One of the most popular professions in IT in terms of numbers employed, software engineers are responsible for the design and implementation of a variety of software solutions. The skills of software engineers are called upon when operational problems are encountered with computer programs and applications. They might also be involved in the design and testing of anything from computer games and business applications, to operating systems and advanced software.
The work undertaken by software engineers tends to be of a highly complex and technical nature, and involves the application of computer science and mathematics in an environment that is constantly evolving as a result of technological advances. Depending on the type of organisation, software engineers can become either systems or applications specialists.
Typical work activities include analysing user requirements, researching, designing and writing new software programs, testing new programs and fault finding, evaluating software, working with computer coding languages, maintaining systems, working closely with other staff and continually updating technical knowledge and skills by attending courses, reading manuals and accessing new applications. There can be some pressure to meet deadlines, and extra hours may be required. Typical employers of software engineers include software firms, IT consultancies and electronics and telecommunications companies.