Working with a Software Engineer

software engineer The term software engineer may be a bit confusing for some people that don't have experience in dealing with the field of computer science and software development. Indeed, many people are not versed in really understanding how computers work, and simply go with using such pieces of advanced technology and taking this for granted.

Obviously, we can't really expect everyone to become an expert in these advanced, highly complex fields of computer science and software development. However, more often than not, some of us will have to deal with developing tools, websites or software for the company we work at (or own), and that's the reason why it's highly useful to know what a software engineer is/does, and how he/she can help us.

In a short description, computer software engineers are individuals that work on developing, designing, testing, and evaluating software and systems which further allow us to use computers properly. We might think that this description is a little too general but it really is meant to be like that; the reason is, a computer software engineer has to take a lot of things into account in order to develop the software properly, especially today with the high number of languages and layered complexity of software development.

In fact, a software engineer is usually very versed in performing mathematical tasks and analysis as well, including various algorithms, in order to find the best solutions for the development of software that needs to deal with our specific problems, and perform specific tasks efficiently.

Software engineers will be involved in most of the areas that have to deal with the development of software, especially when it comes to complex software such as operating systems and compilers. These tools work as intermediary layers between programs and the computer through converting programming codes into machine language. Of course, we will see computer software engineers engaged in the development of other applications, such as computer games, media applications, social media apps and business-oriented software.

When working with a software engineer the first thing that we might notice is that they will analyze our needs by breaking tasks into smaller, easier approachable ones. Indeed, developing software needs to be an organized, step-by-step approach. Having everything divided into small specific chunks helps in building programming code that can be easily followed and understood. Thus, it makes everything easier for the programmer or software engineer, helping to solve upcoming problems in the development of the software as it grows over time; and allows improve the program by adding new features in a proper fashion.

The most frequently used programming languages and scripting environments for software development are C, C++, JavaScript, PHP and Python, but there are thousands of other languages as well. Anyway - given that there are so many programming languages that can be used to do about the same thing, the task of the software engineer is to chose a tool properly, first of all. Then, to make an assessment of the exact operations that the software which he is developing has to perform, and build a schematic of the modules, blocks or routines that need to be written. As certain programming languages are better for certain specific tasks, deciding which is the right one and how to use it properly is a critical aspect in software development. Wrong choices at this stage might go bad on long term, and those are costly mistakes.

A computer software engineer also has to account for the technical aspects that need to be dealt with when developing software.

For example, he/she needs to fully optimize the program so as to make it able to run and easy to use on most computers, and compatible with different versions of operating systems. As an example of performance, if it would take 15 minutes for a program to start, especially nowadays when we are used to working with fast computers, that program would likely not be practical a all. The same thing would apply if a the software uses too many of the computer's resources, making the computer run slow and affecting the user's performance and enjoy-ability. Due to the need of a software engineer's to account properly for computer resources when designing programs, it's not uncommon for software engineers to also be engaged in the works that involve designing new hardware components.

The difference between getting a computer programmer to develop a certain program, and using a software engineer to do the same job instead, is that computer programmers will often be oriented in developing a software from the point of view of a specific programming language they are familiar with. On the other hand, a computer software engineer will be able to better assess the situation and make a proper development plan/design draft, and decide which programming language is best in the stack and is a fit with the end task. The choices have to be just right when developing programs and perhaps there will be need to work with different programmers and even using more than one development language. The reason is, certain tasks are done easier in a specific programming language; so either the right choice has to be made from the start, or, perhaps, a mix of different languages and executables or libraries might be used in the end, in order to reach the desired result.

In this article we have outlined what a software engineer does and how, as non-engineers, we can work and collaborate with them. Hopefully you have enjoyed our small article and the information above will be of help in your line of work. Thanks for reading!
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