What do you do as a computer software engineer?

I’ve been looking up jobs working with programming, and it appears that Computer Software Engineering will be one of the fastest growing occupations in coming years. I’ve also been learning to program for a short while, and I would love to have a career in it. So, what exactly would you do as a CSE? Like, for instance, at Google. What tasks do you do there? Or, at Apple. What specific things do you do regularly? I know that debugging programs is one task CSEs do a lot.

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One Response to What do you do as a computer software engineer?

  1. yttriumox says:

    I’m a software “designer/engineer”, so my job covers a bit of both sides of the fence. In general though, a “software engineer” is very different to what we affectionately call “code-monkeys” (more generally simply called “programmers”).
    Whether you do design like I do or not, a software engineer spends at most 75% of his time coding, and 25% of his time on other things (often closer to 50%/50% though). Those things may include debugging, but in a reasonable sized team, you’ll probably delegate that off to a code-monkey. More likely, you’ll also spend time attending meetings with marketing people to make sure the product is still proceeding on the right track from a market perspective; attending meetings with the legal department to discuss the oddities of different licensing models for different components that you’re using; and spending more time than you’d like acting as a defacto helpdesk for the people that are sick of talking to the actual IT helpdesk in the company.
    As you say you’re just starting out – honestly, you’re more likely than not to be a code-monkey for at least 3 or 4 years before becoming a software engineer. Some companies call all their programmers “software engineers” but in the real world, there is a very big difference.

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