and outside of the tech industry. The profession you end up choosing should be based on your short-term and long-term career goals.
Companies That Hire Software Engineers
- Google. Google is the most popular technology company in the world. It owns and controls some of the most useful tools for individual users and organizations. So, there are many opportunities for competent professionals and software engineering graduates at Google and Google-owned companies across the globe.
- Microsoft. Microsoft is another big software company. The multinational technology corporation produces software and hardware consumer products. It also offers business-to-business services. Depending on your specialization, there are several software engineer jobs available at Microsoft.
- Amazon. Amazon is more than an ecommerce site. The Jeff Bezos-owned company is one of the big four global tech giants. The company has technology interests in digital streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence.
- Apple. Apple revolutionized the telecommunications industry with its iPhone, but that’s not the company’s only product. There are Apple laptops, iPads, watches, iPods, smart home assistants, and many other high-end devices and operating systems. To work as a software developer for Apple, you need to learn brand-specific programming languages.
- Cisco. Cisco is another popular name in the tech industry and you can find many career opportunities there as a software engineer. This networking and hardware-manufacturing company provides technology services and products on a global scale. According to Fortune, it currently holds the title as the best place to work in the world.
10 Highest-Paying Jobs for Software Engineers
|Job Title||Average Salary||Top 10% Salary|
|Machine Learning Engineering||$130,530||$179,000|
|Site Reliability Engineering||$130,021||$167,500|
|Full Stack Development||$102,744||$142,500|
|Mobile Application Development||$101,899||$137,000|
|Front end Development||$79,725||$115,000|
Many software engineering positions pay significantly more than the national average. However, specific jobs rank higher than others, and various factors determine a person’s average salary. Below is a list of the highest-paying software engineering and technology jobs in the industry, today.
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Like traditional building architects, a software architect draws the plans for software development. They are highly ranked decision-makers who determine which technologies and strategies should be used by the development team during the entire process.
Software architects usually work with technical teams to ensure smooth and successful project development. Apart from setting the pace for project management, software architects also need to learn how to document the entire development process and train other team members to follow through.
Machine Learning Engineering
A machine learning engineer is an IT professional specializing in creating programs and algorithms for self-running artificial intelligence systems. Their primary duties include the design, development, and creation of automated predictive models.
Machine learning engineers create software for self-learning models, like self-driving cars, artificial intelligence assistants, chatbots, translation apps, and big data models. These experts typically need to be proficient in Python, R, Julia, LISP, and a host of libraries.
Site Reliability Engineering
A site reliability engineer (SRE) applies software engineering principles to system infrastructure. They are problem solvers who make scalable and reliable software-based production systems. SRE teams work with project managers to determine how codes are to be configured, deployed, and monitored. They also use software tools for the automation of operational tasks when necessary.
Professionals who work as cloud engineers are IT experts who specialize in applying engineering principles to cloud computing. It is a rapidly emerging field that will keep growing as long as cloud computing systems remain relevant.
A cloud engineer covers aspects like standardization and commercialization of cloud-based systems beyond software applications. Cloud providers like Amazon, Google, and other big tech companies invest in cloud engineers to manage their cloud services.
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Full Stack Development
Full stack software developers create applications from the ground up without assistance from any other developer. They work on all the stacks of software application development, such as front end and backend alike.
Mobile Application Development
Mobile application developers’ primary duties include creating software for mobile devices like smartphones, iPads, and smart wearables. There are core mobile application developers who create the essential software for mobile devices for a company, and there are third-party mobile developers.
Game developers have several job duties such as designing, developing, and maintaining games. The role of the developer varies depending on certain variables. It could involve the entire process from idea conceptualization to final game launch. On the other hand, game developers can just work on the software aspects involved in game development.
There are different types of game developers with varying roles during the game development process. Hardware developers and other team members are not required to do coding tasks like researchers and story writers.
Backend software developers specialize in the figurative backend of development, popularly known as the server-side. They write code and program parts of the software that play crucial roles in ensuring functionality even if users do not see these parts. As a backend developer, some features you will need to create will be APIs, servers, and databases.
To be a successful backend developer, you must master backend programming languages and frameworks like Ruby on Rails, PHP, Python, and .Net. These experts may have basic knowledge of the interactive parts of applications but typically work with front end developers to create full stack applications.
System engineers are software development engineers with knowledge of business and engineering management. Their primary duties include monitoring the entire life cycle of the project. This life cycle includes system conception, design, development, production, construction, distribution, operation, maintenance and support, retirement, phase-out, and disposal.
One system engineer can manage the life cycle of multiple products simultaneously. They require strong design, decision-making, and analytical skills. If you do not have a software engineering degree, you can attend a coding bootcamp.
Front End Development
While backend developers focus on the server-side of application development, a professional who works as a front end developer concentrates on the interactive part. That is the part of the application where users give instructions and get the results they want.
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Tips for Finding Success as a Software Engineer
Learning software engineering is one thing, but finding a job in top companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Cisco can prove challenging. This applies mostly to entry-level experts. The tips below will help increase your chances of getting a high-paying job and succeeding as a software engineer.
- Specialize. Software engineering is a vast field, so it helps if you pick a technology job that interests you and specialize in it. Specialization allows you to harness your strengths and may help you enhance your career in software development faster.
- Build a professional brand. Build your professional brand on a platform like LinkedIn. This and many other industry-specific communities like Stack Overflow allow you to advertise your skills and build a brand for yourself in the industry. These platforms also come with lots of networking opportunities.
- Organize a project portfolio. A project portfolio is a collection of all your software engineering projects over time. Software engineers add portfolios to their resumes to show prospective employers and tech companies that they have the technical knowledge and experience in software engineering required to get the job done.
- Stay on the train of emerging trends. Technology is changing at an unbelievably rapid pace, and this change comes with lots of opportunities. So, you need to pay attention to emerging trends so that your skill set doesn’t become obsolete. You need to continuously learn new programming languages, frameworks, concepts, and best practices as they come.
- Take advantage of job resources. Indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, and LinkedIn are frequently updated with new software engineering roles. You can subscribe for daily alerts so that you never have to lose an opportunity to apply for a job.
Jobs for Software Engineers Outlook
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment growth for software engineers is expected to rise by 22 percent between 2020 and 2030. This number covers software testers, quality assurance officers, and software developers.
However, the demand for all other jobs is expected to increase by just eight percent within the same timeframe. Hence, following a career path in software engineering would be a wise choice as the increase in demand will also mean a sense of job security for those who pursue roles in this field.
Best Jobs for Software Engineers FAQ
Machine learning and artificial intelligence rank as the highest-earning software engineer occupations in the world. These experts create smart software that can act and manipulate data without explicit programming. There is a high demand for these professionals in the data-centric world.
Data scientists, Internet of Things (IoT) solutions architects, big data engineers, software architects, blockchain engineers, DevOps engineers, cloud architects, and full stack developers are currently the most in-demand technology experts.
It depends. Software engineering is a highly sophisticated job with many demands. However, engineers’ opinions of whether or not it’s a stressful job vary.
Yes, most sub-disciplines of software engineering require excellent math skills. You need to be proficient in linear algebra, probability, calculus, statistics, and graph theory, among others. However, this isn’t always the case. There are some fields in software engineering that do not require advanced knowledge of math.
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