The next time you’re posting something to social media or working on your computer, consider the creative people who helped build those programs. Software developers conceive and design computer programs. Some develop applications for mobile or desktop use, while others work on the operating systems that keep computers functioning properly. They may work on backend and frontend web applications, embedded software, computer networking software, software infrastructure or domain-specific software.
To do that work, software developers identify user needs, build programs, test new software, ensure security of the software and continually make improvements to the program. Depending on the size of the team, software developers may also use various programming languages to write code the drives the software. They may also help with testing.
The need for software developers is expected to grow 22% by 2029.
- Understand users’ needs
- Design and develop software to meet those needs
- Understand how the software will interact with other elements of the system and solve problems accordingly
- Create models and diagrams that help programmers translate the concept into code
- Test and maintain the application
- Document every aspect of creating the application or system
- Recommend software upgrades for customers
Many, but not all, employers look for a bachelor's degree in computer science or software engineering. That trend is changing, and many employers will accept candidates who have earned certificates or learned through bootcamps, internships or other on-the-job training. Either pathway requires a focus on learning how to build software and how to write computer code, which is the foundation of the occupation, even if it's not the focus of what some software developers do in a day.
There are several paths to advance or branch out, including IT project management and various aspects of the software development process.
- Are a quick learner and are eager to understand new technologies
- Are creative
- Are detail-oriented
- Have an analytical mind
- Can explain complex procedures
- Have strong communication skills
- Have excellent problem-solving skills
- Are collaborative