There are software developers, and then there are software engineers. What’s the difference? In reality, not much; both are responsible for using software code and software languages to find solutions for real-life problems and real-life needs. Through automation, digital execution, and manipulation of data, software engineers and developers create solutions that help make things work in terms of business, entertainment, history, communications, security, and a whole lot more.
The Basic Requirements
In many ways, a software engineer is a master of languages. However, instead of being a multi-linguist between people of countries and cultures, he or she is a translator of human want to machine code. The electronics and computers we use every day use a form of instruction known as machine code. Most commonly referred to as 0s and 1s, machine code is extremely long, hard to understand, and not practical for human logic or problem-solving. So, instead, software engineers use higher languages that we recognize as software or programming languages to communicate with machines. With the use of a compiler, software programming is translated to machine code, which computers understand. They then act, wait, respond, or change as instructed per the code provided and compiled. Understanding the nature of this universe, as well as how to manipulate it, is the job of a software engineer.
Estimates of Career Need
According to the federal government through its Department of Labor, there are now some 1.4 million software engineers working and operating in the U.S. as of 2021. The need is so great that this domestic workforce is additionally bolstered by similar software engineers working overseas and delivering digital services to American companies via Internet access and cloud sharing of work products. The demand only continues to grow in the U.S., and it has yet to be met by domestic resources alone. In fact, the gap between available engineers as domestic employees and the industry needs continues to expand, not shrink. As a result, anyone thinking about a career as a software engineer has a wide-open opportunity ahead of him or her.
The Traditional Academic Path and Ad Hoc Learning
Not everyone is a school-oriented learner, however. A whole school of programmers has existed who have been, essentially, self-taught. They accomplish multiple small-level projects, create startups, and have found great success with ad hoc programming combined with Internet-based platforms. It’s this second group that has developed much of what is considered cutting-edge work, and the first group typically adopts it, translates the new concepts into new levels of programming, and standardizes it for commercial usage.
Alternative Options for a Software Engineer Career
Recognizing that additional outlets were needed to help meet the need for trained software engineers, LearningFuze began to develop training programs and intense immersion course paths for students who wanted to learn software programming from a work application perspective, not a traditional academic path. That meant, instead of spending countless hours on generic college courses for general education, these students could focus their training time entirely on software programming and intense practice of the same.
As a result, the program produces, through a concentrated path, graduates who are ready to work and program in a company or corporate environment. Whether they are thrown into an Internet of Things thinktank, playing out new sandbox ideas in Python, or standardizing the C++ code sections of a large program project with a development team, there is little downtime to start up training and, instead, lots of production right away in coding. It’s exactly what today’s tech companies want and need to keep up with the rapid pace of digital product development.
Expect Ongoing Training
One thing is certain in the programming world: ongoing language and tool learning is a must. Software engineers spend a considerable amount of time annually learning new developments and languages as they come online and find applications in different industries. At the same time, engineers are still producing their current products and revising them as needed as well. It’s a balancing act that relies heavily on good resources for additional training. No surprise, LearningFuze also sees regularly returning alumni seeking to broaden their capabilities and keep up with system language changes as they happen.
While it’s quite possible to go back to school, most system engineers are too busy with work schedules to accommodate another two years of more learning. So, instead, intense boot camp training programs are sought after for deep dives into new programming tools. With four or eight weeks of heavy training, they come out with added skillsets and capabilities layered on top of the engineer’s already notable capabilities.
A Hard-Working, Rewarding Path
No one will ever say being a systems engineer is a walk in the park. It takes a lot of work to get to the functional level of a working software developer, and then it takes more work to stay there competently. That said, tools like those provided by LearningFuze can make it easier for those wanting a first-time direct path into the tech industry, for those looking to change careers and try programming, and for those needing ongoing learning refreshers and boot camp-intensive additions in language training. To find out more, click here. And the rewards continue to pay dividends for successful graduates in all types of software development areas.