Even after you’ve graduated with a degree in tech, landing your first entry-level software engineer job can be a challenge. To avoid wasting your time applying to jobs that require years of experience and technical expertise, check out our list of the best entry-level software engineer jobs.
We’ll go over the highest-paying entry-level software engineer jobs, the skills required to land them, and some career path options that will be open to you after you have gained some programming experience and developed strong analytical skills.
What Is Software Engineering and Why Is It Important?
Software engineering is the process of using the best programming languages and engineering principles to develop software that meets a client’s requirements. Software engineering is the backbone of all software products. Software is used in almost every industry to reduce workloads and automate certain activities, which in turn reduces operating costs.
What Is the Job Outlook for Software Engineers?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the number of software engineering jobs will grow at a rate of 22 percent between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the national average. There is high demand for software developers because most industries require some kind of software, and there are essentially no limits to the types of software that can be created.
This projection is based on the expectation that businesses will need more software applications to bolster their services as technology advances. An experienced software engineer should have little trouble finding success in the job market.
Top Reasons to Pursue a Career in Software Engineering
- High demand: As technology expands, many companies are going digital, so they’re hiring people to create software that meets their specifications.
- Excellent pay and benefits: The high salaries and benefits that come with a software engineer role are great incentives. Software engineers usually get a decent amount of paid time off, good benefits packages, and competitive compensation.
- Remote work: Many companies no longer stick to traditional office hours. Since most of a software engineer’s job is done on a computer, many employers allow them to work from home on a flexible schedule.
- Autonomy: Software engineers exercise a considerable degree of autonomy in their work. Although entry-level engineers are usually being supervised, there is still room to be creative and use your problem-solving skills.
- Career progression: Software engineering jobs are not static, so you won’t get bored while working on repetitive tasks. Instead, there will be new challenges and opportunities every day that will help you improve your skills and gain promotions to higher positions.
What Does an Entry-Level Software Engineer Do?
Entry-level software engineers are junior engineers that work with more senior engineers on a software development team to develop products. They assist with a broad range of daily tasks such as writing, documenting, and debugging code. Entry-level software engineers must also familiarize themselves with the codebase and continuously work on their programming skills.
Types of Entry-Level Software Engineer Roles
Entry-Level Front End Engineer
Entry-level front end engineers are also known as front end web developers. They decide on, install, and test the user interface (UI) elements of an application or software product. They also work with backend engineers to make sure the elements of each end complement each other.
Entry-Level Backend Engineer
A backend engineer builds the behind-the-scenes structure of a software application or website. They write the code that dictates how the software product will function. They also write server scripts and use application programming interfaces (APIs) in creating the back end of the software or website.
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Entry-Level Software Developer
An entry-level software developer has fewer responsibilities than senior team members. Their primary responsibility is to debug code that senior engineers have written. They may also be assigned to write simple, single thread code. These bits of code will be integrated into the final software product by senior team members.
Common Responsibilities of Entry-Level Software Engineering Jobs
- Analyzing user requirements
- Debugging and documenting code
- Working with mid- and senior-level members to develop software
- Monitoring and correcting software defects
- Creating technical specifications
How Much Do Entry-Level Software Engineer Jobs Pay?
The average annual pay for an entry-level software engineer in the United States is about $67,751 per year, according to ZipRecruiter. Keep in mind that the amount an entry-level software engineer earns depends on many factors, including what type of software product they work on, their employer, and their location.
Entry-Level Software Engineer Jobs That Pay the Most: Overview
|Job||Average Salary||Min. Education/ Training||Associated Mid and Senior Roles|
|Entry-level mobile application developer||$78,765||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or its equivalent, knowledge of programming languages||Mid-level application developer, senior application developer|
|Entry-level software architect||$74,566||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Solutions architect, senior software architect|
|Entry-level user interface design||$73,040||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Mid-level UI designer, senior UI designer|
|Junior backend developer||$68,388||Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Mid-level backend developer, senior backend developer.|
|Junior full stack developer||$67,757||Bootcamp certification||Mid-level full stack developer, senior level full stack developer|
|Junior front end developer||$61,747||Associate Degree in Computer Science or a related field||Mid-level front end developer, senior front end developer|
|Entry-level development and operations engineer||$57,699||College degree in computer science or a related field||Mid-level DevOps engineer, senior DevOps engineer|
|Entry-level software developer||$57,646||College degree in computer science or a related field, proficiency in programming languages||Mid-level software developer, senior software developer|
|Entry-level database administrator||$56,391||Bachelor’s Degree in IT or a related field||Mid-level database administrator, senior database administrator|
|Entry-level systems administrator||$39,345||Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field||Mid-level systems administrator, Senior systems administrator|
Best Entry-Level Software Engineering Jobs: A Closer Look
Entry-Level Mobile Application Developer
These software developers create apps for mobile devices that run on iOS or Android operating systems. They support continuous improvement of an app throughout its development life cycle. They usually create software for smartphones and tablets.
Entry-Level Mobile Application Developer Responsibilities
- Deploying app updates
- Writing basic code
- Testing and debugging code
Entry-level Software Architect
Entry-level software architects liaise with solutions architects and senior software architects to design and develop system software and applications. They are responsible for creating standard coding practices that are used by other software designers. Ultimately, they create effective, customized software solutions for the end user.
Entry-level Software Architect Responsibilities
- Conceiving, testing, and presenting architectural approaches for software applications
- Reviewing and debugging code
- Producing conceptual plans, renderings, and documents
Entry-Level UI Designer
An entry-level UI designer works with a team to improve the visual appeal of an app. They strive to meet design requirements and ensure that the application they’re creating functions the way the client intended. They also research and test new design concepts under the supervision of senior team members.
Entry-Level UI Designer Responsibilities
- Assisting with designing concepts and wireframes
- Providing occasional graphic and visual design
- They co-develop personas, workflows, and journey maps.
Junior Backend Developer
Junior backend developers work as part of a team with more senior developers to build the structure of a software application and integrate the front end developers’ work. They design the backend of an app or website in a way that’s easy for the user to navigate.
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Junior Backend Developer Responsibilities
- Managing hosting environments
- Troubleshooting and debugging
- Quality assurance testing
Junior Full Stack Developer
Full stack developers are knowledgeable in both front end and backend engineering principles. Because they can take care of all engineering tasks, they are very valuable to employers. As this is a junior position, these full stack developers work alongside more experienced colleagues to learn sound software engineering principles and code development strategies.
Junior Full Stack Developer Responsibilities
- Making note of clients’ project requirements
- Translating wireframes into a functional application or website
- Testing code for bugs
Junior Front End Developer
Junior Front End Developer Responsibilities
- Using programming languages to make design ideas a reality
- Ensuring web pages are efficient and scalable
- Working with senior colleagues to build responsive web designs
Entry-Level Development and Operations Engineer
An entry-level DevOps engineer integrates all aspects of software design, including development, updates, and releases, into one ongoing cycle. Their main goal is to shorten the Software Development Lifecycle. To do this, they liaise between the software development team and the technical operations team to release and update software products.
Entry-level DevOps Engineer Responsibilities
- Working with development and operations teams to streamline coding
- Planning software updates
- Testing software products
Entry-Level Software Developer
Entry-level software developers are responsible for helping to create software products for a client or their employer. Entry-level software developers work with a software engineering team to suggest products that will meet a client’s needs, then help in the process of creating the custom software product.
Entry-level Software Developer Responsibilities
- Creating simple, single-thread code
- Writing design algorithms
- Ensuring code stability
Entry-Level Database Administrator
Entry-level database administrators are computer and database specialists who help maintain an organization’s data security and integrity using sophisticated database management software. They use their extensive database skills to organize, manage, store, and retrieve data for clients, colleagues, and executives when needed.
Entry-level Database Administrator Responsibilities
- Keeping server programs and operating systems up to date
- Updating databases
- Configuring new installations at workstations
Entry-Level Systems Administrator
An entry-level systems administrator helps manage a company’s computer networks. They work under the supervision of senior systems administrators to set up servers and database management software. They learn how to optimize and maintain the company’s unique system setup.
Entry-Level Systems Administrator Responsibilities
- Installing and updating software
- Collecting information about network reliability
- Managing data storage
What Types of Companies Hire Entry-Level Software Engineers?
Software rules the world in the 21st century, so it’s no surprise that all kinds of companies are hiring software engineers. Most software engineering roles are at tech companies like Google and IBM, but auto companies like General Motors and financial service providers like Vanguard also hire entry-level software engineers.
Career Progression: Mid- and Senior-Level Software Engineering Roles
Mid-Level Software Engineering Jobs
Mid-Level Full Stack Developer
- Average salary: $102,744
- Related entry-level roles: Entry-level full stack developer, Junior backend developer
- Responsibilities: Design user relations, create databases and servers, conduct cross-platform optimization
Mid-Level Backend Developer
- Average salary: $100,281
- Related entry-level roles: Junior backend developer, entry-level software developer
- Responsibilities: Implement new features and update existing ones, write clean and easy to maintain code, liaise with product and design departments to ensure that the final product meets their needs
Mid-Level User Interface Designer
- Average salary: $98,583
- Related entry-level roles: Entry-level UI designer, junior front end developer
- Responsibilities: Create original graphic designs, incorporate customer feedback into designs, design elements such as navigational and informational components
Mid-Level Software Engineer
- Average salary: $88,725
- Related entry-level roles: Entry-level software engineer, entry-level full stack developer
- Responsibilities: Provide estimates on timelines for tasks, design software, assist in programming large sections of the final product
Mid-Level Application Developer
- Average salary: $81,484
- Related entry-level roles: Entry-level application developer, junior backend developer
- Responsibilities: Write code for programs, design application structure, manage applications
Senior Software Engineering Jobs
Senior Software Architect
- Average salary: $139,566
- Related entry-level roles: Junior software architect, entry-level software developer
- Responsibilities: Design software architecture, prioritize and execute tasks in the Software Development Lifecycle, automate tasks using appropriate tools and scripting
Senior Front End Developer
- Average salary: $118,440
- Related entry-level roles: Junior front end developer, entry-level UI designer
- Responsibilities: Build reusable code, develop features that enhance user experience, create a functional and aesthetic design
Senior Database Administrator
- Average salary: $113,375
- Related entry-level roles: Entry-level database administrator, entry-level software engineer
- Responsibilities: Ensure that user information is kept secure, backup database systems in case of an outage, verify the authenticity of data
Senior Development and Operations Engineer
- Average salary: $102,023
- Related entry-level roles: Entry-level DevOps engineer, entry-level software engineer
- Responsibilities: Review company data, implement practices that streamline the software development process, recommend programs that will improve the company’s performance metrics
Senior Systems Administrator
- Average salary: $100,957
- Related entry-level roles: Entry-level systems administrator, entry-level database administrator
- Responsibilities: Security administration, network administration, web service administration, and configuration
How to Get a Job in Software Engineering
Starting a software engineering career isn’t alway easy. Even though there are plenty of openings for software developers out there, you must be strategic in your approach if you want to succeed. Obtaining a relevant college degree or a certification from a software engineering bootcamp can help you achieve career acceleration.
After you have the industry knowledge and some technical skills, you can start setting up job alerts and applying to openings. Having an effective cover letter and resume is critical to your success. You will also be at an advantage if you have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Above all, you should stay optimistic even if you don’t get the first job you apply for.
Required Skills for an Entry-Level Software Engineer Job
- Coding: Learning a variety of coding languages is one of the most important steps if you want to land a software engineer job.
- Software testing: Software engineers must test their products to make sure they are serving the user correctly. Without testing, you can’t tell whether a software product is serving its purpose.
- Organization: The ability to sort, classify, and organize data and code while developing software is an important part of the workflow process.
- Problem-solving: Software engineers must be problem-solvers. The ability to recognize problems and proffer technical solutions is a vital skill. The communication skills to share your solutions clearly with your team is also important.
- Attention to detail: As a software engineer, you must pay attention to the smallest details because writing clean code requires precision.
Top Certifications for Entry-Level Software Engineers
- Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional: Earning this certification signifies your ability to protect client data against security breaches by applying the best cyber security practices.
- Certified Software Development Professional: This certification shows that you know how to build software and develop applications. You need a college degree in computer science or a related field to qualify.
- Certified Software Engineer: This certification from the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals proves that you are an IT professional who is well-versed in software development principles.
- CIW Web Development Professional: This certification covers programming language essentials, debugging techniques, and web development strategies. It also covers core relational database principles and how to integrate them into system processes.
- CLA and CPA Certification: These certifications from the C++ Institute confirm your competency in using C programming languages for software development. The CPA exam is for C++ software engineers, while the CLA certification is for those who focus on C.
Can You Get an Entry-Level Software Engineering Job with a Coding Bootcamp?
Yes, attending one of the best coding bootcamps is a great way for job seekers to learn the basic skills they need to start coding professionally. These bootcamps usually only take a few months to complete, and will leave you fully prepared for a role as an entry-level software developer, even if you don’t have any professional experience under your belt.
Top Software Engineering Bootcamps
Best Resources for Software Engineers
Udacity offers both introductory and advanced software engineering courses. It’s famous for its nano-degree programs which require students to study for 10 to 15 hours per week over a period of three to seven months.
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These nano-degree programs cover programming topics such as iOS and Android app development, and data structure and algorithms. They cost between $1,100 to $1,500, and can help you learn the skills you need to start a tech career.
It is relatively easy to learn basic software development skills from the prerecorded videos and related articles that are part of each course. Courses typically cost from $50 to $200 but often come with huge discounts.
Codecademy is an online educational platform that has both free and paid courses. They can give you the foundation you need to start developing software. Aspiring software engineers can study career paths such as coding foundations, computer science, or web development, each of which take 20 to 35 weeks to complete. You must be a member to use Codecademy resources.
Is a Career in Software Engineering for You?
If you’re looking for a flexible career with a competitive salary and career growth opportunities, then software engineering should be at the top of your list. If you’re willing to put in the work to get started, you’ll find that the career comes with a lot of benefits.
With the right education and a passion for problem-solving, you’ll be well on your way to an entry-level position in software engineering. Gaining bootcamp experience and developing your skills is a great way to get started on an accelerated career path.
Entry-Level Software Engineering Jobs FAQ
The primary responsibility of entry-level software engineers comprises performing basic tasks such as code documentation and debugging. They work with senior engineers with more professional experience to create software solutions while improving their general programming skills.
Entry-level software engineers usually work 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week. However, some might put in more hours, up to 50 hours a week, and may work weekends. This usually happens if a deadline is coming up or if a problem arises with a software product.
The average salary for an entry-level software engineer in the US is $67,751 a year. This can fluctuate depending on your employer, your location, and your professional experience with the software development process.
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