Applications engineers work across numerous industries but are concentrated in three high-tech subsectors: semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing; software publishing; and computer systems design and related services. Together these sectors employ more than 60 percent of Oregon's applications engineers. Since the high-tech industry is such a dynamic component of Oregon's economy, it is not surprising that the state workforce includes so many applications engineers; in 2010 there were 7,887 applications engineers statewide, and that number is expected to grow 25 percent by 2020. These are good jobs, with an annual average wage of $85,746 in 2012.
To obtain the necessary skills to become a computer software applications engineer, workers must have a bachelor's degree. In Oregon, numerous colleges and universities offer undergraduate and graduate-level degrees that train students for work in this field, including information technology, computer science, computer engineering, and computer software engineering. Additionally, many of the state's community colleges offer programs to facilitate entry into this occupation, such as computer information systems and web development, digital graphic design, and web design.
Applications engineers are most competitive in the job market when they have work-related experience alongside a bachelor's degree.
|Select Skills for Computer Software Engineers, Applications|
|Analyze human interaction with computers and computer applications|
|Apply quality assurance technologies|
|Design data processing systems|
|Design data security systems|
|Develop job evaluation programs|
|Evaluate computer system users' requirements and requests|
|Evaluate software for business applications|
|Program computers using existing software|
|Use project management techniques|
|Use structured design or development methodologies|
|Work as a team member|
|Write computer software|
|Write performance requirements for product development and engineering projects|
|Write technical specifications for computer systems, software, and applications|
Job prospects for applications engineers are promising. As of February 2013, there were 1,481 unique "help wanted" online ads for this occupation in Oregon, an increase of 44 percent from February 2012. And while these workers certainly felt the impact of the Great Recession (due in large part to their relative concentration in high-tech manufacturing), demand has definitely reemerged and is currently well above its pre-recessionary peak (Graph 1). While part of this expansion in online ads is due to the growing importance of the Internet as a recruiting tool, growth in recent months and years also points to a sheer increase in demand by employers.
|Regional Employment Projections and Average Wages: Applications Engineers|
|Region||Employment 2010||Employment 2020||Percent Change||Total Projected Annual Openings||2012 Average Annual Pay|
|Multnomah / Washington||5,535||6,926||25%||204||$91,189|
|Gilliam/Hood River/ Sherman/Wheeler/Wasco||47||58||23%||2||N/A|