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The Bachelor of Engineering (Software) combines computer science, engineering, and maths in order to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to design, operate, and maintain many aspects of complex software products. Software engineers are concerned with all aspects of building large, complex, software systems for applications in most areas of society, yet cover not only the technical aspects of building software systems, but also management issues, such as directing programming teams, scheduling, and budgeting.
Graduates develop and manage software systems in varied fields such as commerce, engineering, government, and research. Employment is found in software product development, varying levels and departments of government, banking and finance, defence and security, industrial systems, telecommunications, internet and web engineering, and marketing and consulting.
Note: Mathematics is an essential element of this degree and it is highly recommended that students have an awareness of maths at either the Band 5 or HSC Extension 1 level.
This degree has a compulsory 12 week industrial experience element necessary for graduation.
For more information about Software Engineering, visit the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science site.
Some occupations require a higher level of completed study than an undergraduate degree, and for this reason it is worthwhile considering the range of Honours, Research Higher Degrees (RHD), Postgraduate Coursework and additional study options available. These options may also be useful for specialising in a particular area, or to stimulate career change. Some of the future options following a degree in Software Engineering include:
Honours is an embedded fourth year in the degree, and is awarded for outstanding performance in the program as a whole. For more information, see Bachelor of Engineering (Software) (Honours).
Take a look at the Newcastle Robotics Laboratory, whose staff and students have competed in (and won) world championships in robot soccer. It is possible to undertake a PhD within this laboratory.
After completing a degree there are a broad range of postgraduate options available in a variety of fields which can allow you to specialise in a particular area of interest or build upon your existing knowledge base. To explore such options please visit the Postgraduate Handbook.
Software Engineers often work closely with other professionals, at times pooling expertise on particular projects. They are involved in a wide range of industries and may work in offices, laboratories, or outdoors on construction projects. The following is a list of specific position titles that graduates may find within this field. Access to these positions may depend on the amount, level, and focus of study and/or work experience undertaken.
Graduates are also able to use the transferable skills gained in their studies to work outside the software engineering industries. In some instances, further study and/or work experience may be required.
As well as the jobs listed above, there are many positions outside the general field of Software Engineering that graduates may pursue using the transferable skills gained in their studies. The list of job titles below shows examples of the type of jobs / careers graduates can diversify into; that might not necessarily be directly related to their degree.
- Computer/Software Engineering
- Software Engineer
- International Aid/Development Worker
- Computer/Software Engineering
- Project Manager
- Research Scientist
- Research in the area of Engineering
Getting the Edge
Most employers seek to recruit people who have relevant work experience and an appreciation for their industry. Here is a check list of ideas about gaining experience and industry knowledge.
- Check the type of experience most employers in your field of interest expect. Don’t overlook the part time work you may be currently doing. Most employers understand that the skills are transferrable even if the work is not in their industry.
- Check your academic program for any courses that involve a placement or the opportunity to undertake an industry based project.
- Check your school for Summer Scholarships for research opportunities.
- Check vacancy sites for advertised traineeships, part time employment and vacation work opportunities in your field.
- Source and approach organisations directly about possible work shadowing or information interview opportunities.
- Source and approach organisations directly for paid work opportunities.
- Consider volunteering.
Note: Gaining experience may be important but not at the expense of your studies. Make sure you do not overload your timetable with unrealistic work commitments.
Software engineering employment opportunities exist in a wide variety of industries within small, medium and large organisations. Below is an example of some major organisations which formally target graduates with qualifications in software engineering. Check employers’ websites for a section called Employment, Careers, Graduate Programs or similar titles. Some of these employers may offer vacation work opportunities.
- Abigroup (Australia)
- Accenture Australia Ltd (International)
- Altium Limited (Australia)
- Australian Defence Force (International)
- Australian Taxation Office (Australia)
- BAE Systems (Australia)
- Bechtel (International)
- Canon Information Systems Research Australia (Australia)
- CEA Technologies Pty Limited (Australia)
- CSC - Computer Sciences Corporation (International)
- CSIRO (Australia)
- Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) (Australia)
- Department of Defence - Defence Signals Directorate (DSD) (Australia)
- Department of Families and Community Services (Australia)
- Ford Motor Company (Australia)
- GLI Australia (Australia)
- Honeywell (International)
- IBM (Australia)
- Kaz Technology Services (Australia)
- Matrikon (International)
- Motorola Australia (Australia)
- Optiva (Australia)
- Orica (International)
- Qantas (International)
- Queensland Alumina Limited (Australia)
- SAAB Systems Pty. Ltd (International)
- Sydac (Australia)
- Telstra (Australia)
- Thales (Australia)
Some large organisations have specific graduate recruitment programs designed to employ the pick of graduates each year. You must be in your final year of study or recently completed to apply for these programs. The timing of these recruitment drives varies and may occur at any point in the academic year, in some cases starting as early as the first few weeks of the first semester or trimester.
Find out if employers in your area/s of interest have graduate programs, when they typically recruit and what recruitment methods they use. Check with the Careers Service .
Job Prospects and Salary
For up-to-date information please see Job Outlook Australia. This site provides basic Australian labour market information including job prospects, skills requirements and salaries. You might try some of the classifications below as a guide on this site.
The Bachelor of Engineering (Software) is accredited by the Institute of Engineers Australia (trading as Engineers Australia), the Australian Computer Society, and affiliated international organisations. This ensures recognition of the qualification throughout Australia and many overseas countries.
Societies and Associations
Associations and societies often provide relevant and up to date information about a variety of issues relating to specific industry sectors. These can be a good starting point to learn more about occupations through profiles, industry news, links to academic journals and information on research developments. Many also offer student membership, conference and professional development activities, newsletters and the opportunity to participate in projects.
Below is a variety of links to Software Engineering related societies and associations.
Don’t overlook student societies and associations. As well as student chapters of professional associations, some faculties or schools have discipline based student associations. Check your school or faculty web site; perhaps you might start one if one doesn’t exist.
Some academic disciplines run Seminar Programs that involve regular seminars presented by University of Newcastle academics, visiting academics and postgraduate students. Check your schools website for the timetable.
Job Search Sites
Searching job sites is a good way to gain an understanding of: industries recruiting professionals in this field; types of roles and the requirements or expectations of employers for these roles. There are many online job search sites, here are a few to start with:
Australian and International
- CareerHub: the University of Newcastle Careers Service careers and job search site for enrolled students and graduates.
- CareerOne: Australia wide job listings, all levels and industries including executive positions
- MyCareer: Australian and international listings
- Seek: comprehensive Australian job listings, also includes New Zealand and UK listings
- The Big Chair: Management and Executive Jobs
Graduate Attributes and Employability
Graduate attributes for the Bachelor of Engineering (Software) are the necessary skills, abilities and knowledge required to become a professional engineer. Below is the complete list of attributes that graduates will have demonstrated upon the completion of the degree.
- A sound knowledge of engineering fundamentals and the sciences which underpin them.
- An in-depth technical competence in at least one of the engineering specialisations.
- The necessary skills to apply technologies and resources in engineering problem solving.
- An appreciation of the broad range of issues which impact on the Engineering domain as a component of our society.
- An ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution.
- An understanding of social, cultural, global and environmental responsibilities and the need to employ principles of sustainable development.
- An ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operation performance.
- A proficiency in Engineering Design.
- An ability to conduct an engineering project.
- An understanding of the business environment and the ability to employ business principles within engineering projects.
- An ability to communicate effectively, with the engineering team and with the community at large.
- An ability to manage information and documentation.
- A capacity for creativity and innovation.
- Understanding of professional and ethic responsibilities and a commitment to them.
- An ability to function effectively as an individual and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams, as a team leader or manager as well as an effective team member.
- A capacity for lifelong learning and professional development.
- The ability to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes of a professional engineer.
You will recognise these attributes in the selection criteria listed in the following job ads.
Sample Job Ads & Tips
Job ads provide useful information about the job and the required skills, experience and qualifications. Information like this is useful in career planning. Below is a small sample of job ads with tips on planning and job applications; explore further to gather more useful information for your planning.
Please note: the job ads listed on this page are not current and were sourced from a variety of websites in 2010.