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Industry outlook for Software Engineering 2022

By Academy Xi

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Are you drawn to a career in Software Engineering and keen to find out what’s going on in today’s industry? We’ve put together this industry outlook to bring you all the latest Software Engineering insights, statistics and trends. 

Software Engineering is a field of computer science that deals with designing, developing and maintaining software systems, from basic applications to large online platforms with millions of lines of code.

Software Engineers are the unsung heroes of the digital age. It’s thanks to their skills (and the feats of modern engineering) that our devices have transformed into indispensable tools which we all depend on daily. 

If you’re contemplating transitioning into a Software Engineering career, it’s useful to have a detailed understanding of the latest developments in today’s industry.

Is Software Engineering a growing field in Australia?

The last few years have seen a shift toward online business, with the Australian eCommerce market now valued at more than $45 billion. Australian eCommerce is expected to increase by 13.27% before 2025, resulting in revenue of $66 billion.

Digital transformation means more businesses than ever want smarter, faster websites and apps, while the move toward cloud-based systems is also seeing increasing demand for the services of Software Engineers. A market forecast by Gartner predicts high industry growth in the coming years, with Australia’s spending on Software Engineering anticipated to increase 14.9% by 2025.  

Is there demand for Software Engineers in Australia?

There’s currently a widening skills-gap where Australian Software Engineers are concerned, with Seek currently advertising 6,007 vacant roles (as of July 2022). Breaking these numbers down by state: (Source, Seek)

  • New South Wales offers 2,177 roles 
  • Victoria offers 1,754 roles 
  • Queensland offers 958 roles
  • Australian Capital Territory offers 333 roles
  • Northern Territory offers 18 roles 
  • South Australia offers 295 roles
  • Western Australia offers 321 roles
  • Tasmania offers 18 roles

It’s also worth remembering that many Software Engineering roles can be held remotely. Innovations with online work systems mean working from home as a Software Engineer can be just as interactive and fulfilling as working face-to-face.

The Australian Financial Review has forecast that the move toward remote work will continue throughout 2022 and 2023, with Seek currently advertising 816 remote Software Engineering roles throughout Australia.  

Which industries most commonly hire Software Engineers?

Software Engineers can provide custom-built software solutions targeting the unique needs of a business, streamlining its internal functions and ensuring seamless user experiences. Some of the industries that most frequently hire Software Engineers include:

Tech

Unsurprisingly, the majority of professional Software Engineers work in the tech industry. Software Engineers hired in the tech space could be responsible for anything from building web applications and content management systems, to maintaining databases and updating operating systems.

As long as the tech industry continues to grow, so will its demand for Software Engineers. Seek is currently advertising 4,964 Software Engineering roles in the Australian tech industry alone.  

Healthcare

Software Engineers play a pivotal role in the healthcare industry, from building patient portals to developing applications for storing and processing medical records. 

Medical applications can be programmed with algorithms that tap into vast amounts of data, helping healthcare workers diagnose patients and provide treatment.

Some of the most exciting developments in medicine have been expedited by advances in machine learning and data science, which means there’s limitless scope for career progression as a healthcare Software Engineer.    

Retail

The shift from bricks-and-mortar stores to online shopping has seen surging demand for Software Engineers in the retail e-commerce industry. 

Software Engineers use programming languages like JavaScript and HTML to build slick transactional websites and mobile apps, while SQL is used to access and manage databases, which allows retailers to track inventories and monitor customer activity.

Education

In the past few years, education has digitised at an astonishing rate. Virtual classrooms, online learning platforms, video tutorials and student portals make learning more personalised and facilitate collaboration.

The education sector now relies on Software Engineers to build engaging software programs, which increase the interactivity of learning materials and create a more stimulating learning environment.

FinTech

From basic invoicing and billing, to tax calculations and project management, accounting software is an essential tool in the finance sector. Software Engineers working in fintech are also able to build systems that incorporate emerging technologies, including AI and machine learning, which increase the accuracy of financial forecasting. 

With fintech investing heavily in state-of-the-art software, Indeed is currently advertising 1,189 Software Engineering roles in Australian finance. 

How much is the average salary for a Software Engineer in Australia?

The latest stats from Talent.com record the average Software Engineer salary in Australia as $119,963. Entry-level positions start at $100,726 per year, while the most experienced Software Engineers make an average of $169,250 per year.

The average yearly salary in each state is as follows:

  • New South Wales – $105,753 
  • Queensland – $96,010 
  • Northern Territory – $87,457 
  • Western Australia – $100,109 
  • South Australia – $88,375 
  • Victoria – $98,368 
  • Australian Capital Territory – $90,352 
  • Tasmania – $98,360 

What other titles do Software Engineers go by?

When you’re job hunting for Software Engineering roles, it’s handy to know that Software Engineers often go by alternative titles. The following job titles are often used when describing the work of a Software Engineer:

  • Software Developer 
  • Software Development Engineer
  • Web Developer
  • Front-end Engineer
  • Back-end Engineer
  • Computer Programmer
  • Application Developer
  • Application Engineer 
  • Systems Programmer

What are the top skills a Software Engineer needs?

If you think Software Engineers only need to be able to write code, think again. Being a Software Engineer is a multifaceted role that calls for a wide range of capabilities. Here are the top 5 soft skills and top 5 technical skills needed to make an impact in today’s Software Engineering industry:

Top 5 technical skills that Software Engineers need

Object-Oriented Design (OOD)
Object-oriented design (OOD) is a software engineering technique that involves planning a system of interacting objects for the purpose of solving a software problem. Software Engineers use OOD to break down a program’s structure into simple, reusable pieces of code. ODD can improve the accuracy of coding, while reducing development time.

Programs created through OOD are normally more flexible and easier to write, offering Software Engineers the conceptual tools needed to build systems that perfectly match any specifications they’re given. 

Programming
Perhaps unsurprisingly, programming skills are the cornerstone of a Software Engineer’s work. Using programming languages to write code enables Software Engineers to create detailed instructions for a system to execute. 

Software engineers don’t need to be able to code fluently in every language, but will normally develop expertise in at least one. The four most commonly used Software Engineering languages are Javascript, HTML/CSS, Python and SQL.

Software testing
Software testing is the process of verifying that a system does what it’s supposed to do. The benefits of carrying out tests include preventing bugs, reducing development costs and optimising software performance.

As well as having the technical skills to perform tests, many Software Engineers are responsible for creating test management plans. This helps to clarify which types of testing will provide the most value, factoring in the time and resources available.

Version control
Version control is a class of systems that’s used for managing changes to software. Software Engineers use version control skills to track changes to code, revert coding to a previous state and give teammates clarity over how a development project is progressing.  

As well as code, version control systems allow Software Engineers to manage changes to text, html, images and pretty much any other file a software project might entail. 

Code Documentation
Maintenance consumes most of the total life-cycle cost of a software project, and the ability to write clear documentation is one of the most important skills a Software Engineer can have. Without formal in-code documentation, a software project can quickly become impossible to maintain and modify. 

Good documentation will very precisely explain what a piece of code does and how it does, making it easy for anybody else to work with that code and build on the software in the future.

Top 5 soft skills that Software Engineers need

Problem solving
Effectively guiding a software development project to completion requires the ability to quickly identify and solve any problems that crop up along the way. The best Software Engineers will be able to anticipate issues before they arise and take measures to resolve them in advance. 

Attention to detail
Software Engineers are expected to be precise and meticulous, with a high level of attention to detail applied to everything they do. To give an example, Software Engineers have to be able to sift through large amounts of code to pinpoint a programming error that’s impeding the functionality of an app. 

Collaboration
Building software systems often requires the input and skills of a number of people. Because Software Engineers often work as part of a team (or might even lead one), it’s vital they have collaborative skills. Software Engineers need to be able to give and receive critical feedback, and motivate the people around them to deliver their best possible work.

Communication
No Software Engineer exists in a vacuum, and having effective communication skills increases collaboration, saves time and minimises errors. As well as coding fluently, Software Engineers need to be able to communicate clearly with teammates and stakeholders, regardless of their technical expertise.  

Adaptability
The Software Engineering industry is defined by constant innovation, with new software and tech being released on a daily basis. This means today’s Software Engineer has to be willing to self-learn and embrace the possibilities that come with the latest tools. Adopting new tech enables faster project deliveries, reduced spending, and enhanced end user experiences.

What are the most commonly used programming languages?

When it comes to Software Engineering, different problems can be solved with different tools. Each programming language has unique features that make it suitable for completing specific tasks. 

Here are the most popular programming languages and their common uses:

JavaScript

JavaScript is the world’s most popular scripting language and widely used in website development. It can be used to program a website’s functionality, allowing a site’s visitors to interact with its content. 

Because JavaScript is primarily a client-side programming language, it normally operates within the user’s browser. However, the release of Node.js has enabled Software Engineers to execute JavaScript code within servers.

HTML/CSS

Strictly speaking, HTML/CSS isn’t a programming language. It’s a markup language that’s used by Software Engineers to determine how a web page is displayed to web users. 

HTML/CSS uses tags to structure the elements of a document, determining how components like headings, images, tables and hyperlinks will appear on the page. Once these tags are included, the web browser interprets them and displays the content according to the instructions.

Python

Python is a general-purpose programming language that’s known for being simple and readable, and is normally used by Software Engineers when working with back-end servers.  

Python has become industry-standard in data science, enabling data professionals to perform complex statistical calculations, manipulate and analyse data, create custom data visualisations, and even build machine learning algorithms.

SQL

SQL is the most commonly used language for extracting and organising data. SQL programming is used to communicate with databases, enabling users to update, retrieve and manipulate data. Even if the data analysis is being performed in Python, SQL is the programming language that’s needed to extract the data.

The latest trends in Software Engineering

With advances in the tech space always pushing the boundaries of Software Engineering, it’s an exciting time to be involved in the industry. Here are the latest Software Engineering trends to watch out for in the future. 

Cloud-native technology

Modern software has become increasingly complex, with clients and users always demanding more from applications. Cloud-native architecture strips away many of the networks, servers and operating systems that restrict a Software Engineer’s build process.

Cloud-native architecture offers the latest technologies, including Kubernetes, Docker and Kafka, which allow developers to reduce their tasks, create scalable software and quickly build more powerful applications.   

Progressive web apps

A progressive web app is a mobile compatible website that acts and feels like an app. Using enhanced background processing, progressive web apps accelerate page loading and deliver a much faster user experience.

Offering a cost efficient alternative to multiple builds, a good progressive web app can effectively replace a company’s mobile app, its native app and maybe even its desktop site. 

Low-code and no-code (LCNC)

The advance of low-code and no-code platforms is the next big leap in making app development accessible for all businesses. Rather than choosing between ready-made or custom platforms, LCNC enables businesses to build applications by simply dragging and dropping components. 

For Software Engineers, LCNC can automate stages in the build process and speed up the work flow. In the coming years, expect to see more hybrid projects that combine manual coding and the use of LCNC tools.    

Machine Learning

Recent years have seen rising attempts to incorporate machine learning into software. As a branch of AI, machine learning algorithms collect, organise and analyse data, which can be used for predictive modelling. In short, the software uses past performance to adjust and optimise its current performance. Machine learning can also dramatically increase the accuracy of software testing, leading to greater quality assurance.   

Entry points and career pathways in Software Engineering

Looking at the industry from the outside in, the prospect of becoming a professional Software Engineer can seem daunting. However, thanks to the evolution of Software Engineering training, it’s never been more achievable to enter the field as a beginner. 

Remember – don’t underestimate the value of your work experience. If you have prior exposure to problem solving, working in teams or project management, these are all experiences that will come in handy when learning Software Engineering. 

To enter the world of Software Engineering, you’ll need to strategically plan your career development. This usually entails five key steps: 

  • Getting an education – You’ll need to master the industry’s essential tools and practical skills, including the fundamentals of programming. A computer science degree could take a minimum of 3 years to complete, whereas training at a private college could see you graduating job ready in software engineering in a much shorter period of time.
  • Gaining experience – Software Engineering skills can only be fully grasped ‘hands-on’, so you’ll need plenty of practical experience with coding. This will also give you the chance to specialise and develop expertise in particular programming languages. 
  • Getting certified – The Software Engineering industry is highly competitive and you’ll need to have a formal certification that concretely demonstrates your new programming skills to prospective employers. 
  • Building a portfolio – Potential employers will also be keen to see your skills put into practice. A custom portfolio is a perfect chance to show off your own unique approach to solving problems with coding.  
  • Applying for roles – By this stage, you’ll be ready to start pinpointing roles based on your capabilities. You’ll want to update your CV and LinkedIn profile so potential employers have an accurate snapshot of your skills and professional experience.

When searching for your first role, it’s not uncommon to start as a junior Software Engineer, which might entail:

  • Assisting with basic software design
  • Writing and maintaining code
  • Performing minor bug fixes
  • Monitoring technical performance
  • Conducting development tests
  • Writing reports

Once you’ve built up experience and a more extensive portfolio, you’ll have the chance to apply for mid-level and senior roles. Senior Software Engineers will have the skills to modify software components anywhere in the software stack. They can also identify the root causes for complex software issues and implement effective solutions.

Senior Software Engineers will often work freelance, designing and developing software systems for a number of clients on short-term contracts.

As a senior Software Engineer, there are also normally opportunities to lead projects and teams. You might even land a formal management role, which involves overseeing budgets, work schedules and team development. 

Given enough time, continuing on the management path can lead to executive roles, such as VP of Engineering or Director of Engineering. 

Ready to revamp your career with Software Engineering?

Academy Xi Software Engineering: Transform courses have been built in collaboration with the award-winning Flatiron School (New York, US). Taught by industry-expert mentors, our courses come in two flexible formats, meaning you can go from beginner to hired in 10 months (part-time), or in 5 months (full-time). 

Both course options offer you the chance to:

  • Get full-stack skills employers are searching for in HTML, CSS, JavaScript, React & Redux, SQL, Ruby, Rails, Git & GitHub.
  • Spend 50% of your time coding, with labs, practical exercises and hands-on programming projects.  
  • Complete 4 hands-on projects of increasing complexity, plus your final capstone project.
  • Showcase your final project to guest industry professionals. You’ll not only receive feedback from a panel of experts, but also have an opportunity to network and expand your connections in Australia’s tech space.
  • Land your dream Software Engineering role with CV, job search and interview advice from our proven Career Support Program (97% job placement rate in FY 22). 

Want to discuss your transferable skills and course options? Speak to a course advisor today about our Software Engineering bootcamp and take the first steps toward becoming a professional Software Engineer.

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