What Is a Software Engineer?
Think about the software you use on a daily basis, from internet browsers, to apps, or even your email. These all run on code written by software engineers, who build and maintain the tools and technologies we rely on in our work and personal lives. Put simply, software engineering is the process of designing, building, testing, and maintaining computer software.
Software engineers take an engineering approach to computer science, using what the IEEE calls [PDF, 5.9 MB] a “systematic, disciplined, quantifiable approach to the development, operation, and maintenance of software.” That software might be an app on your phone, an email client on your computer, or the tool your company uses to track expenses.
Across industries, software engineers use an array of coding languages to build software that fulfills a consumer, company, or client need. They might work with data scientists, database analysts, or upper management to achieve their goals. Sometimes they build things from scratch, and sometimes they develop existing products. So while it’s important for them to know the ins and outs of code and be able to think creatively about how to build new tools, they also need to be able to work well in teams, express their ideas and communicate their work clearly, and thoughtfully assess the problems they are trying to solve.