What Are the Different Types of Computer Software Jobs?

Keith Koons

There are many different types of computer software jobs available in the world today and many of them are considered to have excellent long-term outlooks. With almost any software degree, entry level employees can easily find computer software jobs in programming, server maintenance, security, or a number of other promising fields. A number of different software engineering fields also seek highly-specialized technicians to work on projects ranging from video games and iPhone™ applications to government weapons systems and infrastructure innovations.

The creation of iPhone® applications is one of the jobs that a specialized software engineer can perform.
The creation of iPhone® applications is one of the jobs that a specialized software engineer can perform.

The most common computer software jobs deal with making new computer programs from the ground up, which requires a lot more man hours than most consumers would expect. A simple personal computer (PC) software title that allows users to write a letter, for example, may take a team of programmers a month or more to develop and six months on top of that for working out the numerous glitches. Some of the more graphic-intensive video games could keep 30 software engineers busy for five years, so companies are constantly looking for new talent.

A person working as a computer technician normally has advanced training within the field.
A person working as a computer technician normally has advanced training within the field.

Application software is another large field when it comes to computer software jobs. These types of computer technicians cover a much broader spectrum of programming and administrative tasks, ranging from common troubleshooting and customer service to implementing new software features for businesses. A person working as a computer technician normally has advanced training within the field as well, often up to a master's degree in computer science or information technology. Then again, anyone working within this field will continually attend training courses and seminars to keep up with emerging technology.

Some of the computer software jobs available to consumers do not require any type of formal training at all. Many freelance programmers are often self-taught from their experiences on the Internet. These professionals, who normally work from a home office, can make very good money servicing smaller businesses and individuals. Some programmers find these types of computer software jobs rewarding because the projects are always changing due to the sheer number of clients they service.

Another area that has plenty of computer software jobs available is the Internet. Almost every destination in cyberspace contains some type of widget, customer input panel, or interactive marketing, and a lot of time goes into these designs. As hundreds of thousands of websites become more hi-tech so they can cater to cellular phone users, just as many software engineers are required to keep up with the demand.

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Discussion Comments

miriam98

@everetra - I’d say a software engineer would be an application developer, someone who develops software from the ground up or who plays a substantial role in the development of an existing application.

Someone who simply does maintenance of existing software-and I mean light, light maintenance-I’d consider a computer programmer. Someone who does scripting and a mixture of programming with slicing and dicing of data using Access or something like that would be classified as a programmer analyst, at least in my opinion.

I’m glad that titles don’t mean much to you; believe me, I work all day with developers for whom title matters a whole lot.

everetra

@miriam98 - What would you consider to be the difference between software engineering jobs and software programming jobs? I don’t know that the distinctions are always spelled out, and some people think there is no difference.

On my business card it says software engineer (my boss chose the term) but functionally I would classify myself more of a programmer analyst, although I’ve done what I would consider software engineering as well.

I don’t really care about the title either way, but some people do.

miriam98

@hamje32 - A major in computer science would be the best approach for most people, along with an internship with a company during their college years. That would be the most direct route.

I’ve met people who came from different backgrounds to get software development jobs, but if their degree was not technical, like computer science or engineering, there was a lot that they had to learn on the job.

For example, while they may understand how to use a Rapid Application Development tool, they may not understand data structures or relational database concepts or object oriented programming.

They can acquire this knowledge some other way besides having a degree, but it’s not the kind of thing you would normally pick if you were strictly self-taught. Self-taught programmers usually skip the theoretical aspects of computer science and go straight for the fun stuff, like how to build Windows forms.

hamje32

I count myself among the self-taught programmers who got into the world of computer technology jobs. There are many ways to become self-taught, besides reading tutorials on the Internet.

In my case it went back, way back, to the early days of personal computers. I started learning BASIC on my old Tandy TRS-80 Model III computer sold by Radio Shack. I was a hobbyist programmer and then got into Windows development, eventually pursuing it as a career.

In terms of how I actually broke in, I started with software contract jobs. I went through the temporary agencies and they would get me short-term assignments. With each assignment I was building on my experience, gaining more skills and software knowledge.

Of course, how you enter into this profession is entirely up to you. Whether you major in computer science or come from another background, however, experience will count more than anything.

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