Jan 25, 2022 Design

What Does a Software Engineer Do on a Daily Basis?

What Does a Software Engineer Do on a Daily Basis?

When someone mentions software engineers, do you first think of Bill Gates or Steve Jobs?

Not many people know that a software engineer isn't just the mind behind a computer program. Their job involves a lot of creativity and responsibility. They need to ensure that everything runs smoothly and efficiently, especially if they work on demanding software.

Considering they create different types of solutions, software engineers need to assume a different approach to satisfy the needs of consumers and businesses. Depending on their role, they will create network systems, operating systems, robots, games, web, and mobile apps.

Keep reading to discover what it's like being a software engineer!

Software Engineer: who they are and what they do

Behind every computer program, there is the clever mind of a software engineer. Their project starts with a simple question: "how do you plan to use this software?" First, they need to identify the core functionality users require from software.

On top of everything, a software engineer should focus on user requirements that are not related to the functions of the software, like performance needs and security level. In essence, software engineers design programs and then provide instructions to programmers who write codes and test software further.

If a program doesn't perform as expected or testers find it challenging to use, software engineers need to go back to the design process to fix the problem.

The main responsibilities of a software engineer:

  • Analyzing users' needs, then designing, testing, and developing programs to satisfy those needs.
  • Putting all the pieces together to create an application or a program.
  • Recording every aspect of a system or an application to maintain it and upgrade it in the future.
  • Creating diagrams and models that guide programmers and show them what code is needed for an application.
  • Ensuring that programs run smoothly and efficiently through various testing and maintenance methods.
  • Working with other software specialists to generate the best results.

Is software engineering real engineering?

This question requires a slightly different approach because not every developer is a software engineer, just like not every person working in construction is an engineer. An engineer has a unique set of skills, and software engineers can understand all processes and lifecycles of a project.

With that being said, we could say that software engineering is real engineering. Still, many people who write code aren't engaged in software engineering.

This is the problem of this profession. For example, not everyone working with electricity will be an electrical engineer; many will be electricians. The big mistake is that we interchangeably use terms like software developer, software engineer, and programmer.

Many would argue that software development doesn't belong to the engineering process. Instead, they say this is a flexible and free-form creative journey. People who create software are believed to be artists who take pride in what they do, not only completing tasks.

Software engineers: a day in the life

Their typical day involves a lot of coding, and they don't spend a lot of time fixing technical issues. Usually, software engineers manage several projects, work with coworkers, and develop new codes.

In most cases, they will start with emails early in the morning, design discussions, status reports, bugs, and other queries. Somewhere around noon, they will pick up coding where they left off yesterday. Software engineers will take occasional breaks, including searching the web for more information about the problem they are facing at the moment.

In the afternoon, once a week, the entire development team will have a status meeting, including quality assurance staff, project manager, and developers. After that, they will resume coding until the end of the working day.

Depending on the company, they may leave the office around 6 PM. Even though a typical day depends on a project, 30% of engineers' time is occupied by meetings where they discuss functionality and design specs.

How many hours do software engineers work?

According to many surveys, a typical software engineer works eight hours per day. However, these hours may vary and, in most cases, are longer in startups and more highly paid positions. In some companies, engineers work four days a week, or 32 hours.

General working conditions significantly vary, and tech companies are more progressive, with flexible working hours, remote working, and convenient perks. People usually mention Google as one of the best places to work in the world because they have this type of working culture.

Additionally, remote working offers engineers many opportunities for flexible working conditions, improving their lives in the best possible way.

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On the other hand, we have to face reality. Like any other profession, these people work many hours every week. Perhaps they are working for their own company and pushing hard to make it successful, or they might be hoping for a raise, better working conditions, or something else.

Based on some estimates, nearly 75% of software engineers work less than 45 hours per week, clocking in on average 41.5 hours per week. So, their job isn't any different from other jobs or industries. Additionally, nearly 38% of software engineers code after hours.

Is being a software engineer fun?

Anyone working in this industry will tell you that software engineering is incredibly fun. If you are considering this to be your future career, working in this field is fun and exciting, but at the same time, very challenging.

No one wants to be stuck working a job you hate for 40 hours a week. Many people are under a false impression that coding and software engineering is only for geniuses, which isn't true. It's more about acquiring new skills and learning new things. Even though it requires hard work and dedication, genuine love for this profession can change your perspective.

Often, creating new software seems like solving a new puzzle. You can manipulate every piece you have in a limited number of ways. It's your job to take your client's vision and turn it into reality, and that's the most interesting part of this job.

If this is something you might be looking forward to mastering, don't miss a chance to do a job that offers you many things.

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