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How to Write a Software Engineering Job Description [Template]

Written By Ryan Loftus | May 25, 2022

In 2022, software engineer was the most in-demand role in the world. To effectively attract and hire software engineers, companies will need to craft job descriptions that sell candidates on the opportunity of the position. In this post, we break down how hiring managers and recruiters can write successful software engineer job descriptions.

What Does a Software Engineer Do?

Before writing a compelling job description, companies should have a clear understanding of software engineering and the core requirements of the role.

Software engineering is a branch of computer science that deals with the design, implementation, and maintenance of complex computer programs. Software engineers develop, design, and test software applications and apply engineering principles to the process of building software. 

A software engineer performs many of the tasks that a software developer does, but with a big-picture, design-centric approach. This distinction means that they’re focused on structure design and eliminating technical debt, in addition to writing great code.

On a more technical level, the core job responsibilities of software engineers include:

  • Writing high-quality, maintainable, reusable code
  • Collaborating with and demonstrating new features to stakeholders in an Agile environment
  • Designing, developing, troubleshooting, and debugging software programs for enhancements and new products 
  • Conducting routine concept design through the full development life cycle 
  • Preparing and conducting systems programming tests

What Should a Job Description Include?

Company Value Proposition

Over the next decade, there will be an average of 189,200 openings for software engineers each year. With this level of demand for their skills, software engineers will have an endless array of opportunities to choose from. What will make your open roles stand out? The first section of a job description needs to address this question.

Communicating the opportunity of the role at hand – along with the employer brand, value proposition, and company culture – is essential to crafting a successful job description.

Responsibilities

The responsibilities section lists the core activities of the role. There are a number of different ways to represent these responsibilities, including daily tasks, monthly responsibilities, objectives of the role, and key outcomes. 

Common software engineering responsibilities include:

  • System design
  • Engineering
  • Coding
  • Planning
  • Communication
  • Collaboration

Basic Qualifications

The basic qualifications section has two main components.

First is the required degree level. A common qualification for software engineering roles is for the candidate to have either a BS/BA degree or equivalent experience. If the role is open to applicants from bootcamps and self-taught engineers, this is the section to communicate that.

Second is the required years of experience scaled to the seniority of the role. This requirement is communicated as either a range or a minimum requirement:

  • Entry-level: 0-2 years
  • Mid-level: 3-5 years
  • Senior-level: 5+ years

Lastly, some companies will use this section to list experience with a minimum number of programming languages as a basic qualification.

Required Qualifications

The required qualifications section is one of the core sections of a job description. While basic qualifications focus on education and experience, this section gives employers the space to list the must-have technical competencies and soft skills required by the role. 

Common technologies found in this section include:

  • C
  • C#
  • C+
  • Go
  • Java
  • PHP
  • Python
  • Ruby
  • Rust
  • SQL
  • MySQL
  • NoSQL
  • Oracle
  • AWS
  • Azure
  • GCP

Common technical competencies found in this section include:

  • Advanced knowledge of system design and infrastructure architecture disciplines
  • Knowledge of cloud computing and infrastructure
  • Experience working with machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Understanding of algorithms and data structures
  • Understanding of relational databases
  • Experience working in an agile environment
  • Knowledge of industry-wide technology trends and best practices

Common soft skills found in this section include:

  • Communication
  • Technical communication
  • Project management
  • Time management
  • Problem solving

Other Desired Skills & Nice-to-Haves

While not present in every job description, some companies will choose to mention additional skills that the company desires applicants to have but does not require for them to succeed in the role. Examples of nice-to-haves for a software engineering role would be DevOps skills or CI/CD experience.

Sample Job Description

Job descriptions for software engineering roles can vary widely, depending on the responsibilities, compensation, and seniority of the position. That said, there are commonalities between descriptions that companies can take advantage of.

Here’s an example of a job description for a mid-level software engineering role:

Title: Software Engineer II

Full-time. Associate.

Responsibilities

Engineering – Responsible for design, development, testing, deployment, and support of secure and scalable enterprise solutions.

Delivery – Agile delivery of solutions aligned to business needs while maintaining a high standard of quality. Participate in code reviews and troubleshooting of live site issues and bugs.

Collaboration – Partner with product owners to understand business and product requirements to translate them into engineering solutions.

Communication – Clearly communicate roadmap, backlog, and team updates across the organization.

Qualifications

Basic Qualifications

  • Programming experience with at least two software programming languages.
  • 3-5 years of experience in software development.
  • BS/BA degree or equivalent experience.

Required Qualifications

  • 3+ years of hands-on development experience with a combination of Java, Angular, Python, or React JS.
  • 3+ years of hands-on SQL development experience.
  • Advanced knowledge of application, data, and infrastructure architecture disciplines. 
  • Knowledge of industry-wide technology trends and best practices.

Other Desired Skills

  • Full-stack development experience.
  • AWS frameworks and coding (Lambda, SNS, Cognito).
  • DevOps/CI/CD tools experience.

Resources for Hiring Software Engineers

How to Hire Software Engineers: The Definitive Guide

What Does a Software Engineer Do? Requirements & Skill Expectations

7 System Design Interview Questions Every Software Engineer Should Know

What Does a Cybersecurity Engineer Do? Job Overview and Skill Expectations