© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019.In this paper we will discuss the changing role of a software engineer. We will examine this from four major standpoints, the software development lifecycle, the influence of open source software, testing and deployment and the emergence of new technologies. We will first analyze what the role of a software engineer was in the past. We will examine limitations associated with software development life cycle models, and software failures that catalyzed increased importance for quality assurance. We then outline the current role of a software engineer. We discuss the impact of agile software development and automation on the software development cycle, the influence of open source software and how new technologies such as Function-as-a-Service and machine learning may impacted the role. Based on our research, we analyze why the software engineer role has changed and postulate prospective changes to the role of software engineer, and in particular how new responsibilities may affect the day to day work of future software engineers. We ultimately find that the role of a “software engineer” is nowadays widely varied and very broad, and it only generally indicates the type of work that the software engineer may undertake.