What Does an IT Engineer Do? (Skills and Qualifications)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

IT engineers are responsible for the computer hardware and software systems within an organisation. They use their skills in technology to design and develop new technology solutions and troubleshoot issues with existing systems. Understanding the duties and responsibilities of an IT engineer can help you decide if this job role aligns with your skills and interest and if it would help you achieve your career aspirations and goals. In this article, we answer "What does an IT engineer do?", list the skills required for this role and explain the necessary steps to become an IT engineer.

What does an IT engineer do?

If you've ever wondered, "What does an IT engineer do?", it can help to explore their typical duties and responsibilities. IT engineers usually work in an office setting with their computer, developing or troubleshooting computer programs and systems. They may also troubleshoot and resolve technical issues for employees or management. The daily duties and responsibilities of an IT engineer may vary in each company and according to the project they're assigned.

Some of their other duties and responsibilities include:

  • Analysing the project requirements and process

  • Identifying needed improvement in computer systems

  • Documenting their work and create reports

  • Completing programming to implement new programs

  • Troubleshooting and identify problems in the system

  • Configuring and test systems to ensure correct functionality

  • Developing software programs

  • Configuring and test systems

  • Providing written knowledge transfer material

  • Managing a team of other IT professionals to work on projects

  • Automating computer systems

  • Responding to and solve technical issues

  • Investigating and use new technologies where applicable

  • Liaising with colleagues to implement technical designs

Read more: What Does a Computer Programmer Do? (And How to Become One)

What is an IT engineer?

IT engineers oversee and handle the software, hardware and networks solutions in an organisation. They develop software and processes that ensure information technology processing runs as smooth as possible. They often work together with other IT professionals, troubleshooting hardware and software issues and implementing new computer programs.

IT engineers may specialise in software development, which includes computer programming and application development, or computer hardware engineering that involves designing physical products. They often work in all software or product development stages, including developing, implementing, updating, troubleshooting and repairing. As they gain experience, many IT engineers also take up management positions, directly overseeing the works of other IT professionals.

Read more: What is an IT Technician? (With Qualification and Salary)

What is the average salary earned by an IT engineer?

According to Indeed Salaries, the national average salary of an IT engineer is $21,507 per month. The salary can vary depending on the industry and the company you work for. Also, your number of years of experience and specific duties and responsibilities can impact the salary you earn. As you attain more skills, experience or certifications, your earning potential also increases, too.

Skills for IT engineers

Successful IT engineers have a background in computer science, information technology, data management and programming languages. They can apply their creative thinking skills to develop new software programs and improve existing applications. Aside from technical skills, IT engineers also require a variety of soft skills to manage their workload and find creative solutions to their problems. In addition, their attention to detail and interpersonal skills can determine their ability to launch a product or service successfully. Here's a list of essential skills IT engineers require:

Technical skills

Strong technical skills are fundamental to the work of an IT engineer. Technical skills can include software programs, computer systems, data analysis and design. The particular skills and expertise required vary depending on the position.

Project management

Sometimes IT engineers may manage a team of IT team members to develop or implement a new software program. Being able to lead and motivate a team to accomplish their goals and complete project within the deadlines is essential for an IT engineer leading a team. Project management skills are also helpful for IT engineers when they work on multiple projects at one time.

Read more: What Does an IT Project Manager Do? (With Skills and Salary)

Problem-solving

Software problems can arise from very minute errors, and IT engineers spend a considerable amount of their time debugging errors rather than writing code. Being able to identify issues quickly and use deductive reasoning to solve problems is essential to many IT engineering jobs. It can also help you assist your colleagues and the management team in solving their computer-related issues.

Communication

IT engineers interact and work along with colleagues, vendors and management. Therefore, being able to communicate effectively is an important skill required for an IT engineer. Both written and verbal communication skills are essential, along with the ability to communicate technical phrases to audiences who may not be familiar with these systems. They also require good active listening skills to understand the requirements and issues that others share.

Read more: Transferable Skills to Help You Succeed (With Examples)

Computer programming

Programming is an essential and fundamental part of IT engineering skills. Depending on your position, companies may require you to have knowledge of one or more programming languages. You can get experience with these types of programming languages through hands-on experience, continued education and training for advanced certifications.

Analytical skills

As an IT engineer, you may work on a variety of projects that require you to analyse software or hardware activities and recommend improvements. You may also be in a situation where you need to troubleshoot something that's not working correctly. Being able to think analytically and critically can help you discover the solutions you require to perform your job effectively.

Resourcefulness

Knowing what resources you possess and how to use them is an important skill for an IT engineer. Sometimes, you may have a limited budget or timeline that's outside of your control. But using the right resources, you can easily overcome any obstacles that prevent you from achieving your project goals. In addition, resourcefulness can improve not only your work experience but that of your coworkers, as you share with them what you've learned.

Read more: 50 IT CV Skills (With Definition, Examples and Sample CV)

How to become an IT engineer

To become an IT engineer, you require specific educational qualifications and training. Here are some steps you can follow to become an IT engineer:

1. Complete a bachelor's degree

One of the first steps to becoming an IT engineer is to complete your bachelor's degree. Companies often prefer candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science, software development or IT engineering because these programs prepare candidates with foundational knowledge they can apply to the role. You can also take classes in software engineering and programming, along with data structures and design.

2. Consider pursuing a master's degree

After obtaining a bachelor's degree and some years of work experience, some people may prefer pursuing a master's degree. Sometimes companies may also prefer candidates with a master's degree in computer programming or IT engineering. Though not a mandatory requirement, having a master's degree shows your commitment to the field and advancing your knowledge and skills. A master's degree can also help you stand out from competitions and qualify you for jobs offering management roles or higher salaries.

3. Apply for certification

Whether you have completed a bachelor's or master's degree, it's important to stay up to date by attending training programs and getting certified in your field. Computer hardware and software keep changing frequently, so having the latest knowledge and certifications is essential. It can also help you impress hiring managers and become more memorable during the hiring process. Some common certifications relevant to IT engineers include:

  • Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) certification

  • Certified Data Professional (CDP)

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

  • Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP)

  • Linux Essentials Professional Development Certification (PDC)

4. Apply for IT engineering open positions

After completing the required educational qualifications, you can update your cover letter and CV to apply for open IT engineer positions. You can also work on creating your work portfolio to help you practise your skills while also creating a presentable overview of your important skills and expertise. You can include your work portfolio along with your cover letter and CV in the job application. To prepare for an interview, consider exploring common interview questions and preparing answers to build your confidence.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.