Software Engineer Job Description

What does a software engineer do?

As technology becomes increasingly complex and we rely more on mobile technology, opportunities for software engineers are sky-rocking. New industries, start-ups, and established businesses all need competent and innovative software engineers to take their businesses to greater heights.

Software engineering is an offshoot of computer science and is involved in the design, development and production of computer software. Software engineers work with their clients or employers to create customised systems. They can develop everything from operating systems and middleware to network control systems. Their work depends on the business's needs and the desired end results.

Jobs are spread out across a variety of industries: technology, aeronautics, finance, and healthcare are just a few. No matter the industry, software engineers are there to develop software that will benefit the business and meet any needs it may have. In short, their job is to design, create, and perform upkeep on software systems throughout a business.

Software engineer responsibilities

  • Analyse and identify needs by investigating problem areas and implementing user feedback to develop software that meets those needs
  • Design and implement new software programs and systems and develop and modify existing programs as needed
  • Develop, test, and refine code before communicating it to others involved with the project
  • Integrate existing software and ensure that all systems are compatible
  • Communicate information through code, diagrams, flowcharts, layouts, and other documentation
  • Evaluate company software and systems; install necessary software and other programming
  • Maintain operational systems by continuously monitoring and fixing any problems
  • Work closely with other employees on projects
  • Stay up-to-date on new technologies by performing research, attending courses, etc.

What skills does a software engineer need to have?

Software engineers need to have a variety of skills in order to be successful in the workplace. This includes not only job-related technical skills but interpersonal traits as well.

  • A knowledge of programming languages (SQL, C++, Java, etc.)
  • The ability to create and read diagrams, flowcharts, and other documents pertaining to coding/programming
  • Thorough understanding of software structures, hardware, computing systems and how to integrate them
  • A knowledge of software testing techniques, code optimisation and software debugging
  • An ability to function under high stress stemming from tight deadlines and long hours
  • The ability to work effectively alone or in a team
  • The ability to approach a problem analytically, creatively, and logically
  • Attention to detail, meticulous and well-organised
  • The ability to communicate clearly and effectively with users, colleagues and managers to share ideas in a simple and precise manner
  • Interpersonal skills such as conflict management, empathy, leadership, effective listening, negotiation and positivity
  • A desire to achieve more, a strong work ethic and a willingness to learn new skills and improve current ones

What qualifications does a software engineer need to have?

While it is possible to find a software engineering job before obtaining a relevant degree, the success rate is dependent on the candidate's coding skills and experience.

Software engineer candidates are generally considered more hireable if they have obtained a degree or further study in a related field. Computer science, computer software, information technology, electronics and maths are all relevant fields of study that will assist a software engineer in their duties.

Companies generally prefer candidates to have an undergraduate qualification, usually in IT, as well as hands-on experience. This can be gained through internships, freelance work, or even hobby projects. After graduating or being hired for a software engineering job, candidates should still work on honing their skills and adding to their knowledge by reading industry-related books and articles and attending relevant conferences, seminars, and courses.

Certifications for software engineers are also available through the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Obtaining a Certified Software Development Associate (CSDA) or a Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) certification shows employers that the candidate is involved in furthering their education.

What is the career path for a software engineer?

Technology is growing rapidly and so are the opportunities for software engineers. There are ample ways for a software engineer to advance to senior management roles, making it a great career for candidates that are eager to develop leadership qualities.

Junior roles

  • Junior Software Engineer
  • Software Engineer

Management roles

  • Lead Software Engineer
  • Technical Engineer
  • Software Architect
  • Senior Software Architect
  • Senior Software Engineer
  • Engineering Project Manager

Senior management roles

  • Chief Technical Officer
  • Chief Architect
  • Vice President of Engineering
  • Engineering Fellow

How much does a software engineer earn?

The average salary for software engineers in Australia can be as much as AUD 170k per year in a permanent role, dependent on experience and seniority. [Estimates are based on information obtained on Glassdoor.com and Indeed.com]

While average salaries vary from city to city, in general, software engineers earn:

  • Junior software engineers average AUD 25/hr across Australia
  • Software engineers average AUD 26-27/hr across Australia
  • Senior software engineers average AUD 65/hr across Australia

Sydney

Permanent (AUD/000)
Contracting (AUD/hr)
Junior Software Developer
43 – 77
n/a
Software Engineer
75 – 100
n/a
Lead Software Engineer
100 – 152
n/a
Senior Software Engineer
98 – 133
n/a
Software Architect
115 – 163
n/a
Senior Software Architect
118 – 150
n/a
Engineering Project Manager
68 – 162
n/a
Vice President of Engineering
160 – 170
n/a
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
138 – 264
n/a

Brisbane

Permanent (AUD/000)
Contracting (AUD/hr)
Junior Software Developer
45 – 66
n/a
Software Developer/Engineer
55 – 93
n/a
Senior Software Engineer
89 – 125
n/a
Lead Software Engineer
99 – 161
n/a
Software Architect
115 – 163
n/a
Senior Software Architect
141 – 155
n/a
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
100 – 216
n/a

Perth

Permanent (AUD/000)
Contracting (AUD/hr)
Junior Software Engineer
68 – 70
n/a
Software Engineer
60 – 93
n/a
Senior Software Engineer
99 – 123
n/a
Lead Software Engineer
135 – 208
n/a
Software Architect
115 – 163
n/a
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
100 – 262
n/a

Melbourne

Permanent (AUD/000)
Contracting (AUD/hr)
Junior Software Developer
45 – 73
n/a
Software Engineer
55 – 103
n/a
Senior Software Engineer
97 – 136
n/a
Lead Software Engineer
91 – 167
n/a
Software Architect
115 – 163
n/a
Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
146 – 265
n/a

Newcastle

Permanent (AUD/000)
Contracting (AUD/hr)
Junior Software Engineer
45 – 66
n/a
Software Engineer
55 – 103
n/a
Senior Software Engineer
95 – 140
n/a
Software Architect
115 – 163
n/a

This salary guide is a compilation of salary and market information provided by Hudson consultants, clients, candidates and other sources across Australia. Information was gathered by drawing on the extensive knowledge of our specialist recruitment consultants across Hudson's specialist practice groups. Salary ranges are approximate guides only.

They relate to base salaries and exclude superannuation/bonuses/incentive schemes/stock options.

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Our software engineering recruitment specialists

Our consultants know what good looks like when it comes to software engineers. Whether you are looking to hire or to place yourself in a new role, we are here to help.

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Murray Reordan

Manager - Development & Infrastructure

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Sebastian Kowaleczko

Principal Consultant – Technology & Digital

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Brett Elliott

Manager – Project Services

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Dana Spasenoska

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Belinda Mertin

Managing Consultant – Human Resources

What computer coding languages are the most important for a software engineer to understand?

The more coding languages a software engineer understands, the more hireable they will be. However, because there are hundreds of programming languages out there, it can be difficult to learn them all. There are a handful of languages that every software engineer should master early on.

  • Java
  • SQL
  • Javascript
  • C++
  • Python

What is the difference between computer engineering and software engineering?

Both computer and software engineering deal with understanding hardware and software and how they work together. Computer engineering, however, places more of a focus on computer systems while software engineering deals more with software systems. Software engineers must understand the entire software development process in depth from the beginning to the end.

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