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Software Engineer

Software engineers specify, design, evaluate, modify, research, integrate, test and maintain software applications, technical environments, operating systems, embedded software, information warehouses, databases and telecommunications software.

  • Avg. Salary $83,282.00
  • Avg. Wage $40.69
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 5,000
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Computer Specialist, Design Engineer, Engineer, Information Technology Specialist, Professional Engineer, Software Developer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Software Engineers and Designers (2173) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Software Engineers (C073) 
  • 2011 NOC: Software engineers and designers (2173) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Provincially Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Software Engineer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Software Engineers and Designers

Interest in synthesizing information to design, develop and test computer-based systems


Interest in precision working to assess, troubleshoot, document, upgrade and develop maintenance procedures for operating systems, communications environments and applications software


Interest in consulting to plan, design and co-ordinate the development, installation, integration and operation of computer-based systems; may lead and co-ordinate teams of information systems professionals in the development of software and integrated information systems

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers specify, design, develop and evaluate software such as business and engineering applications, databases, process control systems and systems software. This may involve developing re-usable software that can be adapted for more than one application. In some cases, they develop special purpose embedded software for inclusion in computer controlled products such as washing machine controls and automobile engines. Their work involves:

  • consulting with system users and analyzing user requirements
  • developing design specifications
  • developing strategies to assure fault tolerance and system security
  • designing software products and user interfaces
  • producing software designs
  • modifying existing software to correct errors, adapt to new hardware, increase performance or upgrade user interfaces
  • testing and validating programs prior to installation
  • installing programs and analyzing performance
  • maintaining programs once they are in use
  • integrating programs with legacy systems and third party systems.

They also may be responsible for:

  • preparing proposals for information systems
  • integrating and testing system software and hardware components
  • writing product documentation
  • providing cost analyses and obtaining quotes from suppliers
  • determining system performance standards
  • managing software projects
  • assisting in the marketing and sale of software
  • supervising the work of technical staff.

Software engineers must constantly update their knowledge and skills to keep up with rapid advancements in computer technology. They often work as members of design teams which may include programmers, hardware engineers, technologists, technicians and marketing and manufacturing specialists.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers spend most of their time in office environments using computers. They may be required to work a considerable amount of overtime and experience a great deal of pressure to meet deadlines. Travel may be required to attend meetings, give briefings and obtain user requirements.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers need the following characteristics:

  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • the ability to work effectively in a team environment
  • the ability to pay close attention to details
  • good decision making and problem solving skills
  • an aptitude for mathematics and science
  • the ability to teach others
  • good time management skills.

They should enjoy being innovative and performing tasks that require precision and a systematic approach.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers must have a four-year degree in software engineering or a related discipline such as electrical engineering or computer science. Some employers hire only software engineers who have a master's degree in engineering. A doctoral degree generally is required for a career in research and development.

Programming experience at the high school level is an asset. The first year of studies is the same for all engineering disciplines. Students specialize in software engineering in the second, third and fourth years.

Universities offer co-operative education or internship programs in engineering that consist of periods of academic study alternating with periods of planned work experience in industry. Students usually take five years to complete these programs.

Required Education

The following schools offer programs and courses that meet this occupation’s educational requirements. Other eligible programs and courses may be available.

Grant MacEwan University

University of Lethbridge

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

University of Lethbridge

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016


Professional engineers design, construct, evaluate, advise, monitor and report on the performance of materials, equipment, systems, works, processes and structures.


Under Alberta’s Engineering and Geoscience Professions Act [pdf], you must be a registered member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) to practice as a Professional Engineer or engage in the practice of engineering. You do not have to register if you work under the direct supervision of a professional engineer and do not call yourself a Professional Engineer or use the word “engineer” in your job title.

What You Need

Registration as a Professional Engineer in Alberta requires successful completion of:

  • a 4-year bachelor’s degree in a recognized engineering program and at least 4 years of acceptable work experience under the supervision of a Professional Engineer, or an equivalent combination of education and experience
  • a minimum of 3 acceptable references
  • successful completion of an approved examination in law, ethics and professionalism.

A new Provisional Member category has been introduced. For official, detailed information about registration requirements, contact APEGA.

Working in Alberta

Engineers who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if the 2 jurisdictions require similar responsibilities and competencies.

For more information, see What if I am already certified in another province or territory in Canada? and APEGA.

To learn about certification for internationally educated engineers, see Professional Engineer Registration Process.

Contact Details

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA)
1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta  T5J 4A2

Call: 780-426-3990
Toll-free in North America: 1-800-661-7020
Fax: 780-426-1877

Information Systems Professional

Information systems professionals investigate, analyze, design, develop or manage information systems based on computer and related technologies through the objective application of specialized knowledge and professional judgement.


Information Systems Professional is a protected title under Alberta's Professional and Occupational Associations Registration Act. This means that to call yourself an Information Systems Professional or use the I.S.P. designation, you must be a registered member of the Canadian Information Processing Society of Alberta (CIPS Alberta). You do not have to be registered if you do not call yourself an Information Systems Professional.

What You Need

The Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) has defined the body of knowledge required for certification and recognizes the many different ways this standard may be achieved. Applicants must provide documented evidence for 1 of the following I.S.P. designation criteria routes: (1) Established Academic, (2) IT Industry Leader, (3) Established IT Professional, (4) Education Plus Experience, (5) Exam, (6) Professional Experience Only (applicants must have entered the field prior to 1976), or (7) Upgrade from Candidate Status. For official, detailed information, visit the CIPS website, CIPS Alberta website or contact CIPS Alberta.

Working in Alberta

Information systems professionals who are registered and in good standing with a regulatory organization elsewhere in Canada may be eligible for registration in Alberta if registered professionals in the 2 jurisdictions have similar responsibilities and competencies. For more information, see "What if I am already certified in another province or territory?" and the Alberta regulatory authority (below).

Contact Details

Canadian Information Processing Society of Alberta
PO Box 21085
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6R 2V4
Phone Number: 780-431-9311
Toll-free phone number: 1-844-431-9311
Fax number: 780-413-0076

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers are employed by:

  • companies that devise embedded software for inclusion in other products
  • companies that develop industrial instrumentation and process control products
  • consulting companies that provide software related services
  • manufacturing companies
  • companies in the energy sector (for example, oil and gas companies)
  • educational institutions
  • governments
  • research institutions
  • software manufacturers
  • Internet based businesses
  • software marketing companies.

Working in smaller companies requires a broader range of skills. Duties with larger companies may be more specialized.

With experience, software engineers can move into other engineering disciplines, become private consultants or operate their own businesses. They also can move into supervisory positions and management positions. Those who wish to advance in management may need additional training in business administration.

Software engineers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2173: Software engineers and designers. In Alberta, 77% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,500 Albertans are employed in the Software engineers and designers occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 99 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As software engineers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for software engineers.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers and designers

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.00 $54.00 $33.60 $30.47
Overall $26.44 $62.50 $40.69 $37.69
Top $26.44 $74.11 $49.39 $47.12

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Finance, Insurance, Real Estate, Leasing
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Computer and Information Technology
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) website:

Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) website:

Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) website:

Technology Alberta website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 27, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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