If you love to solve problems, have a passion for technology, and think outside the box, then a job as a Software Developer may be for you. It is a broad field with endless information out there, but we have done the research and compiled a list of everything you need to know. From job descriptions to the skills and education required and possible career path – this is your essential guide.
What does a Software Developer do?
In a nutshell, a Software Developer designs, tests and develops applications, systems and software that runs on computers or other devices.
You know those programs you use to help you with your budget, that smartphone app you absolutely cannot live without and those captivating computer games that you spend hours playing? Well, those are all part of a Software Developer’s job.
The responsibility of a Software Developer differs according to experience. A senior developer will write code, analyse data and assist in designing and implementing software. A Junior Software Developer’s job would be to assist the development team in creating software and coding.
What are the different types of Software Developers?
Software development is a dynamic field with many different opportunities available, but these are the main types of developers out there:
- Back-end Developer: Develops the functionality behind the user interface, focusing on the business logic, functionality implementation and performance of systems. Common languages include Java, C++, Ruby, Python and Go.
- Full-stack Developer: Works on both the front end and back end of the user interface.
- Mobile App Developer: Develops apps for mobile devices such as Android or iOS (Apple).
- Data Scientist: Develops programs that analyse information. This can involve statistical analysis, machine learning, data visualisation and modelling.
Education and skills required to land a job as a Software Developer
If you are considering pursuing a career in development, you have various options available for higher education.
One route is to obtain a degree in:
- Computer Science
- Information Technology
- Software Development
- Financial Technology
- Software Engineering for Business
You could also explore the field by enrolling in a college or online course first. If you have financial constraints and limited time available, a coding boot camp is something worth exploring. These short but intensive programs teach you coding in a short amount of time and offer more affordable options.
Choosing a higher education has a lot to do with what type you want to specialise in. You may have a concrete idea of what particular developer you want to be, but this may also be a vague concept. Regardless, it could help get an idea of the requirements by looking at a digital recruitment agency’s job listing.
Skills to get you hired
Hard skills are essential in any Software Developer’s job, but your soft skills could ultimately convince an employer to hire you.
These skills form a big part of software development:
- Ability to multitask
- Teamwork skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Attention to detail
- Ability to cope under pressure
- Organisational and time management skills
- Programming languages
A day in the life of a Software Developer: What to expect
The job of a Software Developer is multifaceted. They are involved in all phases of development, which means there are various tasks to do. This could include participating in meetings, analysing user system requirements, creating application models and testing programs.
An average day could consist of, but is not limited to, the following responsibilities:
- Development as well as testing and implementing new software programs or apps
- Producing efficient code according to instructions
- Communicating with management and collaborating with other departments and designers
- Designing and updating software databases
- Upgrading, debugging and troubleshooting existing software
What does a Software Developer earn?
How much a developer earns is dependent on various factors. Education, location and experience all come into play, but the most significant influencer is language. According to Payscale, many Software Developers are skilled in several languages, which increases their worth. As a rough estimate, Software Developers in the U.K can earn between £25,000 and £26,000 per year.
A Junior Software Developer’s job generally pays from £20,000 per year, while an experienced developer can earn up to £70,000 per year.
The career path of a Software Developer
There are two main career paths:
- Working in a stable position for a set salary or
- Independent contracting
The direction you choose comes down to your work style, level of experience, what you hope to achieve, and job perks.
A full-time position offers the security of a stable source of income. It will also allow you to collaborate and work with a team, which provides a great learning opportunity. You will be able to interact with colleagues, which is essential if you prefer to be around people.
Working as a contractor allows you to meet new clients and interact with new people. It gives you free rein to choose the projects you want to work on, giving you more creative freedom, plus it allows you to work on your schedule.