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There are literally dozens of different software engineering career paths. Here are some high level examples:
Management: leading teams to deliver products/services, and growing the capabilities of the team itself.
Technical leadership: providing architectural vision and insight for building complex products/services.
Project management: Help define and orchestrate the complex set of tasks and resources necessary to deliver a product/service.
Product Management: Define product/service requirements.
Applications Engineer: Work with customers to customize a solution to meet their particular needs.
And, each of these roles can be quite different depending on the type of industry you work for. A big IT services company (Accenture) is wildly different from a consumer products company (Apple) which is different from an Enterprise company (Oracle) which is different from a video game company, medical devices, etc., etc.
There is _lots_ of variety!
If you are still in college, or yet to attend college:
1) Take a computer science major
2) Intern in as many different environments as possible.
The path for almost all of these roles starts out the same way: be a really strong developer. That's true for managers, project managers, etc. Then, explore your options and decide what you enjoy the most.
Broadly, there are two - system and application software development.
System software works at a lower level than the application software.
For example, developing an operating system, networking among computers are considered system software while developing a image processing application (like picassa) or writing a browser are considered application software.
System software is tougher than application s/w. It requires in depth knowledge in core computer science topics like operating systems, algorithms, networking among others. It's usually more lucrative and uses lower level languages like C.
Application s/w dev is relatively easy to do and learn. There are a lot of resources online for popular programming languages like Java.