Applications Software Engineers
software engineers analyze users' needs and design, construct, and
maintain general computer applications software or specialized utility
programs. These workers use different programming languages, depending
on the purpose of the program. The programming languages most often used
are C, C++, and Java, with Fortran and COBOL used less commonly. Some
software engineers develop both packaged systems and systems software or
create customized applications.
Computer Systems Software Engineers
Computer systems software engineers coordinate the construction and
maintenance of a company's computer systems and plan their future
growth. Working with the company, they coordinate each department's
computer needs -- ordering, inventory, billing, and payroll
recordkeeping, for example -- and make suggestions about its technical
direction. They also might set up the company's intranets -- networks
that link computers within the organization and ease communication among
the various departments.
Systems software engineers work for companies that configure, implement,
and install complete computer systems. These workers may be members of
the marketing or sales staff, serving as the primary technical resource
for sales workers and customers. They also may be involved in product
sales and in providing their customers with continuing technical
support. Since the selling of complex computer systems often requires
substantial customization for the purchaser's organization, software
engineers help to explain the requirements necessary for installing and
operating the new system in the purchaser's computing environment. In
addition, systems software engineers are responsible for ensuring
security across the systems they are configuring.
Note: Some resources in this section are provided by the US Department
of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.