Software engineering is one of the most valuable skills you can have in today’s job market. Many consider coding the universal language of the 21st century, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that jobs for software engineers will grow by 24% in the next ten years.
Beyond developer roles, software engineering skills are needed far beyond just coding jobs. It’s true that going into a junior developer role is a very common software engineering career path. But even the jobs for junior developers are diverse and varied across industries. And even traditional developers spend much of their time on tasks other than coding.
Below are the most popular software engineer career paths, with some anecdotes from our grads who have pursued such roles.
Software engineer career paths:
- Web Developer
- Mobile Developer
- Test / Quality Assurance Automation Engineer
- Technical Support Engineer
- Systems Engineer
- Machine Learning Engineer / Data Scientist
- Data Engineer
- Database Administrator
- Fintech professionals
- Project Manager
- Product Manager/Owner
- Scrum Master
Software engineer career paths: developer roles
Below are the common software engineer career paths that will use coding skills on the day-to-day basis. These job roles require strong skills in one or more programming languages, frameworks, databases and servers.
Web developers create websites and applications to present information and services online.
A Front-end, or client side web developer ensures that information is readable and engaging with a good user experience. Front-end web devs are interested in design, creating user interface (UI) and experience (UX). Major techs used by front-end web devs include:
- HTML – markup (where elements sit on a page).
- CSS – styling (what color those elements are)
- Bootstrap – CSS library to simplify styling. Makes things look nice and modern, fast.
- jQuery – JS library to simplify some JS requirements
- Angular – JS framework adding complex features allowing dependency injection
- React – JS framework for creating complex UI’s using reusable components
- MEAN / MERN – JS stacks (Mongo, Ember, Angular/React, Node)
Back-end, or server-side web developers ensure proper functionality, and that applications are quick to load across devices, internet connection speeds, and languages. Back-end web devs are interested in working with data, building complete products. Major techs used by back-end web devs include:
- Java – Compiled, object-oriented programming language
- Python – Interpreted, high-level, general-purpose programming language
- PHP – A bridge language that is widely used for web development
- Ruby – Interpreted, object-oriented programming language – simplicity
- Node.js – A server-side JS environment
- C – A very old (and fast) language that still pops it’s head up in kernel / embedded systems
- C++ – An older language that is still widely used for game development – memory management
- C# – Microsoft’s version of Java
- Databases – store and interact with data
- Scala, Cloture, Erlang, Haskell, Perl
Our Java bootcamp graduate Trevor received company sponsorship to come train with us in Bali, as they saw the value of training from within. He said:
“My manager saw the course content and outline and was very impressed with how it aligned closely with the technologies they used. I am now applying my coding knowledge at work and I feel that the course prepared me very well.”
Mobile developers build applications for Apple and Android mobile operating systems. They ensure that the same application works seamlessly across different screen sizes, operating system versions, and platforms. Mobile devs are interested in design, creating user interface (UI) and experience (UX), as well as full-stack functionality. Major techs used by mobile developers include:
- Objective-C / Swift – used for Apple iOS devices
- Apple Xcode – the toolkit for developing native mobile apps in Swift
- iOS SDK – an application programming interface (API) that links software applications and the platform they run on
- Java – used for developing Android mobile applications
- Kotlin – used for developing Android mobile applications
- Android Studio & Android Developer Tools – used for code editing, debugging, performance tooling, a flexible build system, and an instant build/deploy system.
Test / Quality Assurance Automation Engineer
Quality assurance engineers are responsible for catching bugs in the code and ensuring that the codebase is of high quality. Especially for software engineers who are completely new to coding, starting as a testing / QA engineer is a great foot in the door to continue building technical skills while working directly on software engineering projects.
Our Java graduate Meaghan went to work as a Testing Automation Engineer and said:
“I’m now a little over a month in and feel so much more comfortable with everything. They’ve been really great about acknowledging the fact that I want to be a developer, and last week the Java devs on my team invited me to one of their weekly meetings where they share interesting/need to know code stuff they’ve come across, so that was awesome.”
Technical Support Engineer
Technical support engineers work between customer service, technical support (IT) and software engineering (bug fixing, log reviewing/reporting). These engineers often act as the middle man between clients, consumers, and developers, who handle and manage support tickets. Job duties include fixing bugs/issues, and reporting / relaying information to developers where issues need to be addressed.
Our Java bootcamp graduate Ashley works as a technical support engineer, and said:
“It’s a great position for me to utilize my past experience with customer service and continue to grow in the new field of software engineering, that [CodingNomads] has so graciously given me the opportunity and tools to excel in! With the position, I literally work alongside software engineers, so it’s a great medium to get a bit more experience in this “whole new world” and become familiar with [the company’s] system and operations.”
Systems engineers create systems that are a blend of hardware and software. They focus on issues in the design and creation of systems, such as requirements, reliability, performance, maintenance, and logistics.
Software engineer career paths: data-specific roles
Machine Learning Engineer / Data Scientist
Data scientists use mathematical, statistics and machine learning algorithms to solve critical business problems through data analysis, visualization and manipulation. By clearly explaining their findings in the data, they help businesses can make informed decisions, and track the impact of those decisions.
Our Python graduate Laura said after attending our Python bootcamp:
“As an experienced data analyst, I figured Python was a good next step towards data science (plus I wanted to travel!) – now I feel confident this was the right step for me!”
Data engineers prepare the data to be consumed by data scientists. Some of their duties include extracting data from the source, cleaning the data, transforming the data into readable formats, and storing the data so it can be accessed and used by others in an efficient manner.
Database administrators design and maintain databases. Some of their duties include troubleshooting issues with the database, recovering data, and creating access control protocols. Databse administrators must be familiar with database theory, and have a thorough working knowledge of technologies like SQL, MySQL, Microsoft SQL and more.
Software engineer career paths: non-developer roles
Many of our students are interested to build their own products, or hire a development team to do so. Understanding the full software development design and delivery process is critical for entrepreneurs who want to effectively build products.
Bloomberg recently wrote about MBA programs incorporating technical learning tracks into their curriculum to bridge the gap between managers and technical employees. With large educational institutions starting to teach entrepreneurs how to not only talk – but walk the technical walk, it’s clear the value that tech skills bring to business leaders.
Our graduate Ras is a serial entrepreneur who has started 5 companies and sold 3. After attending our Python training program, he said:
“I am left in awe of the fact that I am actually now capable of building the complex trading platform I have set out to do. Not only that, but I have a bunch of new friends that you would normally only get after spending years together in college.”
Fintech is a booming industry, and software development skills are becoming more and more necessary to make financial systems modern and secure. Beyond development however, engineering skills are helpful for accountants, financial analysts and more to study, understand, and make informed decisions on the financial data they have to work with.
Our graduate Duncan attended our Java coding bootcamp and said:
“Having the groundwork in place has now helped with my job as an accountant [to] come up with new innovative ways in which the business can stay on top of the ever evolving tech environment.”
Project managers liaise between project development teams and the business management or client to deliver a project – from planning to procurement to the execution. Project managers benefit from having software engineering knowledge and skills to effectively plan and oversee engineers throughout the project lifecycle.
Because project managers act as the first point of contact for any hiccups with the project, they need to be able to think on their toes and effectively manage problems as they arise.
Some project managers are also more hands-on with projects, like our our graduate Robert – a project manager for a construction company in the Netherlands. Robert attended our Python bootcamp with the specific goal of building an application to calculate disruptions to road users during construction projects. He said:
“I used everything you [taught] me! 🙂 From Git to Django. I’ve got it running on AWS. I use pandas to deal with the mathematical logic. [Previously we used] some hideous Excel file, which nobody understands how to use. Mine is very straight forward.”
Product owners oversee vision for the product. They need to effectively convey that vision to the development team, so the team understands the priorities of what needs to be built. Product managers need to understand the market, the customer and the business, so they can articulate why the product needs to evolve in a certain way. Just like project managers, by understanding the software engineering and delivery process, product managers can effectively plan and coordinate between technical and leadership teams.
Our graduate Arno attended our Python bootcamp as he was transitioning from a project manager to a product owner position. He said:
“The knowledge I gained during the course today helped me to move into a Product Owner role. It allows me to dive one level deeper into roadmap and refinement discussions working with the architects and team.”
A scrum master facilitates the development process for an Agile development team. Some of their duties include removing obstacles that are impeding the team’s progress, and helping the team reach consensus for what can be achieved during a specific period.
Our Java bootcamp graduate Cristian was an accomplished scrum master, but wanted to learn hard technical skills to work more integratively on projects. By learning software engineering skills, Cristian was able to bridge his interests in scrum, devops and big data engineering. He said:
“I ended up getting an offer…in fact, it was exactly what I wanted, I ended working in Data Engineering! …I could never have succeeded at getting a job and doing so well if it had not been for the bootcamp so, thank you so much!!!!”
Software engineer salaries
As we all know, software engineers are some of the highest-paid professionals worldwide. The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the median salary of software engineers in the United States at $88,000 per year. Below are median salaries by software engineer career paths in the US, followed by a graphic for average salaries around the world.
Software engineer salaries in the US
Data source: Payscale
Software engineer salaries around the globe
Will coding be your next language to speak?
Are you considering learning to code to pursue any of these various software engineer career paths? The best way is to see if you like it for free. You can get started learning core software engineering fundamentals for free on our online learning platform. You can also get in touch if you have any questions about these career paths, or other ideas you have around coding!