Becoming A Software Engineer
A software engineer career can take two very different paths. The most common is a computer applications software engineer. Applications engineers are responsible for creating, developing and maintain both basic computer applications and specialized utility programs. The languages used include the C language group, including C++, C# ( or C Sharp), and the Visual variations of these, Java, FORTRAN, COBOL and others. Software engineers must begin by determining the users specific needs and then developing the program to fit those specific needs. Application engineers must be capable of not only developing many different types of software applications but they must also have the ability to work closely with team members who might come from different departments within the company, like sales and marketing, inventory and ordering, billing and even payroll, and, because rapid and accurate communication is always vital, a software engineer must also have a very good working relationship with the companies IT department.
The second path can be said to be very similar to applications development with the exception of the type of program these engineers develop. Instead of designing programs that work on specific functions, like work productivity suites, search engines or video games, systems software engineers design, develop and maintain the operating systems that allow the user to communicate with the computers hardware in a way that it can understand. A computers operating system takes off from the time the computer is turned on by presenting a user interface that allows the user to communicate with the central processing unit and to call forth the various applications that they user will need to be productive. A computer can be compared to a symphony orchestra, with the various musicians being the applications which are directed by the Conductor or operating system. If he conductor has no musicians we have no music and without direction the musicians will not be able to bring together complex musical compositions.
There are also embedded computer software engineers, working in the software engineer career track, who work in developing both operating systems and applications for embedded computers. Taking a look at the smart phone in your hand will give you a good idea of an embedded computer systems. The phone has many applications that allow you to make calls and send text messages, but there are also many other applications in these phones and all of then are directed by the phones operating system. Some computer systems, like the United States Air Traffic Control System, will contain both standard applications and operating systems and their embedded counterparts, melded into an extremely complex system that needs to operate at peak performance.
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