Would you like a career as a Software Engineer? Jobulo talks to Paul Taylor, a Freelance Software Engineer, to find out what exactly a Software Engineer does and to find out some career advice for hopeful candidates.
Have You Worked in the Industry for Long?
I joined the industry in 1998. I went to university before this and when I got into the industry I did a few different jobs before working for a US based Internet Service Provider. I worked on software development before going freelance. I then worked for a variety of design agencies and a few years ago I re-entered the contract market.
Tell Us About The Job?
The main role is turning a set of requirements into a software system. You will start a project by talking to customers and understanding their requirements. Then when you get the job specification you can then start the development of the system. Throughout this phase you need to make a lot of technical notes and although the customer may not understand them they are vital for any other developers working on the project. You then are responsible for writing the system and programming it.
Do You Need Specific Qualifications?
Not necessarily although it would be advantageous. I know people in the industry who don’t have a degree although I know in some circumstances if you don’t have a degree you could be automatically excluded from some positions.
What Advice Can You Share?
I would say that if you are looking to get into the industry it has to be because you have a genuine interest and passion for technology. If you are trying to get into the industry purely for the money you will be miserable and will always play second best to someone who has a genuine passion for what they do. The hours are long so you need to be dedicated. If you don’t want to go down the university route then I would suggest working on community projects in the Open Source movement as if you complete a good project it will lead to opportunities.
What Is The Most Crucial Thing to Include on a CV?
I think including relevant technical skills and demonstrating how you have used them is essential. As many organisations use recruitment companies to help them find talent it’s also vital to include key words on your CV as many recruiters use these to narrow down their candidate lists.