What is Software Engineering?

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Posting date: 11 December 2023

Do you know what a Software Engineer is? 

Software engineering is generally described as the design, development, testing and maintenance of software applications to address real-world problems. It follows a structured and disciplined approach, adhering to engineering principles and best practices with the goal to improve the quality, efficiency in terms of time and budget, and ensure structured testing and engineer certification in software development. 

Software Engineering job titles

There are a wide range of job titles within the software engineering industry given the vast amount of languages, tools and technologies involved. The most common job titles within this sector are:
●        Software Developer
●        Software Engineer
●        Software Architect
●        Technical Architect
●        Analyst Programmer
●        Full Stack Developer
From the above roles, businesses can promote you to positions such as a senior software engineer, manager or even head of department.

Programming languages for Software Engineers

Given how quickly the technology world is expanding, software engineering is an ever-changing landscape with new languages and tools being created almost every day.

There are a number of programming languages used by software engineers every single day. The most common programming languages we see are:
●        Java
●        Python
●        Javascript
●        C++
●        C#
●        SQL

Salary ranges for Software Engineers

Salary ranges for a software engineer will vary depending on the company you are working for as well the type of contract you have for your role.

Harvey Nash recruits for both permanent and contract developers and the salary/daily rate ranges are usually (but not exclusively) within the ranges below:

Permanent Roles: Salaries starting from £40,000 up to £150,000
Contract Roles: Daily rates starting from £400 to £1,000 per day

Generally, most software developers start their career in permanent roles and will move into the contracting world once they have 5-10 years of experience depending on their experience and opportunities.

Perks of the role 

A common question that gets asked by any software engineer is about the work from home (WFH)/hybrid working policy for a particular role.

Generally speaking, the majority of developers we speak to look to work from home as much as possible or indeed fully remote if possible.

This is due to the fact that most developers have better setups at home and also like to “plug-in” with minimal distractions, given the nature of the work.

Other benefits offered are usually standard within industry such as:
●        Private Healthcare/Dental
●        Pension contribution (non-contributory/matched)
●        Annual leave (+ ability to purchase/sell additional days
●        Vouchers/allowance for online/personal learning & development
●        Gym membership
●        Bonus (Discretionary)

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Team dynamics and inclusion for Software Engineers
Teams nowadays tend to work as “Agile” teams, consisting of developers, testers, business analysts and product or scrum masters.

Software engineering teams are usually very multicultural with developers coming to the UK from all areas of the world given how mature the technology landscape is in the UK, especially London.

Software engineering as a whole, has historically been a very male dominated industry but recently, we’ve seen the number of female candidates in the market increase year on year which is really encouraging.

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Career progression for a Software Engineer

There are lots of ways in which software engineers can progress their careers and often the CIO’s/CTO’s of organisations have worked their way up from being hands on engineers, to leading the technology strategy of the company. A typical progression route example is as follows: Junior Developer to Software Developer to Senior Developer to Lead Developer to Engineering Manager to Head of Engineering. 

Current trends in the Software Engineering industry

Currently, we’re seeing that Python is the most in demand skill set closely followed by Java and Javascript.

We believe lots of companies are choosing Python for newer projects because it’s easy to learn and work with, as well as being extremely versatile.

We’re also seeing companies regularly looking for “full-stack” developers for their positions, which means candidates need experience in both front-end and back-end programming languages.

The use of “Devops” principles is also a skillset that is becoming a “must-have” for senior level developers, with the use of containerisation tools such as Docker or Kubernetes being the most popular.

Cloud engineering is another skill which is being asked for on a regular basis, with Azure being the current most popular platform followed by AWS and GCP.

Summary

Overall the scope of software engineering as a specialism is expected to advance as new technologies are introduced as we have seen with artificial intelligence. Businesses are constantly looking for more sophisticated solutions and we're finding Software Engineers are still in high demand. 

For more insights, advice, or to explore available roles, feel free to get in touch with me via Email- Alexander.Reeder@HarveyNash.com or LinkedIn, or visit our website www.harveynash.co.uk for the latest roles and networking events.

Author: Alexander Reeder, Managing Consultant, Financial Services

As an experienced Managing Consultant I predominantly recruit for high-level software engineers within a broad range of financial services companies, such as investment banks, asset managers, fintechs and insurers. Whilst I specialise in hands-on software engineering, I also have experience recruiting for test engineers, UI/UX/service design and software development/engineering managers. 

If you’d like to speak further about Software Engineering then please get in touch.

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