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How to Become a Software Developer

If you have a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems and are looking to enter the IT field, becoming a software developer may be exciting work for you. Software developers support operations by designing and implementing software that fit the business needs of an organization. It is important for software developers to be able to work in a fast-paced environment to ensure strict deadlines are met.

Software developers will meet with management to discuss the technological needs of the company to decide what software and improvements need to happen. You will use your extensive knowledge of coding and the software development life-cycle to help develop more efficient and safe software for your employer’s company.

This job opportunity is perfect for you if you’re looking for a leadership position. Software developers will direct and work with other programmers to complete projects and perform routine testing on their new software. Software developers who perform well in their position will have opportunities to take on more projects and higher pay. 

Sample job description

A software developer uses knowledge of programming languages to design computer software. They work with clients, management, and a team of coders to design software for computers and mobile devices. Software developers also run tests, fix bugs, and use feedback from users to improve the software. [Your Company Name] is hiring experienced software developers to join our team. This job requires three to five years of experience working as a software developer. We are seeking creative candidates with good attention to detail, excellent communication skills, a strong work ethic, and high adaptability. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Develop, test and implement new software programs
  • Modify, expand and update applications
  • Develop software prototypes
  • Facilitate root cause analysis of system issues
  • Compile timely, comprehensive and accurate documentation and reports as requested

Education and experience

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline is strongly preferred for this position.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical abilities
  • Extremely detail-oriented
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a development team
  • Several years of programming experience
  • Proficient in languages and frameworks such as C#/.Net, Javascript, Java, C++, and SQL Server

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience of being a part of the Agile/Scrum environment
  • Team player, problem solver, and a good communicator with a desire to work hard

Typical work environment

Software developers typically work full-time inside an office or a computer. Some software developer jobs are available remotely. Although software developers work often on their own at their computer, they also work on a team and must be able to collaborate with others. They may have to work nights and weekends to meet tight deadlines and spend a lot of time sitting in front of their computer. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for a software developer are usually from 9 AM to 5 PM. Additional work hours can be commonplace when approaching project deadlines.

Some software developers work remotely on a freelance basis, which allows them more freedom to set their own work hours.

Available certifications

The ability to design and program software is highly in demand to meet the needs of modern life. Most software developers have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Certifications can help you begin or advance your career as a software developer. Here are a few examples. 

  • Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP). Offered by the IEEE Computer Society, the CSDP certification demonstrates a knowledge of software requirements, software design, software construction, and software testing. The exam is three hours long with 160 questions. Once certified, you’ll have to recertify every three years. 
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Scrum is a method of project management used in the software development process. This certification prepares you to help your team more effectively use Scrum to manage projects. Four levels of certification offer the chance to upgrade your skills as your career progresses. 

Career path

A software developer needs to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Students are encouraged to pursue internships with software companies while they are in college to gain some real-world experience in the field. Some companies prefer applicants for more senior software developer positions to have a master’s degree.

While software developers don’t always write code, having a strong background in computer programming often makes a candidate for a software developer position more attractive to employers. Also, knowledge of the industry for which you want to develop software is essential. For example, potential software developers who want to work on software for e-commerce should know the online retail industry.

Software developers can advance into positions like IT project manager or computer and information systems manager. In those roles, they oversee and guide the software development process, sometimes supervising a team of software developers. Software developers who want to move into management roles should develop soft skills like relationship building, motivating and influencing others, and communication.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1133

2020 Employment1,847,900
Projected Employment in 20302,257,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 22% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift409,500 increase

The need for software developers in the coming years is expected to increase. It’s one of the fastest-growing jobs in the IT field. According to the trade publication Tech Times, software developers should look at solutions involving artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These technologies are being adopted across industries very quickly; more companies are looking to AI software to make better use of the data they collect.

Increased demand for the Internet of Things (IoT) is another trend for software developers to watch in the coming years. Devices that can connect to the internet, from smart appliances to wearable technology, are becoming more and more popular. Many software companies are expected to begin specializing in programming for the IoT sector, so software developers who are knowledgeable in creating software for smart technology will be more in demand.

Another trend in the software development field in the coming years is the increased use of progressive web apps (PWAs). They’re a kind of website that functions like a mobile app but runs in a web browser. More companies are using them because it can save them money by not having to develop a mobile version of their websites or a mobile app. Instead, PWAs give companies the same benefits as a mobile app and offer faster load times and better functionality for customers.