Software Engineer

Meet Jack. He's worked as a Software Engineer for 10 years.

Software engineer

Job Summary

I support servers, load balancers, databases, or anything technical that goes into running the business. This can be client-facing or internal tooling. My primary area of focus is within the startup space.

Career Path

I turned my hobby into my job. My story is that my degree is in Finance and Accounting; not at all related to engineering, but I grew up in a house where learning was totally encouraged. My brother worked in computers but was/is nine years older. He was my inspiration, but he was off in the military, so I didn't get a lot of mentoring there. That said, I was always interested in software engineering. I didn't imagine that it would become my job, but through a connection, an opportunity came up where a friend of mine needed help. I decided at that time to take a leap from project management to software development and the rest is history.

Key Skills

Hard Skills

  • Various programming languages
  • Server management
  • Database management
  • Git

Soft Skills

  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Multitasking
  • Time management

Work/Life Balance

Weekend/weeknight work is near zero for me, but there are occasions where a bug in the system causes a service outage. This tends to occur more frequently at the beginning of an engagement but far less after we've updated architecture and software.

Travel is minimal at this point. It used to be monthly. My travel tends to be correlated to the instability of the organization, and I try to minimize that. So, as time goes on and processes are in place, I travel less and less.


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national estimate (US) for Computer Hardware Engineers is $115,120 annually (median). National wage estimates by percentile:

10th percentile 25th percentile 50th percentile 75th percentile 90th percentile
$66,290 $87,910 $115,120 $147,020 $176,900

Career Advice

The most important thing is to practice by working on open source projects. GitHub is the place where these projects exist. I think it's important for aspiring engineers to be working on their own personal projects, or finding projects they're interested in. Doing so will also help you learn the collaboration aspect which is equally important.