What is a Software Developer?

Software developers immerse themselves in everything related to the creation and development of digital programs. Developers participate in virtually every stage of software development. They have plenty of opportunities to exercise their arsenal of computer skills to produce results for employers. Modern business trends towards software solutions and digital integration confirm the inevitable growth of the field. These professionals not only enjoy a strong job growth outlook in the decade ahead, but they also have immense flexibility to transition their careers into areas of personal interest.

Core Skills and Abilities

While developers do need a well-rounded skill-set that includes business and communications skills, technical and computer skills are always the priority. Any prospective developer needs to know several fundamental computer languages common throughout the industry, like JavaScript, C variants and Python. They also need to have experience and understanding of key software development tools and basic computer technology. Ability to collaborate and communicate is also critical, as developers do most of their work as part of a larger team.

Work Environment and Job Responsibilities

A typical software developer spends a lot of their professional life looking at a computer screen, so most of their career takes place in an office environment. Of course, the culture and expectations within each workplace depend on each employer. In any case, developers are responsible for turning a vision for a digital service or product into reality. They are involved at every stage starting with initial brainstorming to post-launch support. Most developers spend their time creating code, double-checking code and testing it for potential security or performance issues.

Careers in Software Development

The current job market is extremely favorable for software developers who have a bachelor’s degree and some practical experience. In fact, the demand for this profession is expected to grow by 24 percent from 2016 to 2026. Developers earned a median salary of roughly $103,000 in 2017, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like many other professional disciplines, developers often enter the profession as junior staff members and seek more senior positions as they gain experience. Programming and computer science skills translate well even between employers in different industries, so developers usually have the option to transition their careers to suit their interests or lifestyle.

Related Resource: 20 Best Online Bachelor’s in Computer Science

Education and Professional Development

Software and computer science are among the most rapidly-transforming industries in the modern marketplace. This means that both students and current professionals should constantly seek opportunities for further education, training and development. They also shouldn’t hesitate to hone or advance a variety of programming skills, even ones they don’t use at their current job. Most people launch their careers in software development with only a bachelor’s degree, but pursuing an additional or advanced degree can also open doors to additional professional opportunities in the future.

Businesses in virtually every industry rely on software all the time. Many restaurants use specialized programs to manage on-going service, while banks rely on software to aid in massive calculations when performing a cost-benefit analysis. These are just a few examples of the ways a software developer can help their employers solve problems and better serve users.

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