Computers and I.T have become essentials in our everyday lives and in the business world. Most operations we carry out would have been impossible without them. However, computers run on software programs, and as computer and information technology continue to advance, there is a continuous needfulness to develop new software.

Software engineering is the application of solid engineering principles to all aspects of software development. The ultimate aim is to develop premium software at low cost.  Most of the products we depend on today would not have been able to operate or exist without software. Software supports computing applications in various fields of life including military, medical, aerospace, business, communications, business and gaming fields. 

A software engineer is one who applies engineering principles to develop co-operative software. They specialize in either computer software systems or computer software. The major difficulty of a software engineer is converting an existing human process into workable code.  They must however first understand the critical needs of their clients to ensure this.

Software engineering can be broadly classified into two divisions which are computer applications engineering and computer systems engineering, which includes some sub-disciplines such as requirements engineering, software construction, software design, software testing and software quality management.

Anyone considering an area of specialization in computing should seriously consider software engineering. It is a very lucrative field with applications in numerous platforms. Software engineers are one of the top earners. Those with additional qualifications and key achievements earn near seven digits salaries, while those that are fortunate to work in very big companies may earn more.

As long as computers remain relevant in human affairs, the demand for specialists in software engineering will continue to soar. In fact the inclusion of computing power to tablets and smartphones has resulted in a renewed need for more applicants. Recent studies show that jobs for software developers are estimated to rise by 30 percent through year 2020, with more than 143, 000 vacancies.

Education and Certification
Anyone who desires to become a specialist in the field should have a background degree in computer science, information technology, (MIS) management information system, mathematics or engineering. There are also some certificate courses in programming. Computing Careers reported that university programmes offering specialization in software engineering involve modules in problem modeling and analysis, software design, verification and validation, software quality, process and management and maintenance. 

There are some national institutes (societies) such as Software Engineering Institute, Canadian Information Processing Society and British Computer Society, and I.T companies which offer or sponsor certificate courses on specific areas such as security and software architecture.


Expected Skills
Good software engineers are expected to possess impressive interpersonal skills as they will need to form strong liaison between clients and software development team. They are also required to learn how to produce good documentation, database and processes for computing. A detailed definition of the fields and requisite skills and qualifications are contained in the Guide to Software Engineering Body of Knowledge – SWEBOK (2014), with an updated version released in 2014.

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