How to Become a Software Engineer

Software Engineer

From developing websites, to overseeing IT security and managing networks, software engineering is a multi-faceted and dynamic role with great possibilities for career advancement – and FutureLearn has the courses to help you upskill.

Software engineers are the motor force behind the way we communicate with each other – and, increasingly, how we work at all.

Every application, every program, every website you interact with (whether at home or at work) has a team of software engineers behind it, making sure it has been built well, runs smoothly, and is accessible to use.

As the world keeps turns online, software engineering jobs are only going to be in greater demand.

Software engineers use scientific and mathematical principles to build computer services. This is a broad definition because the role itself is wide-ranging.

On job applications you might not even see ‘software engineer’ mentioned; instead, with the right training, you could apply for roles such as ‘C# developer’ or ‘web programmer’.

Whatever the precise title, you’ll be creating secure and accessible IT services that ensure businesses can operate optimally  – and people can stay connected.

What degree is most commonly held by a Software Engineer?


  • BA / M of Computer Science
  • BA / M of Information Technology
  • BA / M of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • BA / M of Mechanical Engineering
  • BA / M of Electrical Engineering
  • BA / M of Computer Engineering
  • BA / M of Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering
  • BA / M of Telecommunications Engineering
  • BA / M of Computer Software Engineering
  • MBA

Career Transportability across Countries


There is no standardised training for a software engineer, so the training you receive in one country should be transferable to other nations.  A degree shows your ability to apply yourself and complete studies, but in almost all cases your ability to land a job will require you to complete an online programming test and this will be more important than your degree or country of eduction.

What is the Salary of a Software Engineer?

ExperienceEducationAverage salary | year
AU$UK£US$
Junior€61,228£29,000$32,665
Mid-Level1-4 Years€66,953£34,000$38,559
Senior5+ Years€75,934£42,000$46,592
Software Engineering Manager€102,880£59,000$70,727

What skills are needed to become a Software Engineer?


  • JavaScript
  • SQL
  • Java
  • Software Development
  • Agile Methodologies
  • Git
  • HTML
  • Linux
  • MySQL
  • Python
  • C++
  • CSS
  • jQuery
  • XML
  • Web Development
  • C#
  • Scrum
  • Web Services
  • C
  • Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Node.js
  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • PHP
  • Software Engineering
  • Web Applications

Software Engineer Courses

FutureLearn have a wide selection of programming and development courses designed to let you upskill. From introductory courses in partnership with the Institute of Coding, to more advanced courses such as ‘Supercharge Your Coding’ with the University of Glasgow, you can take your first steps in this exciting and growing field.
  • Begin Programming: Build Your First Mobile Game

    Learn basic Java programming by developing a mobile game that you can run on your computer Android phone or tablet

  • Functional Programming in Erlang

    Learn the theory and practice of functional programming in Erlang through practical exercises and suggested projects

  • Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python

    Explore the exciting world of physical computing and create electronic circuits that you can control with code

  • Object-oriented Programming in Python: Create Your Own Adventure Game

    Learn objectoriented programming principles by creating your own textbased adventure game in Python Supported by Google

  • Python in High Performance Computing

    Learn how to analyse Python programmes and identify performance barriers to help you work more efficiently

  • Learn to Code for the Web

    Ever wondered whats behind your favourite websites and apps Get to grips with the basics of coding in HTML CSS and JavaScript

  • Introduction to Web Development

    Discover web development and learn to build your own interactive websites using HTML CSS and JavaScript Supported by Google

  • Introduction to Databases and SQL

    Discover how databases work and how to use SQL in this introductory course Supported by Google

Need even more evidence about why you should learn on FutureLearn?

We partner with over 170 world-class universities, institutions and industry leaders to create world-class courses to help you with your career. Whether you’re just starting out, wanting to deepen your knowledge or change direction, FutureLearn and our partners can help. These are just a few of our world-leading partners.
How to Become a Software Engineer
Software engineering is a profession that underpins our use of computers and the internet, and as such is a role packed with great job opportunities that will only increase in the future – the number of software engineers is projected to grow by 21% in the next nine years.

FutureLearn aims to help everyone fulfil their potential in a changing world, by transforming access to education.

Be the first to hear about our latest courses by signing up to our mailing list.
Do you know someone else looking to become a Software Engineer? Then why not tell them about FutureLearn!