Technology has affected the world to such a degree that it’s still difficult to grasp how all of that happened in such a short time. All the applications, programs, and games we interact with daily have become an integral part of our lives. Hence software developers too, have in a way become part of our life thanks to their contribution to the development of technology. But what do software developers do exactly? Well, they are the driving force behind the applications on our phones, the computer systems that we use, and the games we play.
What Is a Software Developer?
A software developer is an expert in computer science and technology who is able to write software based on different requests from organizations or companies. They also create software to address a specific issue. Software developers create customized software for each profession. We’ve highlighted below in more detail what software developers actually do, what skill sets are necessary to become a successful developer, what type of education is needed, and how much they make.
What Type of Work a Software Developer Really Does?
The answer seems simple; software developers develop software. Well, yes they do that, but, when you put it that way, it seems like this is a single task. Just like any job, there is more to it than its name. In fact, a typical software developer follows a detailed process as they write software. Let’s take a closer look at this process.
Before they put on their developer’s hat, software developers have to do extensive research. They do this to see what people are demanding and what existing problems are there. Problem defining may seem easy but it’s a very difficult part of the process. After all, Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem I would use 55 minutes to think about the problem and 5 minutes to think about the solution”.
After the research stage is completed, it’s time to come up with a solution, and according to that solution they design, develop, and test software. Software is developed by writing a source code through a programming language. A programmer or developer usually writes the source code. The code contains the instructions the developer has created for the computer.
The work is not over after developing software. Nothing works well without having proper support. So, developers also have to make sure that the systems they have created are functioning without problems. They have to keep up with software maintenance and updates.
In the end, it’s important for software developers to keep records. They need to document the systems they have put in place, or applications to make sure there is a correct database in place. This makes it easier for them to maintain and fix any issues that may come up.
What Types of Software Developers Are There?
There are two major types of software developers. Applications and operating systems software developers.
Applications software developers
Applications software developers usually develop applications for users. These developed apps are suitable for computers, mobiles, and tablets. The type of apps depends on the demand, which as discussed above is considered during the research stage. Application developers may work for individual users or companies.
Operating systems software developers
Operating systems software developers develop systems that help our computers function properly. They also develop the system’s interface which helps consumers interact with the computer. Examples of systems software include; Android, Microsoft Windows GNU/Linux, and macOS.
Why Should You Become a Software Developer?
Software development is one of the fastest-growing industries. This is due to the fact that we live in the era when technology has reached its peak and there are always companies or individuals who are looking to hire skilled developers and their services. But apart from that, there are a few more reasons why a job as a software developer is appealing.
Software developer Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay in 2019 for a software developer was $51.69 per hour. This means that you will be paid roughly $107,510 per year. This is why software development is considered to be one of the highest-paying majors.
You’ll probably be surprised to hear that you’ll only need a bachelor’s degree in order to become a software developer. But, that’s not all, you can become a software developer even if you have another degree in related fields.
BLS predicts that by 2029 there will be a 22% rise in job demand for software developers. Even if you don’t end up working as a software developer, you’ll at least have learned a thing or two about coding, and in today’s age coding is a vital factor for a successful career.
What Type of Skills Are Necessary?
At this point software development probably sounds like a dream job. However, it’s always important to remember that this too has its own certain skill set.
Computer literacy is an obvious skill required when it comes to software development. Beyond that, learning a few coding languages is highly desirable. As a developer, you’ll need to know programming languages such as; Java, Python, C, C++, Ruby, and others. The best part about hard skills is that they are easy to learn. Especially programming languages since classes and courses are easy to come by, either online or through traditional in person-classes.
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Soft skills are very important skills to have in order to become a successful developer. Software developers are seen as people who spend most of their time in front of the computer with little to no interaction with others whatsoever. However, this image of them isn’t necessarily true. This is because software developers will be constantly in touch with users and clients in order to understand what their demands are. Also, when keeping up with maintenance you will be in constant contact with people that might be not that tech-savvy. That’s why skills like communication, teamwork, willingness to learn and improve are essential.
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How to Become a Software Developer
Earning a degree and gaining experience are two guaranteed methods to land a career in your field of choice. As we previously mentioned, having a bachelor’s degree in Computer and Information Technology or any related field is the first step toward becoming a software developer. A master’s degree will only make you more qualified in the eyes of future employers.
Another thing you should pay great attention to is gaining more experience since that is what hiring managers look for when hiring new software developers. You may think that in order to gain experience, you must first finish your studies; however, that is not the case. You can start gaining experience even as a student by applying for internships and working on side projects during your studies. An internship will not only look good on your CV but also help you use and build your skills.
Getting certified is also a crucial step toward becoming a software developer, as working on certain software projects may require you to be certified. Software developers are seen as people who know everything related to coding, and the desire to learn new things and adapt quickly is essential, considering that new programming tools and languages are created regularly.
With all the access to technology and new online learning courses, the possibilities to develop your existing skills and learn new ones are endless. You can enroll in online programs, such as the online Full-Stack Software Development program offered by the University of the Potomac, which teaches courses like coding, HTML, frameworks, programming, agile methodologies, database operations, and web security. By completing this program, you will become a certified full-stack software developer, and as such, you will rank higher in the competitive job market of software development.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Software Developer
Most students of any Information and Computer Technology, or any related field, apply for entry positions as software developers only after graduating from a four-year bachelor’s program. Since that is the basic requirement for getting an entry job, four years is generally how long it takes to become a software developer.
Indeed software development is an exciting and compelling field. Being an in-demand job and the ever-changing might make it irresistible for many and maybe too dynamic for some. The way you look at software development might depend on what you want from a job. If you see yourself wanting to create a routine in your job, maybe software development might not be the right job. On the other hand, if you wish to the contrary to the routine, then perhaps you should give software development a chance.