Who Is an Associate Software Engineer and How To Know if You Should Become One

Associate software engineers play a major role in the design and development of computer software. With an average salary of $85,000 and a high of $116,000, this is a lucrative career in the computer science field.

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In this article, you’ll learn what exactly an associated software engineer does, what skills they have, and what it takes to become one.

What does an associate software engineer do?

Associate software engineering involves all aspects of computer systems software and applications software. In this career, you may find yourself working with operations systems, web browsers, and database programs.

Design is a big part of software engineering. This includes designing computer software, products, algorithms, solutions, and new applications. Considering what the client needs is the first step when it comes to design.

Associate software engineers will spend time analyzing software, algorithms, and other computer products. Through this analysis, you identify problems and then work toward creating solutions.

Developing software solutions and infrastructure upgrades are key roles in associate software engineering. You’ll develop algorithms, write code, and work to improve existing software.

Testing also plays a big role in this career. Testing computer software to determine its efficacy is one way of providing value to clients. This evaluation of software products can offer opportunities to create new products or improve on existing ones.

Working as an associate software engineer may also involve the establishment of various methods of monitoring and automation. Implementing algorithms, coding software, and maintaining products are other aspects of the job.

Overall, an associate software engineer works to determine the needs of computer users and then improves existing software or creates new software. A software engineer may prepare operating instructions for new software and even create new game systems.

What skills does an associate software engineer need?

To be successful in software engineering a variety of skills and attributes are needed. Qualifications for a job in this area may include a specific educational background and practical experience in the field.

Many employers look for candidates who have spent time studying computers at college. Specifically, a job may require an undergraduate degree in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering.

Associate software engineers will need to be skilled in the use of different programming languages. Having a working knowledge of JavaScript, in particular, will put you in demand. Additional skills include C++, Java, React.js, and Node.js.

Understanding algorithms and data structures are foundational skills for success in this role. You’ll also need to be adept in problem-solving and be able to look at things in a logical, methodical manner.

Since a software engineer will work with various other staff, teamwork is a vital skill for this role. You’ll work with animators, hardware engineers, and designers during your work. Having excellent interpersonal skills will enable you to work effectively as a team.

Communication skills are also key. In addition to being able to communicate with your colleagues, you will need to understand what it is your clients need. Learning to skillfully express yourself to clients will help you succeed in this career.

An associate software engineer needs to have an aptitude for design, 3D math, and artificial intelligence. All of these skills will contribute to how competent you will be in your role. The ability to conduct research will also help you in the job.

A curious, inquisitive mind will assist you in your work as a software engineer. A natural curiosity for finding out how things work and how to improve them will make you a good fit for this career.

How to become an associate software engineer

There are various paths you can take to start a career in software engineering. Let’s look at some of the options available.

Bachelor Degree

Many employers prefer to hire someone who has four years of undergraduate study in computer science or a related field. These programs provide an in-depth learning experience however they can be costly.

UC Berkeley offers a Bachelor of Science degree through their Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences department. This hands-on program is one of the top three undergraduate computer engineering programs in the world.

University at Buffalo also has a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Engineering. This program provides students with the opportunity to develop skills in computer engineering and participate in related research projects.

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Associate Degree

If you aren’t able to commit to four years of post-secondary education, consider an Associate degree. These programs typically take 2 years of study and are not as expensive as a four-year degree.

St Louis Community College offers an Associate Degree in Software Development. Combining intensive classroom learning with online classes, this program is a great way to get into the computer science field.

Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland provides the opportunity to obtain an Associate Degree in Computer Science. This program not only prepares you for the workforce but also offers the option to transfer your studies to a four-year degree in Computer Science.

Online Certificates

Learning online is a great way to develop your skills in software engineering. Whether you are a beginner or looking to upgrade your skills, there are plenty of options available to study remotely.

Coursera, in partnership with Duke University, offers a Specialization in Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals. This program consists of five courses that can be completed in just five months.

The University of British Columbia offers a Software Engineering course through edX. This is an introductory course that is available at no cost. It is an ideal choice if you want to learn fast, as it takes approximately six weeks to complete.


Becoming an associate software engineer can take different paths. You may choose to study online or immerse yourself in a multi-year, hands-on program. Regardless of the route you take, you will be entering an industry that has significant demand. Learning to design, develop, and analyze software will give you the skills you need to compete.

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