Software Engineers and Designers - What They Do

Software engineers and designers research, design, evaluate, integrate and maintain software applications, technical environments, operating systems, embedded software, information warehouses and telecommunications software. They are employed in information technology consulting firms, information technology research and development firms, and information technology units throughout the private and public sectors, or they may be self-employed.

Job duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Collect and document users' requirements and develop logical and physical specifications
  • Research, evaluate and synthesize technical information to design, develop and test computer-based systems including mobile applications
  • Develop data, process and network models to optimize architecture and to evaluate the performance and reliability of designs
  • Plan, design and co-ordinate the development, installation, integration and operation of computer-based systems including mobile applications
  • Assess, test, troubleshoot, document, upgrade and develop maintenance procedures for operating systems, communications environments and applications software
  • May lead and co-ordinate teams of information systems professionals in the development of software and integrated information systems, process control software and other embedded software control systems.

Job titles

  • software design engineer
  • application architect
  • embedded software engineer
  • computer software engineer
  • software design verification engineer
  • software testing engineer
  • systems integration engineer - software
  • software architect
  • technical architect - software
  • telecommunications software engineer
  • software designer
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • A bachelor's degree, usually in computer science, computer systems engineering, software engineering or mathematics or Completion of a college program in computer science is usually required.
  • A master's or doctoral degree in a related discipline may be required.
  • Licensing by a provincial or territorial association of professional engineers is required to approve engineering drawings and reports and to practise as a Professional Engineer (P.Eng.).
  • Engineers are eligible for registration following graduation from an accredited educational program, three or four years of supervised work experience in engineering, and passing a professional practice examination.
  • Experience as a computer programmer is usually required.

Essential Skills

Working with Technological Equipment and Machinery

  • Debugging and Reprogramming Technical Systems
  • Installing and Setting-Up Technical Infrastructure


  • Co-ordinating and Organizing
  • Supervising


  • Inspecting and Testing
  • Planning
  • Projecting Outcomes
  • Researching and Investigating


  • Liaising and Networking

Creative Expression

  • Designing
  • Writing