What is a Software Engineer? | TTRO
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Software Engineer

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Software Engineer

The Software Engineer

We asked some of our savvy Software Engineers to share their insights and answer some questions on their role and the best ways to get into this exciting career.

What is a Software Engineer?

Senior software engineers typically have a lot of experience in various technologies. This is a hard requirement. If you look at the title it is significant that one starts out as a “coder”, or “software developer”, and then arrives at “engineer”.

The definition of a senior software engineer is then greatly based on the above experience since a senior software engineer does not only focus on “coding”.

Typically, a senior software engineer will be involved in assessing client requirements, scoping solutions, defining timelines, assigning work within the team and coding on the more complex parts of solutions.

What does a Software Engineer at TTRO do?

TTRO software development hinges mainly around the Moodle Learning Management System (LMS) coding framework. It is a PHP-based, web-driven system with a well-established and documented architecture.

Senior engineers have to assess, scope and implement customisation of the LMS code, in accordance with accepted principles and best practices from Moodle.org and Moodle.com. TTRO is an official Moodle partner. This places a greater emphasis on TTRO to deliver quality software solutions.

In addition to the PHP, JS and web development for Moodle we also build custom architectures both for web and mobile, using technologies such as REACT, Angular, Vue, Laravel and integrations with any API’s as required. Senior engineers have to guide the team on how to approach these work efforts and assist in implementing the solutions.

Why become a Software Engineer?

Senior software engineers have access to some of the highest paid salaries in the world. These salaries and jobs are available worldwide, including working for companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Tesla.

Becoming a software engineer does not require a tertiary degree or formal qualification. It is possible to become a software engineer by using online courses to study. In fact, spending three to four years on a formal qualification can mean that the engineers falls behind peers who studied online and started working as soon as possible.

The working environment has change enough to allow most software engineers to work from home full time. This is also the case with TTRO.

Software developers need to understand how to code. More than that, senior software engineers need to learn and understand how technologies work together and then understand how to craft solutions bringing different technologies together.

Senior software engineer provides access to top salaries worldwide. Because software engineers/developers typically work from home, the career is well-suited to a modern “digital nomad” lifestyle where the engineer/developer can work from anywhere.

A career path trajectory might be:

Study online -> junior software developer -> mid-level software developer -> senior software engineer -> systems architect.

Is being a Software Engineer right for you?

When you have progressed through the stages of software development and arrive in a space where you qualify as a senior software engineer, you will already know yourself well enough to assess if this role is what you want.

As senior software engineer you will be moving well beyond the scope of reading and writing code. You will need to have good interpersonal skills to engage both with people in your own team, as well as some client interactions.

Understanding how the software development cycle sits within a business is crucial. Correctly allocating resources, understanding how to stay within a budget, and implementing solutions that satisfy client requirements speaks to some of the experience you will need before you can see yourself as a senior software engineer.

You will definitely have to develop the ability to convey a structured plan clearly, both in writing and in presenting it to a team. Knowing how to apply your experience is also crucial as the team will look to you to be firm on what a solution should look like. This does mean that you will need to have some negotiation skills and understand how to resolve conflicts around technical solutions.

If you have wide ranging interest within the technology sector, and you are an eager lifelong learner, then a career as senior software engineer is financially rewarding, intellectually and creatively satisfying, and allows you to work from home, anywhere in the world.

What are Hiring Managers looking For?

Coding in a variety of languages and frameworks and experience of doing so is crucial. A hiring manager would hope to see a person that can apply software coding principles regardless of which language is being used.

Senior software engineers need to be able to work with confidence in isolation. At the same time such a person would see risks ahead of time and communicate impacts of such problems in time.

A culture fit for TTRO in this position would require someone who can communicate clearly and openly, in a friendly manner and with a good understanding of how to work collaboratively. The person would be able to talk about solutions with clients while understanding the framework and allowed scope within the project, and within the organisation’s guidelines.

Technical skills:

  • Strong knowledge of PHP or similar language web frameworks such as Laravel, Yii, Moodle etc depending on your technology stack. 
  • Understanding the fully synchronous behaviour of PHP or similar language. 
  • Understanding of MVC design patterns. 
  • Basic understanding of front-end technologies, such as JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS3. 
  • Knowledge of object-oriented PHP programming or similar.
  • Familiarity with SQL/NoSQL databases and their declarative query languages. 
  • Proficient understanding of code versioning tools, such as Git. 
  • Creating database schemas that represent and support business processes. 
  • Familiarity with limitations of PHP or similar languages as a platform and its workarounds. 
  • Integration of multiple data sources and databases into one system. 
  • User authentication and authorization between multiple systems, servers, and environments. 
  • Understanding fundamental design principles behind a scalable application. 
  • Strong knowledge of the common PHP or similar languages for web server exploits and their solutions. 
  • Understanding accessibility and security compliance from a code perspective. 

Soft skills:

  • Communication skills.
  • Collaboration
  • Problem Solving
  • Critical thinking.
  • Time management.
  • Flexibility
  • Ability to work under pressure.

How do I become a Software Engineer?

Typically, senior software engineer is a culmination of many years of software development experience. Technically one cannot study to become a senior software engineer.

The technology landscape has changed significantly, and very quickly over the last five years.

The route to becoming a senior software engineer starts off with becoming a software developer. This is a challenging decision as there are simply so many coding languages to choose from.

Ultimately it is the way that a developer handles learning a wide selection of these coding languages and gaining many years of experience, that allows a developer to move into a senior software engineer role.

Senior software engineers have an aptitude for continuous learning. There are constant changes to coding standards which this type of person naturally adapts to. Developing a sense of how software development contributes to the business flow is a crucial requirement. Crafting solutions that are both technically correct and actually satisfies the client’s intent can be a real art.

What do you need in your portfolio?

Any qualifications you have, both formal and online courses.
Up-to-date, newer qualifications are more significant and relevant than old training references. The technology space evolves quickly and while old experience and training is good, newer training shows that you knowledge is current and relevant.

You will need to show that you have worked in different technologies, using different software and hardware platforms. Cloud experience is becoming a significant requirement and you will have to demonstrate that you have an understanding of at least one of the three main cloud providers.

Your ability to learn, unlearn and relearn will have to come through in your work experience. Your experience will show your progression of technologies on front end, back end, frameworks and hardware/infrastructure setup experience.

Your experience will have to show that you have worked on actual live, in-production systems. Theoretical or conceptual work that is not subject to real-time stress loads does not put an engineer into a senior software engineer qualified space. The team needs to be able to rely on the senior software engineers to take the lead in updating and fixing live systems by understanding how to request and schedule downtime, etc.



Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a certificate or master’s degree?

No. Online training certificates and experience is more important.

How can you get an Software Engineering job with no experience?

Study online and take on small projects or get a junior software coding position. experience design and contacting organisations to hear whether they would consider someone without job experience for a junior position. Do some desktop research, learn more about the role, ask to see some of our projects, and show us what you would have done differently with a developed solution.

Is Software Engineering a good career?

Yes! It is one of the most comfortable, top paying salaried positions that is also future proof to an extent

What makes someone a great Software Engineer?

All of the above!

What’s are the best tools to learn for a Software Engineer?

No single tool. Coding is probably one of the fastest changing environments.

Is it hard to become a Software Engineer?


What is the best part about your role?

Creative, fulfilling, satisfying, interactive, meet new people, exciting, make good money, have a good lifestyle.

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