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Difficulty of Software Engineering and Ways to Overcome Common Challenges

As businesses and organizations work to keep up with an evolving digital landscape, the need for software engineers has soared—along with interest from individuals looking to pursue a career in this dynamic field. For those without programming or coding skills, or any type of background in tech, software engineering may initially seem hard to learn. 

Fortunately, aspiring software engineers can access online resources and learn from a wide range of courses offered to overcome any challenges associated with the role. What an effective software engineer needs, and what sets this job apart from other tech roles is a combination of specialized skills and a willingness to learn broad technical topics. 

As a critical part of the information technology industry, software engineering is influenced by varying factors, including growing complexities, market conditions, changing technology trends, and increasing software development challenges. The ability to navigate these factors, as well as grasp existing processes are necessary to excel in the field. 

Software Engineering Challenges

It’s important to understand the major challenges in software engineering and devise a systematic roadmap to address each challenge as it arises. Whether it’s keeping up with the rapid advancement of technology or dealing with limited infrastructure and resources, software engineers are trained and develop the skill set needed to anticipate and overcome these types of challenges in the workplace. The experience gained helps professionals adjust and adapt to the ever-changing demands of the job. Read on to learn about other common challenges software engineers may face during their careers. 

1. Rapid Advancement of Technology

Technology evolves at a phenomenal rate and leads to added pressure for software engineers. From learning and staying up-to-date on concepts such as stack and JavaScript to writing code, software engineers juggle a variety of tasks to fulfill their duties. The ability to leverage tech trends in software product development gives professionals a cutting edge over competitors and allows them to stand out in a highly competitive market. 

2. Growing Customer Demands

Software engineers generally work with conceptual projects designed and developed to meet varied customer demands. Even within the simplest application or product, software engineers must work toward understanding underlying business concepts and introduce required features to satisfy the needs of the consumer. 

3. Time Constraints

Software engineering is time-consuming. Engineers work in high-pressure environments and must complete project requirements within tight deadlines. These demands may prove especially challenging when interacting with global customers across multiple time zones. These types of time constraints can impact a development team’s efficiency, leading to lower-quality end products. 

4. Limited Infrastructure

Few resources or the lack of IT infrastructure to effectively execute projects effectively are some of challenges software engineers face in today’s tech landscape. Whether it's not having high-performance software engineering tools, computing platforms not operating to standards, inefficient data storage architectures, or improper networks and connectivity, software engineers rely heavily on infrastructure to perform their jobs effectively. When these components aren’t available or accessible, productivity among software development teams may be impacted and affect the overall results of a project or product. 

5. Software Testing Conflicts

In traditional software engineering projects, it’s not uncommon for conflict to arise between software engineers and testers. Some of the factors that contribute to this type of interpersonal workplace challenge range from having to work under high-performance pressure, different mindsets on the quality of a product, differences in job roles, and the opposite nature of responsibilities between development and testing teams. Not controlling or managing testing conflicts effectively may impact the integrity of a project which can delay the release of a software system product or service. 

6. Changing Requirements

Software requirements are often fluid and can change frequently. This can make it difficult to design and develop software that meets the needs of the users.  This is especially true when coming up with leading edge software.

7. Limited Time and Resources

Software development is often a time- and resource-constrained process. This can make it difficult to implement all of the security, scalability, reliability, and usability features that would be ideal.

8. Security

Writing secure software is a complex and challenging task. There are many different types of security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by attackers, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest threats.

9. Scalability

Software that is not designed to scale can quickly become a bottleneck as the number of users or transactions increases. This can lead to performance problems, outages, and even data loss.  To write scalable software you need to consider multiple things: Use a scalable architecture, Use efficient algorithms and data structures; Reliability: Software that is not reliable can cause a great deal of frustration for users. Frequent crashes, errors, and downtime can lead to lost productivity, revenue, and customer goodwill.

10. High Availability

To build a highly available system you should use a scalable architecture,  use redundant components , use load balancing, use failover and have a disaster recovery plan

11. Usability

To build easy to use software you should do the following: keep it simple, design for the user, use consistent design, provide feedback and help.  

For all of these you need to test your software thoroughly,  and  monitor your software in production.

Why Software Engineering Is Difficult

A significant portion of a software engineer’s job is devoted to programming. But as these professionals take on greater responsibilities and advance further in their careers, more time is devoted to thinking about, evaluating, and assessing the design behind intricate and elaborate systems. As such, software engineers must adopt an engineering mindset requiring increased curiosity, love of learning, and the ability to ask the right questions. 

How to Become a Successful Software Engineer

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects employment opportunities in software development and engineering to grow by 25% from 2021 to 2031. Despite being a competitive field, a software engineering career offers many rewarding benefits, including a competitive salary. The BLS reports that software engineers in 2021 earned a median annual salary of $109,020.

While education requirements to become a software engineer vary, most employers prefer or require software engineers to hold a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline such as computer science, information technology, or math.  

Software engineers are able to develop their skills by exploring a software engineering degree at WGU. A bachelor’s degree in software engineering from WGU helps increase graduates' earning potential and provides opportunities for advancement as they work toward building a career on the cutting edge of technology. 

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