Computer software engineers use the basics and techniques of computer science, engineering, and mathematical analysis to the design, development, testing, and evaluation of the software and systems that enable computers to perform their many different tasks. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer software engineers are projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations over the 2002-12 period. The starting salaries for computer engineers with a bachelor's degree can be higher than salaries of bachelor's degree graduates in many other occupations. What are the duties of a computer software engineer? .

Testing and verifying ongoing designs. Designing and developing software. Project managing. Consulting Where can I find computer software engineering training? Most employers would like to hire people who have at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, systems software engineering or computer information systems with knowledge of, and experience with, a variety of computer systems and technologies.

Graduate degrees are wanted for some of the more difficult jobs. As technology advances, employers ask for new skills. Computer software engineers must continue to learn such skills if they hope to remain in this field. To help them keep up with the technology changes, continuing education and professional development seminars are offered by employers and software vendors, colleges and universities, private training institutions, and professional computing societies.

How can I get a computer software engineering certification? Professional certification is now offered by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Computer Society. To be classified as a Certified Software Development Professional, people need a bachelor's degree and work experience that shows that they have mastered knowledge, and must pass a written exam. What is a computer software engineer's salary? Computer applications software engineers who worked full time in 2002 were about $70, 900. Computer systems software engineers who worked full time in 2002 were about $74, 040. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the starting salary 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.

The starting salary for graduates with a bachelor's degree in computer science averaged $47, 109. What career some career opportunities for computer software engineers? Entry-level computer software engineers are likely to test ongoing designs. As they get more experienced, computer software engineers may be involved in designing and developing software. Soon, they might become a project manager, manager of information systems, or chief information officer. About 21, 000 computer software engineers were self-employed in 2002. Employers will continue to look for computer professionals with strong programming, systems analysis, interpersonal, and business skills.

What career options are available to experienced software engineers? . Software consulting. Software publishing. Navigational, measuring, electro medical, and control instruments manufacturing. Computer systems design. Architectural, engineering, and related services.

Management of companies and enterprises. Wired telecommunications. Scientific research and development What is an engineer? Engineering is the art of applying scientific and mathematical principles, experience, judgment, and common sense to make things that benefit people. Engineers design bridges and important medical equipment as well as steps for cleaning up toxic spills and systems for mass transit. Engineering is the process of producing a technical product or system to meet a specific need. What do engineers do? The five largest engineering areas are: chemical engineering, civil engineering, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering.

There are also more specialized engineering fields, including aerospace engineering, oceanic engineering, nuclear engineering, biomedical engineering, and environmental engineering. What qualities do successful engineers have? . Strong in mathematics and science. Highly analytical and detail oriented. Imaginative and creative. Good communication skills.

Enjoy working in teams. Enjoy building or improving the way things work How do I choose between earning a master's or doctorate engineering degree? This depends on your career goals and what area of engineering you'd like to practice. Doctoral programs require five-to-seven years of graduate study, while master's degree programs in engineering requires only two years of full-time graduate study. PhD programs are generally designed for people primarily interested in research and education in the engineering field. Master's programs are designed to expand and deepen the knowledge and skills acquired as an undergraduate. Do I need to be licensed as an engineer? All states require li censure for engineers who offer their services directly to the public.

Engineers who are licensed are called Professional Engineers (PE). Civil, mechanical structural, industrial and environmental engineers are most likely to seek li censure because they often work for government agencies. Computer engineers are least likely to seek li censure. Although li censure laws vary, most boards require four steps: 1. Earn a bachelor's degree in engineering from a school accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) 2. Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) examination 3.

Complete at least four years of engineering experience 4. Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) examination How do I get started with my engineering career? First, find schools with programs that interest you. Then, request info from the departments to get started on your new career.