North Wales Management School - Wrexham University

What can I do with a software engineering degree?

Posted on: March 19, 2024
Woman working with security code on computer

Making a move into software engineering offers not just a career, but a ticket to the forefront of innovation and technological advancement. In Hired’s 2020 State of Software Engineers report, they found that the number one reason most software engineers chose their career is “new challenges and continuous learning”, with their number one goal in the next ten years being to “continue building cool things”.

The good news for individuals hoping to move into the field is that the industry is growing fast, with an increasing demand for tech talent. 

Is software engineering a good career path?

If you have an affinity for problem-solving and a passion for technology, a career in software engineering might be an excellent fit for you. It is a dynamic field which combines elements of computer science, programming languages, and project management to create innovative solutions for a wide range of applications.

In today’s digital age, the demand for skilled software engineers is ever-growing. With technology permeating almost every aspect of our lives, the need for talented individuals who can design, develop, and maintain software systems is higher than ever before. This high demand translates into a robust job market and ample career opportunities for software engineers.

What are the career opportunities for a software engineer?

A software engineering degree opens the door to a variety of career paths, with many options available to specialise, diversify, and gain seniority throughout your career. 

Software Developer or Software Programmer

Software developers and software programmers tend to be responsible for writing, testing, and debugging code, and quality assurance to ensure new and existing software runs smoothly. Those in these roles need to be proficient in programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Python, and SQL. 

Front-End Developer

Those working as front-end developers focus on creating the user interface and user experience of software applications – the front of the app that a user sees and interacts with. For this role, candidates must have expertise in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Back-End Developer

A back-end developer works on the server-side logic, databases, and application functionality, making sure operating systems behind the scenes and screens of an app are behaving as they should for optimum efficiency. This role requires proficiency in programming languages like Java and Python, and in frameworks like Djando and Node.js. 

Full Stack Developer

Full stack developers combine both front-end and back-end development skills, and can work on the entire software development lifecycle.

DevOps Engineer

These roles focus on optimising the development and deployment of software development by ensuring seamless collaboration between stakeholders in the development and operations teams within a business.

Senior Software Engineer

This is a progression move for mid- and late-career stages. A senior software engineer leads development teams, guides junior team members, and contributes to architectural decisions. This role requires extensive experience and a broad skill set.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

A progression move for late-career, CTOs hold a leadership role, overseeing all technical aspects of a company. They require a deep understanding of different types of software systems and a strategic mindset.

Mentor or Instructor

Software engineers can become mentors or instructors after a few years of experience in the field. They share knowledge and expertise with aspiring software engineers, and will often teach at bootcamps, universities, or on online platforms.

What is the average salary of a software engineer?

One of the enticing aspects of a software engineering career is the high earning potential. According to Hired’s 2020 State of Software Engineers report, in 2019 the average salaries for top software engineering jobs went up by nearly 13% in London. 

The exact figure of software engineer salaries can vary based on factors such as location, level of experience, and specific industry, but Indeed puts the average salary for a software engineer in the UK at £50,557. 

Entry-level positions may have slightly lower salaries, but as you gain experience and if you specialise in in-demand technologies, your earning potential can increase significantly. Senior software engineers and those with specialised skills, such as machine learning or data science, often command even higher salaries.

What is the future of software engineering?

The future of software engineering looks exceptionally promising. As technology continues to evolve, so will the demand for skilled software engineers. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, and augmented reality are opening up new avenues for software development, and as the introduction of these technologies rises in workplaces, so too does the demand for skilled professionals with the knowledge to manage and maintain them.

One major driver of increased demand for software engineers is the switch many companies have made to remote work. A Forbes article states that in America alone, 12.7% of full-time employees currently work from home, and this is projected to grow to around 22% of the workforce by 2025. With more employees logging in remotely, the greater the demand for cloud computing is – software which is stored and owned on the internet and is accessible from anywhere at any time.

Many companies are also investing heavily in data science and data engineering – using algorithms to tailor their efforts to customers, making them more efficient and more likely to generate customers and sales by being as precise as possible. The employment rate for data scientists is projected to grow by 36% between 2021 and 2031, making it a future-proof career choice.

Unlocking your potential in software engineering

With a software engineering degree, you have the foundation to embark on a fulfilling and lucrative career. The diverse range of software engineering roles post-graduation, including software programming and front-end development, to the variety of late-career progression opportunities, including CTO and mentorship, ensures that there’s something for everyone in this field. Additionally, the ever-evolving nature of technology guarantees that you’ll always have the chance to learn and work with new technologies.

Investing in both technical skills and soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving will set you apart in the competitive software engineering landscape. 

Whether you’re looking to switch careers into this exciting field or if you want to advance your career into a specialised role, the 100% online MSc Computer Science with Software Engineering from the North Wales Management School can open many doors. 

You’ll study modules which cover software development for the web, mobile application development, and virtual and cloud computing amongst others, via our tailored online learning environment alongside peers. 

Taught part-time and around your current commitments, this master’s degree has been created with industry in mind to give you the up-to-date skills and knowledge you need to excel.