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Software Development Manager Career Guide

Do you have excellent decision-making and leadership skills? Are you organized, detailed oriented, and have exceptional technical knowledge? A software development manager could be a perfect fit for your next career move.

Software development managers are responsible for leading a team of software developers who plan, troubleshoot, implement, and optimize software programs. They work in many different industries, including finance, healthcare, and technology. Excellent leadership qualities and advanced technical knowledge are key ingredients for software development managers. 

Software development managers must be well organized, detail-oriented, and well versed in project management. They need to have exceptional communication and presentation skills as they typically give customer presentations and write project proposals. They should be budget-conscious, be great motivators, and be excellent decision-makers. Those who excel as software development managers know how to multitask and stay on track to meet deadlines while optimizing all available resources.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for a professional software development manager to join our ranks. As our software development manager, you will be responsible for ensuring that deadlines are met. You will also be responsible for designing and implementing the goals for the software development projects your team is in charge of. It will be your task to ensure that the software meets the proper standards and adheres to market research, design the software document and proper protocol, and maintain the software components. As a software development manager, it may fall on you to occasionally code aspects of the software, as well as instruct team members on how to implement the proper code into the program. You will oversee the entirety of each software project and all team members, which means that fantastic communication skills are required for this position.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Manage the development lifecycle of software products
  • Research new technologies to strengthen the organization 
  • Oversee, create and implement software products and applications
  • Plan, direct and coordinate the actions of the development team
  • Responsible for technology delivery
  • Provide technical leadership and guidance to the organization
  • Act as a liaison between the department and senior leadership 

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, systems engineering, or a related field. Employers typically prefer candidates with a master’s degree, but it isn’t a requirement.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Solid critical-thinking and decision-making skills
  • Proficient in finding creative solutions to complex problems
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to collaborate with and lead colleagues
  • Expertise in programming and debugging

Preferred qualifications

  • 5 years of hands-on software development experience
  • 2+ years of experience in managing, mentoring, and leading software engineering teams
  • Excellent software project management skills

Typical work environment

A software development manager is responsible for overseeing and managing a software development team. Software development teams will usually consist of programmers, business analysts, software analysts, software engineers, and UI designers. It is the job of the software development manager to oversee the software production process, implement ideas and ensure strict adherence to goals and deadlines, develop the proper software document and code aspects of the software. As a software development manager, you can plan on working at a computer either from the office or at home depending on the company.

Typical hours

Typical hours for this position are from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday, in an office setting. 

Available certifications

A software development manager can benefit from certifications in both the software development and managerial fields. Although the certifications can vary greatly, some of the most common certifications will include the following:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP). Becoming a certified Project Management Professional will allow a software development manager to demonstrate their expertise and foundation of project management. This certification covers both the basics and more advanced techniques of project management, which includes those which are required by a software development manager.
  • Software Engineering Master Certification (SEMC). A Software Development Manager can benefit massively from having a Software Engineering Master Certification due to the nature of their position and the close intertwinement between software development management and software engineering.

Career path

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in a computer-related field. Employers may prefer candidates who have a master’s degree, as well as those with on-the-job experience. Software development managers have the opportunity to advance to positions such as information technology director, chief technology officer, or chief information officer. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1256

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 field of information technology is continually growing as businesses become more innovative. Organizations across all sectors are becoming more reliant on information technology, which means software development managers will continue to be vital to their success.

According to the industry website Computer Science Online, mobile technology, data security, and big data will be the core components of most organizations’ infrastructure, products, and services. Software development managers must be responsible for remaining current on these components to better plan, coordinate, implement, and evaluate program development within an organization.