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Software Engineers and Designers

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NOC:2173
Occupation:Software Engineers and Designers
Category:Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

About the job

Nature of work:

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:
Software engineers and designers perform 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.
  • Develop data, process and network models to optimize architecture and to evaluate the performance and reliability of designs.
  • Plan, design and coordinate the development, installation, integration and operation of computer-based systems.
  • Assess, test, troubleshoot, document, upgrade and develop maintenance procedures for operating systems, communications environments and applications software.
  • May lead and coordinate teams of information systems professionals in the development of software and integrated information systems, process control software, and other embedded software control systems.
Sample job titles:
  • computer applications engineer
  • computer software engineer
  • software designer
  • software engineer
  • software systems designer
  • software technical architect
  • software testing engineer
  • systems applications engineer
  • systems architect
Skills:

Software engineers require an understanding of computer languages and IT terminology. You would need to be analytical, have a solid grasp of mathematics, and be both innovative and methodical. Accuracy and proofreading skills are required to detect, locate, and avoid errors in code. Good communication skills are required to understand user requirements and to lead and coordinate teams of information professionals.

Job requirements:
  • 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 practice 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.
Other considerations:

Experience as a computer programmer is usually required. Rapid changes in computer technology mean that people in this field should be prepared to keep abreast of new developments in computer hardware, software, and networking technologies.

Labour Market Information

Work Prospects:Good

The employment outlook over the next few years for this occupational group is “good”, which indicates the chances of a qualified individual finding work is better than average when compared to other occupations in Nova Scotia. This is a moderate sized occupation in Nova Scotia so some job opportunities may occur through turnover. The number employed in this occupation is expected to grow significantly over the next few years, which will provide additional opportunities for employment. With a large percent of workers being 55 years of age and older, retirements are expected to be a key contributor to employment opportunities over the coming years. Software Engineers and Designers most commonly work full-time hours. Furthermore, the jobs are typically permanent positions. With employment conditions being somewhat seasonal, periods of downtime or layoff throughout the year affect some workers.

The median employment income for 79% of Software Engineers and Designers who worked full-time, year-round in 2015 was $73,568. Across all occupations in Nova Scotia, 59% of those who worked full-time year round had a median employment income of $43,600.
(Source: 2016 Census)

OccupationEstimated employment in 2018Estimated change in employment between 2017 and 2019Estimated openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019Estimated rate of unemployment in 2018 Estimated hourly earnings in 2015 (learn more)Estimated annual earnings in 2015
Software Engineers and Designers820Strong growth205Low
Minimum: $21.63
Median: $35.71
Maximum: $48.08
Minimum: $24,845
Median: $71,270
Maximum: $106,614
Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology25,875Strong growth3,095Low
Minimum: $17.69
Median: $31.35
Maximum: $47.18
Minimum: $13,568
Median: $60,422
Maximum: $107,009
Software Engineers and DesignersCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
Percent employed full-time98%94%
Percent self-employed3%7%
Where will I likely work?
Area of EmploymentSoftware Engineers and DesignersCompared to: All NS Occupations
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Southern6%x12%$30,581
Northern5%x16%$33,660
Cape Bretonxx13%$32,974
Halifax85%$65,30647%$41,209
Annapolis Valley3%x13%$32,958
What are the workers like?
AgeSoftware Engineers and DesignersCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
15-249%x
25-3430%14%
35-4442%33%
45-5419%32%
55-645%18%
65+N/A4%
Median Age3643
GenderSoftware Engineers and DesignersCompared to: Occupations in Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% Employed% Employed
Female15%20%
Male85%80%
EducationSoftware Engineers and DesignersCompared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology
% EmployedMedian Annual Income% EmployedMedian Annual Income
Less than high schoolxx0.7%$28,107
High school4.3%$44,80612.1%$35,125
Trades certificatexx6.8%$54,923
College certificate or diploma15.4%$67,09833.7%$52,476
University certificate or diploma1.2%x3.7%$52,446
Bachelor's degree58.0%$70,99229.7%$58,011
University advanced certificate or diploma2.5%x2.0%$54,917
Master's degreex$44,7249.7%$37,706
Doctorate16.7%x1.7%$65,565
Medicine, dentistry, veterinary, optometry1.2%x0.1%$57,566
Total100%100%
Wage Disclaimer

Hourly earnings data are from the Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada. Data are not available for all occupations. Hourly earnings are calculated based on usual hours worked per week. This is how an annual salary, for instance, gets converted to an hourly rate. The data include full and part-time workers along with new and experienced workers. Self-employed workers are excluded.

Annual employment income data reported in the Work Prospects section, are from the 2011 National Household Survey by Statistics Canada. Much of the data (around 70%) came directly from tax records. The data relates to the year 2010 and includes total wages and salaries and net income from self-employment.

Sources

Employment Requirements & Contacts

Regulations:
Professional Engineer
Right to Title and Practice:This job is regulated and the job title is protected in Nova Scotia (you may not use this job title without holding a provincial licence). A licence shows that the holder has met provincial requirements and is required to work in this job.
Regulating body:
Engineers Nova Scotia
1355 Barrington Street
Halifax, NS B3J 1Y9
(888) 802-7367
(902) 423-9769
info@engineersnovascotia.ca
Useful contacts:
Information and Communications Technology Council
116 Lisgar Street, Suite 300
Ottawa, ON K2P 0C2
Tel: (613) 237-8551
Fax: (613) 230-3490
info@ictc-ctic.ca 

Training Paths & Education

Program Name:Computational mathematics
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of mathematics to the theory, architecture, and design of computers, computational techniques, and algorithms. These programs include courses in computer theory, cybernetics, numerical analysis, algorithm development, binary structures, combinatorics, advanced statistics, and related topics.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Program Name:Computer programming - Specific applications
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that prepares individuals to apply the knowledge and skills of general computer programming to the solution of specific operational problems and customization requirements presented by individual software users and organizational users. Includes training in specific types of software and its installation and maintenance.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Computer programming/programmer - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the general writing and implementation of generic and customized programs to drive operating systems and that generally prepares individuals to apply the methods and procedures of software design and programming to software installation and maintenance. These programs include courses in software design, low- and high-level languages and program writing; program customization and linking; prototype testing; troubleshooting; and related aspects of operating systems and networks.
See all institutions providing this program+
Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus
50 Elliott Road
Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0
(902) 825-3491
avc.info@nscc.ca
Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus
5685 Leeds Street
Halifax, NS B3K 2T3
(902) 491-6722
it.info@nscc.ca
Program Name:Computer science
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on computers, computing problems and solutions, and the design of computer systems and user interfaces from a scientific perspective. These programs include courses in the principles of computational science, and computing theory; computer hardware design; computer development and programming; and applications to a variety of end-use situations.
See all institutions providing this program+
Acadia University
15 University Avenue
Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6
(902) 542-2201
agi@acadiau.ca
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
admissions@ukings.ca
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
admit@stfx.ca
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Program Name:Mathematics - General
Education Level:This program is typically offered at the college or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any general program that focuses on the analysis of quantities, magnitudes, forms, and their relationships, using symbolic logic and language. These programs include courses in algebra, calculus, functional analysis, geometry, number theory, logic, topology and other mathematical specializations.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
University of King's College
6350 Coburg Road
Halifax, NS B3H 2A1
(902) 422-1271
admissions@ukings.ca
Mount Saint Vincent University
166 Bedford Highway
Halifax, NS B3M 2J6
(902) 457-6117
admissions@msvu.ca
St. Francis Xavier University
PO Box 5000
Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5
(902) 867-2219
admit@stfx.ca
Saint Mary's University
923 Robie Street
Halifax, NS B3H 3C3
(902) 420-5400
admission.status@smu.ca
Cape Breton University
PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road
Sydney, NS B1P 6L2
(888) 959-9995
registrar@cbu.ca
Program Name:Medical informatics
Education Level:This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.
Program Description:
This instructional program class comprises any program that focuses on the application of computer science and software engineering to medical research and clinical information technology support, and the development of advanced imaging, database, and decision systems. These programs include courses in computer science, health information systems architecture, medical knowledge structures, medical language and image processing, quantitative medical decision modelling, imaging techniques, electronic medical records, medical research systems, clinical decision support, and informatics aspects of specific research and practice problems.
See all institutions providing this program+
Dalhousie University
Office of the Registrar
Halifax, NS B3H 4R2
(902) 494-2450
admissions@dal.ca
Additional resources: