Five skills that can help software engineers stand out from the pack

Here are five core skills that can help you build critical competencies as a software engineer and help you stand out from the pack.

Last week I blogged about a CareerCast report that said Software Engineer was the hottest job for 2011. Many readers chose to blast me and TR for associating this job with low stress and I'd just like to say that it's not like CareerCast came to me and asked me about the stress level. I was merely reporting what they stated as the credentials for the determination. But if CareerCast ever DOES ask me, I'll tell them that they're wrong. Judging by the reaction that blog got, I'd have to say that software engineers are fairly overwrought.

But back to business. If you read that blog and would still like to pursue a career as a software engineer or if you're a software engineer who would like to know how to stand out from the pack, here are some tips.

Bruce Douglass, Chief Evangelist from IBM Rational suggests these five core skills to help build critical


Electric Vehicle Mechanics: According to SBI Energy and J.D. Power & Associates, the electric vehicle market in the U.S. will double by 2020. As automakers upgrade the features in electric, so will the amount of software code in each vehicle. Students with knowledge and fundamentals on electric vehicles will be in better position to create complex battery systems, electric drive units and cabin electronics. Probability and Statistics: Collecting, processing, analyzing and interpreting numerical data is key. These skills can be used to calculate the average downtime of a computer, evaluating the effectiveness of commercial products, predicting the reliability of a rocket or studying the vibrations of airplane wings. Environmental Engineering: The green movement will remain a hot button issue for future engineers. Finding new ways to improve the environment, provide healthy water, air, and land for human habitation, and to remediate polluted sites are all important areas of expertise for students. Engineering Economics: This skill is for any student with aspirations of one day managing a project. It is used to answer many likely scenarios, like: Which engineering projects are worthwhile? Which engineering projects should have a higher priority? How should the engineering project be designed? Etc. Ethics: This skill goes along with well established fields such as medical, business and legal ethics. Amid pressure from recent events like the levies failing in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, universities are putting a higher emphasis for students to have a better understanding of ethical and quantitative concepts, as opposed to solely focusing on data and numbers.