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Software Engineer

Software engineers design and work on software used in applications, operating systems, information warehouses, databases and telecommunications.

  • Avg. Salary $100,625.00
  • Avg. Wage $49.08
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 4,600
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Big Data Software Developer, Computer Specialist, Data Scientist, 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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Software engineers and designers (2173) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

47%
47%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • 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
INNOVATIVE

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

METHODICAL

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

DIRECTIVE

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

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers design, develop, modify, research, test and maintain software (such as business and engineering applications, databases, process control systems and systems software). They may develop software that can be adapted for more than one application. They may develop custom embedded software for use in computer-controlled products (such as consumer electronics or car engines). They may also manage projects or work on architecture design for end-to-end solutions. Their work involves:

  • consulting with system users
  • studying users’ needs
  • developing design specifications
  • developing strategies to assure fault tolerance performance and system security
  • designing software products and user interfaces
  • changing existing software (such as to fix errors, adapt to new hardware, increase performance or upgrade user interfaces)
  • testing and validating programs
  • installing and maintaining programs
  • studying performance
  • integrating programs with legacy and third-party systems.

They may also:

  • prepare proposals
  • write product documentation
  • obtain quotes from suppliers
  • provide cost studies
  • determine system performance standards
  • manage software projects
  • assist in the marketing and selling of software
  • supervise technical staff
  • mentor junior technical staff.

Software engineers must keep their knowledge and skills up to date. This can be difficult because of rapid changes in technology. They often work as members of design teams. These teams may include:

  • programmers
  • hardware engineers
  • mechanical engineers
  • technologists
  • system administrators
  • technicians
  • marketing and manufacturing specialists.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers spend most of their time on computers in office settings. They may work a lot of overtime. They may feel pressure to meet deadlines. They may have to travel (to attend meetings, give briefings, obtain user requirements or oversee the creation of prototypes or products).

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

Software engineers need to possess:

  • excellent speaking and writing skills
  • the ability to pay attention to details
  • decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • an aptitude for math, science and programming
  • the ability to teach others
  • the ability to manage time well
  • the ability to think logically and analyze complex problems
  • patience and persistence
  • teamwork skills.

They should enjoy:

  • being creative
  • performing tasks that require precision
  • having a structured approach to their work
  • being up to date on the newest technology trends and changes
  • learning new computer languages and programming skills.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers must have a 4-year degree in software engineering or a related discipline (such as electrical engineering, computer engineering or computer science). Some employers only hire software engineers who have a master’s degree. A doctoral degree is generally needed for a career in research and development.

Programming experience in high school is an asset. The first year of post-secondary study is the same for all engineering disciplines. Students specialize in software engineering in their second, third and fourth years.

Universities offer co-operative education or internships in engineering, combining periods of academic study with work experience. Students usually take 5 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

Engineer

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

Legislation

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 are 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
Canada

Call: 780-426-3990
Toll-free in North America: 1-800-661-7020
Email: email@apega.ca
Website: www.apega.ca

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.

Legislation

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
E-mail: alberta@cips.ca
Website: ab.cips.ca

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Software engineers work for:

  • companies that make embedded (included in other products) software
  • companies that develop industrial instruments and process-control products
  • consulting companies
  • manufacturing companies
  • energy companies (such as oil and gas companies)
  • schools
  • research institutions
  • governments
  • internet-based businesses
  • software marketing companies.

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

With experience, software engineers can move into other areas of engineering, become consultants or start their own companies. They can also move into management. Those who want to manage 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 [pdf] in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events that affect overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities that come up when people leave existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities that come up when new positions are created)
  • size of the occupation.

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

In Alberta, the C073: Software Engineers occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 99 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

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
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.19 $60.00 $37.66 $34.82
Overall $32.55 $68.86 $49.08 $48.08
Top $37.86 $95.53 $69.22 $64.90

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
Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Information, Culture, Recreation
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

47%
47%)

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

33%
33%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

8%
8%

Vacancy Rate

3%
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: www.apega.ca

Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) of Alberta website: www.cipsalberta.ca

Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) website: www.ictc-ctic.ca

Technology Alberta website: technologyalberta.com

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 22, 2018. 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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