Masters in Software Engineering & Jobs


Masters in Software Engineering & Jobs

It's difficult to pinpoint a group of categories for jobs in software engineering because the field is so diverse. The United States Department of Labor divides the profession into two basic groups: application software engineers and systems software engineers. Applications engineers work in the field as described: they design and build computer applications ranging from new programs to be introduced commercially; to customized software applications meant to upgrade an existing program or modify it to meet unique needs. Most of the work in this segment is in the business sector where increasingly, database systems are at the core of business operations. Data programs manage customer relations, sales, finance and risk management among other functions. Software engineers working within a good-sized business environment can stay busy adapting existing database systems for expansion, global usage, or merging data from multiple sources.

Systems software engineers are responsible for the functions of a business or organization's network. A systems software engineer generally needs to be familiar with hardware configurations, router capacity, system design and the information assurance package that protects internal data. In many cases a systems software engineer becomes a de facto systems analyst, since software is the core of any computer system's functionality. In that capacity a systems software engineer delves into the data needs of each department within a business such as accounting, inventory, program management, personnel records, and so forth. To the degree that a corporation utilizes the Internet as a sales tool, the systems software engineer will be involved in designing those functions as well.

Here are the five possible types of jobs for software engineers.

1. Software Test Engineers are becoming a breed of their own. Software quality assurance is a much more expansive concept, incorporating the development and testing of new programs. A masters in software engineering program will generally make QA an academic centerpiece. But the software test engineer is at the heart of the quality assurance process and today it is an ongoing process. Software programs in a business or industrial environment are seldom stagnant. They are always changing: expanding, being upgraded, being replaced, or being modified. In each of those steps the test engineer plays a crucial role.

2. Mobile Software Architect is a hot profession at the moment. Software engineers working in the mobile space are employed in the most explosive electronics market segment in the world. The competition among Apple, the Android products and successful independents like RIM's Blackberry are turning out new products at a record rate. Along with the constant upgrade in features these instruments are also undergoing changes in network capacity that impacts the software as well.

3. Firmware Developer is a software engineer that writes low level programs for relatively small programming functions such as TV remotes or GPS systems. But there are significant opportunities in the field because microchips are finding their way into just about every household appliance and consumer device on the market. A typical automobile build today will have a dozen or more embedded programs. Working in this field often means devising a program that can be included in a microchip that becomes just another component of a consumer product. Graduates who have earned a software engineering degree online and are currently working as programmers may find this market an easy one to break into.

4. Platform Integration is work that an experienced systems software engineer might undertake for a large multinational or with a defense contractor. It's an advance level of software engineering; many employers will want to see some experience working with systems, and also certification. The IEEE has a Certified Software Development Professional program; for specific areas of specialization the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University offers some credentialing as well.

5. Compiler Software Engineers work in the esoteric field of developing programs that will translate code from one program or language into a form that will function on another platform. That is a simple explanation of some fairly complex career niches. A recent advertisement from video chip manufacturer NVIDIA was seeking a compiler engineer to work in an industry where product upgrades are an essential part of the PC and laptop development process. The job would entail creating software that allows old applications to function with new video drivers or develop programs that will operate new video chips in older computers with obsolete operating systems. While most graduate programs won't touch on this field, some of the online masters in software engineering programs offer certificates in compiler design as an academic addition.

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