Software developers deal with all aspects of the software development process, which includes researching, designing, programming, and testing the software. They’re the creative force behind many of the computer programs we use today.
Some deal with just the applications that do a specific task, while others will work on the actual system that runs the device. Discover more about this growing career field to see if it’s one that might be of interest to you.
About Software Developer
Software developers will follow the entire production process of a software program. They’ll typically begin by trying to understand how the customer will use the software. Since the software is usually designed to solve a problem, they need to determine how this software can help. Additionally, they have to know what type of performance requirements and level of security the software will need to run.
Once they’ve finished this step, they’ll design the software program. Some software developers give the instructions to computer programmers to write the code and test it, while others will write the code themselves.
If the software doesn’t run as expected or the testers find that it’s too complicated to use, the software developers have to go back to the original design to fix or improve it.
Even when the software is complete and released to the public, software developers aren’t finished. They’ll still perform maintenance and updates as necessary.
Education and Experience Needed
If you’re interested in becoming a software developer, you need a strong background in computer skills and a bachelor’s degree. Most software developers have degrees in computer science. However, a degree in software engineering or a related field is also acceptable. Some positions will also require you to have a master’s degree. When you’re choosing classes, make sure you focus on ones related to building software.
You want to make sure you have good communication, analytical, and interpersonal skills. It also helps if you’re creative and detail-oriented. You should look for opportunities to complete an internship at a software company while you’re in college for more experience.
Once you have a job as a software developer, you’ll have to stay up to date on the latest tools and computer languages. This could mean additional career development or training classes after you graduate.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for software developers who work with applications was $100,080 in May 2016. The lowest 10 percent of software developers earned less than $58,300, while the highest 10 percent made over $157,590.
If you’re thinking about becoming a software developer who works with systems software, the median annual wage in May 2016 was $106,860. While the lowest 10 percent made less than $64,650, the highest 10 percent were able to earn over $163,220.
Average Duties and Tasks
If you get a job as a software developer, your daily tasks and duties will center on the software. You can expect to brainstorm the needs of consumers and design and develop software to meet those needs.
As you’re designing the software, you’ll have to work out how all the pieces fit together. You’ll create flow charts and models to either show programmers what type of software code you need for the application or to give yourself a better idea of the code you need to write.
You have to work well with others since you’ll routinely collaborate with other computer specialists to make software programs. Once your program is done, you’ll also need to make sure that it always functions properly with regular testing. Through the entire process, you need to make sure you keep good notes and documentation so you can go back and reference this information when you need to perform maintenance or make an upgrade.
A position as a software developer does leave you open to advancement opportunities. One such position you can move into is an information technology project manager. In this role, you’re responsible for overseeing the software development process, making sure the company is meeting its information technology goals, and that it has the systems in place to do so.
Software developers with the right experience can also move into a role as an independent consultant, especially if they specialize in a field such as security or business-to-business transactions.
In our modern society, software developers are in high demand. If you think this is a career you want to pursue, keep this information in mind as you consider your options.