Software engineers seem to be in demand, but there are a lot of contradictory threads and information out there. Articles have even come out that question whether you really want to actually be a software engineer or whether you want to actually use your software engineering skills to create your own systems.
If you do decide to pursue employment rather than entrepreneurship, there is some good news. As part of research for a guide to software engineering salaries that was done for Springboard’s Software Engineering Career Track (Caveat: I work for Springboard as a consultant), this overview of the current job market for software engineers in 2020 emerged, with perspectives from hiring managers across the industry.
Software engineers remain in high demand. In 2019, there were over 23.9 million software developers around the world, according to Evans Data Corporation. That number is expected to reach 28.7 million by 2024. There are over 3.4 million developers in the US alone. Software engineering is still a growing field where there are more jobs up for grabs every day.
In today’s job market, companies are looking to fill over half a million software engineering roles right now, spanning a variety of specializations and roles, such as:
Software engineers now find themselves doing everything from working with hardware and embedded designs to building the latest hot video game.
With so many job openings available and a variety of industries looking for software talent, employers are intent on hiring the best and brightest engineers they can. To help you understand what employers are looking for, this comprehensive list from Balance Careers can help. By scouring 10 open job postings from major companies like Microsoft, Tesla, Intel, JP Morgan, and Amazon and condensing the findings, you can also note the key skills you need. Small and medium-sized companies often took their cues from leading hiring managers -- and apart from some company-specific needs, their needs generally align with the market’s.
Here are three example job postings from top companies and highlights of desired qualifications:
You'll see that most of these jobs require prior experience (2-5+ years) in software engineering, as well as a Bachelor of Computer Science degree. However, companies are increasingly open to accepting candidates without these degree requirements, which are often just a stipulation from HR.
In fact, companies like Google and Apple have explicitly said they no longer require a college degree. That's because college completion doesn't necessarily correlate with competence and more employers and hiring managers are realizing that. What’s more, startup bootcamps and non-traditional courses can also equip candidates with the skills they need -- for example, Springboard’s Software Engineering Career Track offers a job guarantee.
What it means to be a software engineer has certainly changed over the years, with more and more going into the definition of "full-stack". Yet along with this creep in scope is the reality that hiring managers have strong and ever-increasing demand for software engineers.