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What Does a Software Developer Do?

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.

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$ 47,000 - $ 153,000
$ 91,000
148,370+
A software developer sits at a computer writing code
Strong analytical skills and a knack for innovation drive the software development process. (Credit: Pressmaster/Shutterstock)
A Day In the Life
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Since technology is constantly changing, software developers like Rachel Meltzer are always learning and expanding their skillsets.
A Day In the Life

Rachel Meltzer says it's time to put aside stereotypes about software developers, including what it takes to get the job or any hint of nerdiness. It all boils down to an eagerness to learn.
 
“Regardless of having a degree or what your degree is in, technology is a rapidly changing industry that requires continuous on-the-job learning,” says Rachel.

It's also a rewarding career that involves a wider variety of skills than you might think. 

"In-demand software developers are valued more for their problem-solving skills and their ability to work with a team through the research process than for their detailed knowledge of every code language in existence."

In other words, there's a lot more to this job than writing code — and that's what makes it fun.

Job Responsibilities
  • 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
Education + Training

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.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • 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

Software Developer Training in Your Area

Coordinates

Computer Information Systems, A.A.S

Neosho County Community College
Chanute (42.2 Miles)

Information Technology, A.A.S.

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (68.8 Miles)

Programming, A.A.S.

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (68.8 Miles)

Web Development, A.A.S.

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (68.8 Miles)

Web Development Certificate

Tulsa Community College
Tulsa (68.8 Miles)

Web Development Certificate

Butler Community College
El Dorado (81.0 Miles)

Software Developer, A.A.S.

Butler Community College
El Dorado (81.0 Miles)

Web Development, A.A.S.

Butler Community College
El Dorado (81.0 Miles)

Computer Information Systems Option Computer Programming, A.A.S.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

Computer Information Management and Applications, A.A.S.

NorthWest Arkansas Community College
Bentonville (99.2 Miles)

Information Technologies, A.A.S.

Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology
Okmulgee (101.9 Miles)

Computer Information Science Computer Programming Certificate of Specialization

Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield (134.2 Miles)
Ask the Expert
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'Communication and collaboration are extremely important parts of our job,' said software developer Daniel Lieberman.
Ask the Expert

Daniel Lieberman learned early that he loved being able to harness the power of a computer to do what he wanted it to do. Now’s he’s a 30-year-old software developer, and he’s using his skills to make a difference. 

He also thinks it’s exciting that the degree pathway he took isn’t as necessary as it once was. “Many people are breaking into the industry nowadays by self-teaching and coding bootcamps.” Learn more about why Daniel thinks it’s such a great job.

Find Software Developer Jobs in Your Area

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