Top quality workers are well paid. At Google, the average salary for software engineers is $US128,336 ($138,500).
Most engineers do a four-year degree but some people are able to develop enough practical skills to get a job even without going to university, such as David Byttow, who recently wrote about how he leveraged two minor jobs into a successful interview at Google.
He cut the "education" section from his resume, delayed for a couple of weeks when called by a recruiter, and crammed 14 hours a day until he was ready to go through the testing process.
"One day while I was eating sushi for lunch in Santa Clara, I got the call and enthusiastically accepted the offer. On that day, I knew for certain that I wasn't ever going back to school," he writes in Business Insider.
HIGH INCOME, LOW STRESS
A CareerCast jobs report from the US ranks software engineering as the third best job (after actuary and biomedical engineer) because of its high income ($US89,147), low stress and low physical and emotional demands.
Chris Murphy, co-president and chief strategy officer of global software company ThoughtWorks, says 70 per cent of the company's 2500 employees are software engineers.
"Ten years ago, software was something that was used to drive efficiency and automate a lot of back-end services. Increasingly, software now is the business," he says.
"Among employees, there's a much greater expectation of autonomy and empowerment . . . the right to make decisions about how they do their work.
"It has to be a collaborative environment, very sociable and there is less distinction between work and home. They have an expectation they will have a say in the running of the business and they will use that understanding to contribute back to the organisation."
Murphy says the world is not short of software engineers - it is short of quality ones. "A lot of people are drawn into it from other areas because of the great conditions and low barriers to entry, but a good one is 10 to 100 times more effective than a mediocre software developer."
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