How to Become a Software Developer

Two students sitting at computers in class learning how to become a software developer

A software developer is a professional who is currently in demand in almost every industry worldwide. Software developers create computer applications that allow users to do specific tasks. They also create the underlying systems that run devices and networks.

Software developers work in many industries. This includes developing software for medical, military, communications, aerospace, business, scientific, and general computing applications. They can also work for small IT firms or as self-employed individuals.

What Do Software Developers Do

Software developers are usually involved in the entire process of creating a software program. Developers may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software so that they can identify the core functionality the user needs. Software developers also determine other requirements, such as security. They design the program and then work closely with programmers who write the code. However, some developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to programmers.

Software Developer Responsibilities

The job of a software developer varies depending on what the company or client needs. Some developers will maintain systems, and some will build them. Others develop applications that will allow users to perform specific tasks on devices like computers and cell phones.

Software Developer responsibilities can include:

  • Analyze users’ needs and then design and develop software to meet those needs.
  • Write and implement code.
  • Developing quality assurance procedures.
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and operating systems.
  • Design each piece of an application or system and plan how the pieces will work together.
  • Testing and software maintenance.
  • Working closely with other IT team members, systems analysts, engineers, and programmers on projects.
  • Observes user feedback to recommend improvements to existing software products.

How To Become A Software Developer

Software developers typically need at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science, computer information technology, or a related field such as math, physics, or engineering. Depending on the position’s requirements, some employers prefer to hire developers who have a master’s degree.

The Best Colleges For Computer Science Majors will break down each university if you are interested in a computer science degree. How I ranked the best colleges for Computer Science was based on the majors offered, including a variety of concentrations in the field. I also factored in acceptance rates, SAT range, and the price per year. All yearly costs are without financial aid and include tuition, fees, on-campus housing, meals, books, and supplies.

Communication skills are essential. Software developers work closely with team members and clients. They need to be able to communicate clearly and efficiently. They also need to have excellent analytical skills. Software developers are problem-solvers and creators. They will use their analytical competence to find creative solutions.

Software developers will also be required to have some precise technical expertise in programming languages. While there are a variety of programming languages that a software developer might use, Java, C++, and Python are among the top. However, other experience in other languages such as SQL, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, and Microsoft may be needed too. The languages you learn will greatly depend on the type of developer you are and what the job position will require.

If you know the exact job you would like to obtain, I suggest you focus on the languages for that specific position. However, if you are unsure, I would choose languages based on their popularity and use. It’s a shoot-gun blast approach but it will get your foot in the door. As you grow in your career so will the language you learn.

Black computer screen with program code.

What Do Software Developers Make

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage in 2021 for software developers was $58.05 hourly, $120,730 annually. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount, and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $64,470, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $168,570. Depending on position, experience, and location, you can expect to make between $65,000-$168,000.