From Noob to Pro: Journey of a Software Developer/Engineer

Hello there! Here is me back again writing my second medium article. If in case you missed it, check out my first medium article on “Communities” in the Venture Capital ecosystem here (although unrelated to this one).

Context

Having come from a technical background and starting a career as a software engineer myself, I thought of penning down my learning that could help anyone build his/her career for tomorrow.

This article is an attempt to detail the career ladder for a software engineer/developer in the IT industry — types of companies hiring for software engineers, types of roles, career path, usual CTC for these roles, skill set required for those roles.

Note: This article is mostly relevant for more traditional companies and might not fit well with startups. Also, the salary range mentioned later in the article is just for reference and definitely should not be considered as a benchmark.

Companies that hire

  • Product-based companies
    Simply put, product-based companies have their own products to sell. Some names include Adobe, Amazon, Amdocs, BMC Software, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Hewlett-Packard (HP), International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), Intel, Intuit, McAfee, Microsoft, Paypal, Redhat, etc.
  • Service-based companies
    Service-based companies may or may not have their products, but their primary business is service. They work for other organizations or we can say they are clients of Product Based companies. Some names include Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Cognizant, HCL, Tech Mahindra, L&T, Mphasis, Mindtree, C-DAC, Cybage, Cyient, Thoughtworks, KPIT Technologies, etc.

Honestly, I never debate on product-based companies vs service-based companies and usually leave it to the individual to figure out as per his/her interests and skill-sets.

Read more here on the difference between a product-based company and a service-based company.

The career path of a software engineer

Note: Below career path is generic in nature and applies to most of the companies/startups and most individuals in the IT industry. However, it might differ slightly from company to company in terms of work experience, skill-set required, exact job title, and job responsibilities.

1. Software Engineer

  • What they do: Build quality software in a timely fashion based on client specifications. Launch and debug applications
  • Skills required: Programming languages, operating systems, algorithms, and databases

2. Senior Software Engineer

  • What they do: Build software and coach other developers/engineers
  • Skills required: Basic architecture, advanced code design, coaching, and training.

3. Tech Lead

  • What they do: Oversees a team responsible for the planning, execution, and success of complex software solutions.
  • Skills required: Advanced architecture and system design, project management.

4. Engineering Manager/VP of Engineering

  • What they do: Build process for teams, champions product thinking, and provides technical leadership.
  • Skills required: Advanced architecture and system design.

5. Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

  • What they do: In charge of the organization’s technological needs and R&D, uses technology to enhance products and services for external customers.
  • Skills required: Hiring, people skills, strategic thinking.

Career options for a Software Engineer

Back-end, full-stack, and front-end engineers still saw the highest demand, making up more than half of all interview requests for software engineers, as per Hired.com’s State of Software Engineers 2021

1. Back-end Engineer

  • Average base salary of a back end developer in India: ~ 7–8 LPA
  • Usual CTC Range: ~ 3 LPA to 18 LPA
  • Skill-set or experience required in following languages: Python, PHP, Node.js, Go, Java, C++

2. Front-end engineer

  • Average base salary of a front end developer in India: ~ 5–6 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 3 LPA to 12 LPA
  • Skill-set or experience required in following languages: JavaScript, CSS, HTML
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: TCS, Accenture, Sapient, Capgemini, HCL, Cognizant, Freshdesk

3. Web full-stack engineer

  • Average base salary of a full stack developer in India: ~ 6–7 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 4 LPA to 14 LPA
  • Skill-set or experience required in following languages: JavaScript, CSS, HTML, Angular, React, Django, Python, Java, Node.js, Go, MySQL
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: TCS, IBM, Vassar Labs, Nuclei, Report Garden, Accenture, Wipro, GALE Partners, Infosys, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Oracle Schlumberger

4. Mobile developer

  • Average base salary of a mobile developer in India: ~ 4–5 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 2 LPA to 14 LPA
  • Skill-set required or experience in following languages: Kotlin / Java (for Android) and Swift /Objective-C (for iOS)
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: Jio, Solution IT, TCS, Cognizant

5. Game/graphics engineer

  • Average base salary of a game/graphics engineer in India: ~ 4–5 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 2 LPA to 20 LPA
  • Skill-set or experience required in following languages: C/C++, C#, Unity, GPU graphics
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: Sumo digital

6. Data engineering

  • Average base salary of a data engineer in India: ~ 8–9 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 3.6 LPA to 20 LPA
  • Skill Set or experience required in following languages: Python or R, SQL, Data science toolkits NumPy, Pandas, SciPy, scikit-learn, Big Data technologies: Hadoop, Hive, BigTable, Cassandra or relevant
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: Amazon, TCS, IBM, Infosys, Jio, Accenture, General Electric, Capgemini, Cognizant, Fractal Analytics, HCL

7. Quality Assurance/Test/Automation Engineer (SDET — Software Development Engineer in Test)

  • Average base salary of a QA engineer in India: ~ 3–4 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 1.8 LPA to 9 LPA
  • Skill Set or experience required in following languages: C#,.NET, Java or other programming languages, Knowledge of various test methods & corresponding tools like MS Test, NUnit, TestNG, Selenium WebDriver, etc.
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: Amazon, Cybage, Dassault Systems, HCL, Oracle, Talentica, Flextronics, Capita India, Fidelity Investments, Synerzip

8. DevOps Engineer

  • Average base salary of a DevOps Engineer in India: ~ 6–7 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 3.4 LPA to 20 LPA
  • Skill Set or experience required in following languages: Source control: Git, Bitbucket, SVN, Infrastructure automation: Puppet, Chef, Cloud: AWS, Azure, Google Cloud
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: TCS, Accenture, Amazon, IBM, Cognizant, Amdocs, Infosys, Wipro, Oracle, HCL, SAP Labs, Citrix, Thoughtworks, Nagarro, Zycus Infotech, Jio, Dell

9. Algorithms/Science Software Developers

  • Average base salary of an algorithms developer in India: ~ 6–7 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 3.2 LPA to 20 LPA
  • Skill Set or experience required in following areas: highly quantitative problem-solving skill, Optimization, fine-tuning, quantum computing, and in-depth research
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: Microsoft Research, Google Brain, Open AI, Facebook Research, Amazon, ISRO

10. Embedded System Developers

  • Average base salary of an embedded system developer in India: ~ 4–5 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 1.9 LPA to 10 LPA
  • Skill Set or experience required in following languages: Java, XML, Perl, Python, Shell Scripting, C/C++, Assembler
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: Qualcomm, Intel, Tata Elxsi, ARM, Cisco, Robert Bosch, Whirlpool

11. Cloud Developers

  • Average base salary of a cloud developer in India: ~ 7 LPA
  • CTC Range: ~ 1.6 LPA to 60 LPA
  • Skill Set or experience required in following languages: Linux, Database, Cloud platforms
  • Popular companies hiring for such roles: Microsoft, Google, HP, Apple, AWS (Amazon Web Services)

Tip: Do check Glassdoor once while applying for any company/role or if you need a salary reference for any specific role.

That’s it, folks! Hope this article would have been helpful. Thanks for your time, thanks for reading! :)

Feel free to connect with me on Twitter. Have suggestions for my next blog topic? Send them away on Twitter DM. :)

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ACM’s Distinguished Speaker | Developer Relations @ Google India | International Speaker — AI/ML/Cloud | Tech + Communities + Edu + Design + Startups

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