For this issue of ComputingEdge, we asked Rafael Prikladnicki about career opportunities in the popular field of software engineering. Prikladnicki, whose main research areas are distributed software development and agile methodologies, is director of the Science and Technology Park at Brazil’s Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul. He is also the coordinator of the university’s distributed-software research group and editor of IEEE Software’s Voice of Evidence department.
ComputingEdge: What careers in software engineering will see the most growth in the next several years?
Prikladnicki: I would say that every software-related field will grow in the next several years, especially those involving medicine, smart cities, and data mining. For example, medicine is investing in a lot of technology to support healthcare. So there are many areas for which software will be critical. And this will increase the software engineering professional’s importance.
ComputingEdge: What advice would you give college students to give them an advantage over the competition?
Prikladnicki: I would say they have to combine software engineering theory and practice. Theory gives them what they need to start. Practice gives them the experience to stand above the competition. This can be done in several ways including, for example, partnering with companies that have summer internship programs.
ComputingEdge: What advice would you give people changing careers midstream?
Prikladnicki: The most important thing in my opinion is being satisfied with what you do, no matter what it is. If you are not happy with what you do, you are not performing at your best.
ComputingEdge: What do you consider to be the best strategies for professional networking?
Prikladnicki: There are several ways: participating in events (online or offline), planning who to contact and why, defining goals for specific contacts, exchanging business cards, and following up after a face-to-face conversation.
ComputingEdge: What should applicants keep in mind when applying for software engineering jobs?
Prikladnicki: While what they did in the past is important, it is more important what they want to do in the future. They should avoid concentrating too much on their own history and focus on expressing their views and goals for the future and how companies can benefit from their knowledge and experience.
About Lori Cameron
ComputingEdge’s Lori Cameron interviewed Prikladnicki for this article. Contact her at email@example.com if you would like to contribute to a future ComputingEdge article on computing careers. Contact Prikladnicki at firstname.lastname@example.org.