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Software engineering courses abroad: What to expect

Some challenges software engineers face at work are the frequent changes that might be made to requirements due to the tractability of software.

Antony Chacko
Software Engineer

While most software engineers work 40 hours a week, a lot of them end up working for longer hours. Some of them even work on the weekends to meet deadlines or solve unexpected technical problems.

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The goal of a software engineer is to create practical software systems that have social and economic value using a systematic software development process. Having said that, the role doesn’t simply end here. A whole gamut of activities are included in the scope of work for a software engineer. Requirements engineering, design, coding, integration, testing, maintenance, project management, and configuration management are some of the other essential aspects to developing software.

Usually, the problems thrown at software engineers to solve are so complex or large that a single developer cannot solve them anymore. Teams, on the other hand, do not consist only of developers, but also of testers, architects, project managers, system engineers, customers, etc. Software projects can be so large that careful planning is required. Implementation is no longer about just writing code, but it is also following guidelines, writing documentation and also writing unit tests. In the case of large projects, once engineers finish coding, maintaining software can keep many of them busy for a long time.

Software engineers design and develop many types of software, including computer games, business applications, operating systems, network control systems, and middleware.

Work Environment:

One of the biggest challenges software engineers face at work are the frequent changes that might be made to requirements due to the tractability of software. Another major challenge is living up to the schedule commitments made, by ensuring delivery of the product or service on time.

While most software engineers work 40 hours a week, many of them work much longer, usually late into the evening or on weekends to meet deadlines or to solve unexpected technical problems. Software engineers who work for software vendors and consulting firms frequently travel to meet with customers. But telecommuting has become quite popular among software engineers today, as it saves them time and allows more work to be done from remote locations.

Because of the nature of the job, where most of the time at work is spent in front of a computer system, typing on a keyboard, engineers are prone to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Career Opportunities:

Freshers with a graduate degree in software engineering will find entry- level openings in independent consultancies, software development firms, MNCs, etc. After three to five years of work experience, many software engineers are promoted to a senior software engineer position or team leader. Depending on the employee's skills and performance, a senior software engineer may later be promoted to a software architect, a very senior designer of complex programs, or a role in project management.

Some of the roles you can expect to fit into, after completion of your course are:

  • Software architect
  • Software developer
  • Software engineer
  • Software tester
  • IT Project manager
  • Systems analyst
  • Security Specialist
  • Computational scientist
  • Programmer
  • Games Programmer
  • Games Designer
  • IT Support Specialist
  • Webmaster
  • System Administrator
  • Database Administrator
  • Networking and Communications Specialist
  • Research and Development

Graduates should try and gain some work experience in their field. Experience can be gained through placements, internships, or a year in the industry.

What to study:

Most employers prefer applicants who have at least a bachelor's degree in either software engineering or related disciplines, A broad knowledge of, and experience with, a variety of computer systems and technologies is also essential. The popular college major for software engineers is computer science or software engineering. Courses include:

  • BSc. Computer Scinece
  • BSc Hons. in Computer Science with Games Technology
  • MS. in Computer Science
  • MSc. In Software Development

A postgraduate degree in computer science, whilst not essential, could be useful for graduates from non-relevant subjects, though many employers are generally more interested in the candidate’s aptitude for programming than in an additional qualification.

Entry Requirements:

To apply for a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related disciplines, you will need to have completed 12 years of high school study. For aspiring postgraduate students, a bachelor’s degree in either Maths, Science, Computing, Computer Science or a related discipline is required.


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