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    Software engineering is the systematic and disciplined approach to the design, development, testing, implementation, and maintenance of application software and computer systems software. Broadly, software engineering can be divided into two categories: applications engineering and systems engineering.

    Applications engineering is the process to develop software applications for businesses and organizations, whereas systems engineering refers to the coordination of the development and maintenance of computer systems for businesses and organizations.

    Characteristics of software engineering

    Software engineering is significant throughout the lifespan of software applications and is categorized as either operational, transitional, or maintenance. 

    Operational: The operational level of software engineering refers to the functionality, usability, reliability, interaction, budget, and risks related to the development of software. 

    Transitional: The term transitional refers to the scalability of software or its adaptability to changes and updates.

    Maintenance: Well-maintained software function properly and together with the existing system even though the system changes over time.

    What does a software engineer do?

    Software engineers analyze client needs, then design, develop, and test software applications to ensure the product meets all those requirements. They apply basic software engineering principles including modularity, abstraction, generality, and others while building software. This approach helps them to create customized applications in a systematic way.

    Types of software engineering roles

    There are different types of software engineering based on the roles. Listed below are some of the top software engineering roles:

    Front-end engineer: Front-end engineers are responsible for designing and developing highly responsive user interfaces (UI), optimizing user experience, fixing bugs, coding to bring life to the concepts, testing software for usability, and more.

    Back-end engineer: Back-end engineers implement the core business logic to a software application. Their roles are primarily integrated with servers, applications, and databases.

    Full-stack engineer: Full-stack engineers can develop fully functional applications as they are capable of handling the tasks of both front-end and back-end engineers.

    QA engineer: QA engineers are responsible for planning and writing test cases, fixing bugs, and conducting functional tests and more to ensure the quality and functionality of the software application.

    DevOps engineer: DevOps engineers are equally familiar with the development of systems, such as build and deploy as well as distributed systems such as server and database.

    Security engineer: Security engineers develop systems and procedures to test the security of software applications and fix security errors. They also work as ethical hackers to prevent systems from exposing themselves to vulnerabilities.

    Importance of software engineering

    The importance of software engineering is growing day by day as people require a wide range of applications to efficiently manage their businesses and increase productivity. Software engineering helps to handle complex and big projects by applying the principle of modularity. It divides complex projects into different modules and allows developers to work independently on each module. Software engineering itself is a process of developing a perfect plan for software development. Therefore, it reduces the time and cost required to develop software. 

    How is software engineering different from software development?

    Here are some significant differences between software engineering and software development:

    Software Engineering Software Development
    Software engineering refers to the development of software applications by applying engineering principles. In software development, professionals build software applications by writing code from scratch.
    Software engineering requires a team effort.  Software development is an independent effort.
    Software engineers develop tools to build software applications. Software developers use ready-to-use tools to create applications.
    Software engineering encompasses all the steps required to develop applications. Software development is only a part of the development of software applications.
    Software engineering deals with an issue on a larger scale.  Software development deals with an issue on a limited scale.

    What qualifications and education are needed to be a software engineer?

    To become a software engineer, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in Computer Science or related area is mandatory. After the completion of the degree, an internship with a technology-based company is essential to gain more skills and expand knowledge. Specializing in web development, DevOps, mobile development, or coding improves the chances of becoming a software engineer.