What is a software engineer?

And why do you need one?

By Sharon Vaz

26 March 2021

3 min read

dark keys with fingers typing

Most people have heard of software engineers - how many of you could say what the role involves?

A software engineer is someone who develops software solutions using computer science principles.  These solutions are built to satisfy the needs of business users (and consumers). They create many types of solutions: Web applications, desktop & mobile applications, games, network systems etc.  They use their knowledge of programming languages, frameworks, databases and current technologies to turn ideas into a usable product.  Given how fast technology changes to excel in this career they need to keep their skills current.  

What are the skills a software engineer needs?

  • Coding & Programming.  

As one of the main components of the job is developing software solutions it’s no surprise that coding & programming are important.  The current most popular languages used in this role are Python, Java, Javascript, PHP & C#. Part of the role is continually reevaluating your skills and ensuring you are adept at the new technologies being developed.

  • Software development.

Software engineers need to be able to analyse their users needs and then design, test & develop software that adequately meets the needs of the users.  They also should be able to ensure that the product has been thoroughly tested and debugged before the project goes live.

  • Problem solving

Given the previous skill of software development, you can see that a software engineer needs to be able to solve problems & to come up with solutions before the client has even thought of the problem.  He needs to predict data performance bottlenecks and build a solution that addresses these.  He should he able to identify and implement improvements (eg automating manual precesses, improving data delivery etc)

  • Communication

One of the most important tasks a software engineer does is to be able to explain highly technical information to a layperson.  They need to understand what the person is asking and be able to talk them through the solution they came up with and why.

  • Teamwork

Soft Skills are important for software engineers as they have to often work in teams.  They need to be able to interact with everyone on the team - to take orders from others, deal with criticism and to show others what they need to do.  Part of the role is collaborating with product & business operations to translate business requirements and build robust solutions.  They also need to be comfortable working to (sometimes) tight deadlines.

At talent4gig we run coding challenges where you can: 

  • See how you compare on these skills if you want to be a software engineer 
  • Analyse how your software engineers compare - internally or externally
  • Find candidates who have the software engineer skills you need for your team

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