Software Engineers and Designers

(NOC 2173)

in All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

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 Outlook

Good

Read more

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 205 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

  • Estimate Strong growth employment change, 2017-2019
  • Estimate 3095 openings due to growth and retirements, 2017-2019
  • Estimate Low rate of unemployment in 2016

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)

Hourly Pay

$21.63

Minimum

$35.71

Median

$48.08

Maximum

Annual Pay

$24,845

Minimum

$71,270

Median

$106,614

Maximum

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

Hourly Pay

$17.69

Minimum

$31.35

Median

$47.18

Maximum

Annual Pay

$13,568

Minimum

$60,422

Median

$107,009

Maximum

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.

By the numbers

Quick look

820

employed in 2016

98.2%

employed full-time

5.5%

self employed

14.9%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
85.1%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
36.1

median age

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

25,875

employed in 2016

93.6%

employed full-time

6.9%

self employed

20.0%
Icons/female Created with Sketch.
80%
Icons/male Created with Sketch.
42.8

median age

Where will I likely work?

84.6%

Halifax

6.3%

Southern

5.1%

Northern

3.4%

Annapolis Valley

Compared to: All NS Occupations

47.0%

Halifax

15.6%

Northern

12.9%

Annapolis Valley

12.7%

Cape Breton

11.8%

Southern

Top Industries of Employment

56.0%

Computer System Design Services

7.7%

Information, Culture & Recreation

6.0%

Public Administration

5.4%

Management, Admin & Other Support

4.8%

Computer, Electronic and Electrical Product Manufacturing

What is the age of Employment?

41.9%

35-44

30.2%

25-34

18.6%

45-54

9.3%

15-24

4.7%

55-64

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

32.5%

35-44

32.0%

45-54

18.0%

55-64

13.5%

25-34

3.5%

65+

Top levels of education

58.0%

Bachelor's degree

$70,992 median annual income
16.7%

Doctorate

N/A
15.4%

College certificate or diploma

$67,098 median annual income
4.3%

High school

$44,806 median annual income
2.5%

University advanced certificate or diploma

N/A

Compared to: All Engineering, Math, Science, and Information Technology

33.7%

College certificate or diploma

$52,476 median annual income
29.7%

Bachelor's degree

$58,011 median annual income
12.1%

High school

$35,125 median annual income
9.7%

Master's degree

$37,706 median annual income
6.8%

Trades certificate

$54,923 median annual income

Education & training

Computational mathematics

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

Computer programming - Specific applications

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Computer programming/programmer - General

This program is typically offered at the trades/college level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Nova Scotia Community College - Annapolis Valley Campus

50 Elliott Road

Lawrencetown, NS B0S 1M0

(902) 825-3491

Nova Scotia Community College - Institute of Technology Campus

5685 Leeds Street

Halifax, NS B3K 2T3

(902) 491-6722

Computer science

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Acadia University

15 University Avenue

Wolfville, NS B4P 2R6

(902) 542-2201

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Mathematics - General

This program is typically offered at the college or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

University of King's College

6350 Coburg Road

Halifax, NS B3H 2A1

(902) 422-1271

Mount Saint Vincent University

166 Bedford Highway

Halifax, NS B3M 2J6

(902) 457-6117

St. Francis Xavier University

PO Box 5000

Antigonish, NS B2G 2W5

(902) 867-2219

Saint Mary's University

923 Robie Street

Halifax, NS B3H 3C3

(902) 420-5400

Cape Breton University

PO Box 5300 1250 Grand Lake Road

Sydney, NS B1P 6L2

(888) 959-9995

Medical informatics

This program may be offered at the college, trades, or university level.

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.

Institutions providing this program

Dalhousie University

Office of the Registrar

Halifax, NS B3H 4R2

(902) 494-2450

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

Contacts

Information and Communications Technology Council
116 Lisgar Street, Suite 300
Ottawa, ON K2P 0C2
Tel: (613) 237-8551
Fax: (613) 230-3490

Additional resources

Job postings

Member, Technical Staff - Systems

Technical Co-op - Software IRAD

View all job postings