By the time you’re a senior engineer, less than half of what you earn will be from your salary — the rest will be from bonuses, stock, and other benefits. Through organisations like Telis Bioscience and SecureDNA , there are significant opportunities for software engineers to contribute to reducing these risks. We’ve previously written about how to move into a machine learning career for AI safety. We now think it is easier than we previously thought to move into an AI-safety-related software engineering role without explicit machine learning experience. After five to eight years2, you’ll generally progress to a senior engineer position.

software engineering

You’ll join our agile Force for Good teams to create real-world technology solutions for non-profit organizations through a series of “side” projects that take place over several months. Often these organisations are focused on front-end development, with jobs ranging from application development and web development to data science and project management roles. There are often also opportunities for full-stack developers with a broad range of experience. New graduates, and other people with a couple of years of relevant experience, will start out as junior engineers.

As a result, it’s likely to remain incredibly valuable to have talented engineers working on ensuring that these experiments are as efficient and safe as possible. Experts we spoke to expect this to remain a key bottleneck in AI safety research for many years. There’s also often overlap between experimental results that will help further AI safety and results that could accelerate the development of unsafe AI, so it’s also important that the results of these experiments are kept secure.

See our list of the highest-impact career paths according to our research. We can help you compare options, make connections, and possibly even help you find jobs or funding opportunities. And again, ask your interviewer some questions about them and the company. Make it as specific as possible to the job you’re applying for, and proofread it carefully.

Our Opportunities

We’ve seen many people with humanities and social science degrees get junior software engineer jobs with high salaries, just through learning on their own or through coding bootcamps. Work-life balance in software engineering is generally better than in jobs with higher or comparable pay. According to one survey, software engineers work 8.6 hours per day (though hours are likely to be longer in higher-paid roles and at startups). There are recurring opportunities for software engineers with a range of technical skills . However, the experience of working in small organisations varies wildly. You’ll be less likely to have many very senior experienced engineers around to give you the feedback you need to improve.

software engineering

However, the expected value of your earnings — especially as a cofounder — could be extremely high. For this reason, if you’re a particularly good fit, founding a tech startup and donating your earnings could be hugely impactful, as you could earn and donate extraordinary amounts. Telis Bioscience is a startup attempting to radically accelerate drug development to mitigate risks from future pandemics.

Ultimately, the best ways to have an impact with software engineering are probably things like working at an AI lab or a particularly effective nonprofit. Effective Altruism Funds provides expert-managed funds to facilitate donors maximising the impact of their donations. They use software engineers to design and maintain their online platform.

You can find startup positions on job boards such as AngelList, and many top venture capital firms have job boards for their portfolio companies. Do a project with other people — this lets you test out writing programs in a team and working with larger codebases. It’s easy to come up with programming projects to do with friends — you can see some examples here. Contributing to open-source projects in particular lets you work with very large existing codebases. However, this is probably offset by increases in other forms of compensation.

If you can get a referral from a friend, that will significantly increase your chances of success. Notably, the differences between locations in salaries at the 90th percentile is much higher than the differences in median salaries. There is also a big focus on security, particularly at organisations like SecureDNA. This work uses a range of programming languages, including Python, Rust, C++ and JavaScript. Once you’ve successfully demonstrated that you can work on projects without needing much support, you’ll be given more responsibility. For a couple of years, you’ll work on more complex projects (often in one or two languages in which you’ve specialised), and with less support from others.

Find A Job In This Path

You’ll have access to continuous training both on-the-job and via courses to build your technical and business skills. We’ll cover topics ranging from cybersecurity to presentation skills to further your career development. Our teams are dedicated to your support and advocacy throughout the two years of the program. Dive head first into creating innovative solutions that make a difference for our customers, clients and employees. Our program is designed to make sure you’re supported and learning new skills.

software engineering

In the US, entry-level software engineer salaries start at around $110,000. Engineers at Microsoft start at $150,000, and engineers at Google start at around $180,000 . If you’re successful, after a few years on the job you could be earning over $500,000 a year. embedded software definition could be a great option for having a direct impact on the world’s most pressing problems. Basic programming skills can be easy to learn and extremely useful even if you decide not to go into software engineering, which means trying this out could be particularly low cost.

Examples Of People Pursuing This Path

You will be asked about general software knowledge, and later rounds of interviews are likely to give you problems around coding and algorithms, during which you will be asked to collaborate with the interviewer to solve the problem. Strong growth in demand provides the potential for salary growth, but it also depends on how easily the supply of engineers can keep up with demand. The number of web development jobs is projected to grow by 13% from 2020–2030. The main reasons for this are the expected growth of e-commerce and an increase in mobile devices that access the web.

software engineering

You’ll have clear priorities and projects where you’ll be able to make a difference across our business and add value from the start. It’s worth practising software engineering interview questions in advance; often this means apply for companies you are less likely to want to work at first, and use these applications to get used to the process. We’ve advised many people who managed to get junior software engineer jobs in less than a year through going to a bootcamp.

Reasons Not To Go Into Software Engineering

We’re looking for those who are intellectually curious, collaborative and open to new challenges, as well as being able to take ownership of projects to bring them to fruition. If you can find internships, ideally at your target employers , you’ll gain practical experience and the key skills you otherwise wouldn’t pick up from academic degrees (e.g. using version control systems and powerful text editors). You’ll need different skills, and work at different jobs, depending on whether you want to be a front-end, back-end , or full-stack developer.

  • Make it as specific as possible to the job you’re applying for, and proofread it carefully.
  • And because it’s very easy to test out , you’ll be able to tell early on whether you’re likely to be a good fit.
  • Dive head first into creating innovative solutions that make a difference for our customers, clients and employees.
  • The best way to develop software skills is to practise writing code and building software through years of experience.
  • For a start, almost all of the official data on this is on salaries rather than total compensation.
  • We’re looking for enthusiastic, capable and motivated Computer Science and/or Engineering majors who want to directly contribute to our businesses from day one.
  • Most government data also reports median salaries, but as we saw when looking at progression in big tech firms, very senior software engineers can earn seven-figure compensations.

Many software engineers we have spoken to say the work is engaging, often citing the puzzles and problems involved with programming, and being able to enter a state of flow . On the other hand, working with large existing codebases and fixing bugs are often less pleasant. Despite all of this, remote work in software development is becoming far more common.

Software Engineer Program

It’s important to note that many nonprofit organisations, including those focusing on AI safety, will offer salaries and benefits that compete with those at for-profit firms. Momentum is a startup building donation pages that encourage recurring donations to the world’s most effective charities. Even for skilled engineers who could command high salaries, we think that working directly on a problem will probably be more impactful than earning to give. Make a significant direct impact, either by working on AI safety, or in otherwise particularly effective organisations. Backgrounds, we’re working together to provide the best solutions and services to our customers. Get regular updates featuring our latest research, events near you, and high-impact career opportunities.

Join Our Next Generation Of Technologists

Tech companies are progressive, often having flexible hours, convenient perks, remote working, and a results-driven culture. The best companies are widely regarded as among the best places to work in the world. These data are supported by data on various locations in the US (e.g. Atlanta, New York City, Seattle, and the Bay Area). These organisations are doing research directly with extremely large neural networks, which means each experiment can cost millions of dollars to run.

Current best practices and process models of the software development life cycle are covered with detailed study of all process phases from requirements elicitation through operations and maintenance. Emphasis is on design attributes that make it possible to efficiently implement, extend, and maintain large systems. If you’re in university, this is a great option because it allows you to learn programming while the opportunity cost of your time is lower. It will also give you a better theoretical understanding of computing than a bootcamp will , a good network, some prestige, and a better understanding of lower-level languages like C. Having a CS degree also makes it easier to get a US work visa if you’re not from the US. Try out writing code — as a complete beginner, you can write a Python program in less than 20 minutes that reminds you to take a break every two hours.

For example, it can be harder to gain full-stack or transferable front-end development experience at a large company. Many large mature products have a large front-end team making many small tweaks and analysing their performance in experiments. In general, you will gain broadly transferable skills through either of these options. To gain experience as quickly and effectively as possible, look for roles that offer good management and mentorship opportunities.

You could be developing digital and mobile features that give our customers and clients more control over how they bank with us. You could be strategizing on how big data can make our trading systems quicker. You could be engineering automated recovery solutions on a global scale. You could be supporting the integration of our private and public cloud platforms.

We’ve also found that software engineers can contribute greatly to work aiming at preventing pandemics and other global catastrophic biological risks. Once you’ve successfully completed the program, there will be opportunity for advancement in our Technology organization based on your performance. Our culture of continuous learning will help you to take your career further.

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