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Software engineers are often misunderstood. These highly skilled professionals are the wizards behind the digital curtain, developing the applications and programs that drive our modern world. Unfortunately, several common misconceptions about software engineers persist in popular culture.
This article will debunk the top five common misconceptions about software engineers and shed light on their abilities and responsibilities.
Misconception #1: Software engineers only work on coding
Coding is the core skill you need to possess to become a software engineer. Coding is how you tell the computer how to solve a problem. However, software engineering is not all about coding. Your day will also involve:
Meeting with your colleagues, manager, and stakeholders.
Misconception #2: Software engineers always work on shiny new code
A lot of software engineering work is maintenance work.
Maintenance work means that you will work on adding, removing, or updating lines of code on an existing codebase.
This existing codebase is also known as legacy code. Legacy code is code someone else has written (usually employees no longer in the company), which you must take responsibility for.
Legacy code can be rewritten using better programming paradigms, and this is where software engineers provide fantastic value.
It is not an easy task.
Misconception #3: Software engineering is easy money
Unfortunately, social media has spread the idea that software engineering is easy, allowing you to make a six-figure salary relatively quickly.
This is far from the truth because:
It isn't easy to find entry-level jobs. Most jobs available out there are for experienced engineers.
Compensation depends on location, seniority level, size of the company, etc. Big Tech companies are known for paying top-of-the-market salaries. However, they do not represent the entirety of the industry in terms of compensation.
It takes experience, a bit of sacrifice and knowing how to negotiate to reach a specific salary.
Misconception #4: Software engineering is a solo job
Software engineering is a team sport. Teamwork is a skill that all software engineers should possess and master.
Teamwork is about asking what you can do for your team, as much as it is about asking what your team can do for you, and it’s this harmony that forms the very foundation of teamwork as we know it today. It’s about recognising how our skills and actions affect our team, as well as our own individual performance, and it’s also about adopting an attitude that leans on courage, self-love, appreciation, surrender and sacrifice.[The Benefits of Teamwork and Collaboration in Software Development]
Having the right tools.
Misconception #5: Software engineers can work from anywhere
In theory, yes. Software engineers only need a laptop, comfortable office equipment and reliable and fast WiFi.
However, whether a software engineer can work depends on the company and the manager. It is not a decision that a software engineer can make on his own.
Unfortunately, many companies force employees back to the office 2-3 times a week. Another consideration to make is that remote working does not necessarily mean you can work from anywhere in the world because:
Time zones can pose a challenge to communication.
Taxes can limit your chances of working in any country.
Misconception #6: It's a stable job
2022 and 2023 have been filled by massive layoffs, even from companies with solid performance. This has shown that software engineering (and other positions) are unsafe. You can lose your job at any time.
Do you agree with the misconceptions above? Let me know in the comments.
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