... ed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society. To be classified as a Certified Software Development Professional, individuals need a bachelor! |s degree and work experience that demonstrates that they have mastered a relevant body of knowledge, and must pass a written exam. Persons interested in jobs as computer software engineers must have strong problem-solving and analytical skills. They also must be able to communicate effectively with team members, other staff, and the customers they meet. Because they often deal with a number of tasks simultaneously, they must be able to concentrate and pay close attention to detail.

As is the case with most occupations, advancement opportunities for computer software engineers increase with experience. Entry-level computer software engineers are likely to test and verify ongoing designs. As they become more experienced, computer software engineers may be involved in designing and developing software. Eventually, they may advance to become a project manager, manager of information systems, or chief information officer.

Some computer software engineers with several years of experience or expertise find lucrative opportunities working as systems designers or independent consultants or starting their own computer consulting firms. (3) As technological advances in the computer field continue, employers demand new skills. Computer software engineers must continually strive to acquire such skills if they wish to remain in this extremely dynamic field. To help them keep up with the changing technology, continuing education and professional development seminars are offered by employers and software vendors, colleges and universities, private training institutions, and professional computing societies.

Job Outlook Computer software engineers are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations from 2002 to 2012. Rapid employment growth in the computer systems design and related services industry, which employs the greatest number of computer software engineers, should result in highly favorable opportunities for those college graduates with at least a bachelor! |s degree in computer engineering or computer science and practical experience working with computers. Employers will continue to seek computer professionals with strong programming, systems analysis, interpersonal, and business skills. Despite the recent downturn in information technology, employment of computer software engineers is expected to increase much faster than the average for all occupations, as businesses and other organizations adopt and integrate new technologies and seek to maximize the efficiency of their computer systems. Job growth will not be as rapid as during the previous decade however, as the software industry begins to mature and as routine software engineering work is increasingly outsourced overseas.

Competition among businesses will continue to create an incentive for increasingly sophisticated technological innovations, and organizations will need more computer software engineers to implement these changes. In addition to jobs created through employment growth, many job openings will result annually from the need to replace workers who move into managerial positions, transfer to other occupations, or leave the labor force. Demand for computer software engineers will increase as computer networking continues to grow. For example, the expanding integration of Internet technologies and the explosive growth in electronic commerce! X doing business on the Internet! Have resulted in rising demand for computer software engineers who can develop Internet, intranet, and World Wide Web applications. Likewise, expanding electronic data-processing systems in business, telecommunications, government, and other settings continue to become more sophisticated and complex. Growing numbers of systems software engineers will be needed to implement, safeguard, and update systems and resolve problems.

Consulting opportunities for computer software engineers also should continue to grow as businesses seek help to manage, upgrade, and customize their increasingly complex computer systems. New growth areas will continue to arise from rapidly evolving technologies. The increasing uses of the Internet, the proliferation of Web sites, and! SS mobile!" technology such as the wireless Internet have created a demand for a wide variety of new products. As individuals and businesses rely more on hand-held computers and wireless networks, it will be necessary to integrate current computer systems with this new, more mobile technology. Also, information security concerns have given rise to new software needs. Concerns over! SS cyber security!" should result in businesses and government continuing to invest heavily in security software that protects their networks and vital electronic infrastructure from attack.

The expansion of this technology in the next 10 years will lead to an increased need for computer engineers to design and develop the software and systems to run these new applications and that will allow them to be integrated into older systems. As with other information technology jobs, employment growth of computer software engineers may be tempered somewhat by an increase in contracting out of software development abroad. Firms may look to cut costs by shifting operations to foreign countries with highly educated workers who have strong technical skills. Earnings Median annual earnings of computer applications software engineers who worked full time in 2002 were about $70, 900.

The middle 50 percent earned between $55, 510 and $88, 660. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $44, 830, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $109, 800. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of computer applications software engineers in 2002 were: (4) Chart (2) Software publishers $76, 450 Navigational, measuring, electro medical, and control instruments manufacturing 75, 890 Computer systems design and related services 71, 890 Architectural, engineering, and related services 70, 090 Management of companies and enterprises 67, 260 Median annual earnings of computer systems software engineers who worked full time in 2002 were about $74, 040. The middle 50 percent earned between $58, 500 and $91, 160.

The lowest 10 percent earned less than $45, 890, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $111, 600. Median annual earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of computer systems software engineers in 2002 are shown below: Chart 2 (2) Scientific research and development services $82, 270 Software publishers 77, 120 Navigational, measuring, electro medical, and control instruments manufacturing 76, 200 Computer systems design and related services 73, 460 Wired telecommunications carriers 68, 510 According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, starting salary offers for graduates with a bachelor! |s degree in computer engineering averaged $51, 343 in 2003, and those with a master! |s degree averaged $64, 200. Starting salary offers for graduates with a bachelor! |s degree in computer science averaged $47, 109. According to Robert Half International, starting salaries for software engineers in software development ranged from $64, 250 to $97, 000 in 2003. In addition to typical benefits, computer software engineers may be provided with profit sharing, stock options, and a company car with a mileage allowance. (4) References/Appendix"X Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 1515 Broadway, New York, NY 10036.

Internet: web (1) "X Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers Computer Society, Headquarters Office, 1730 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036-1992. Internet: web (2) "X National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies, 3000 Lander holm Circle SE, Bellevue, WA 98007. Internet: web (3) "X Bureau of Labor Statistics, U. S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2004-05 Edition, Computer Software Engineers, on the Internet at web (visited September 15, 2004) (4) (2) Charts used from web Questions from Milwaukee School of Letter to University of Buffalo New York for Course Descriptions To:.