Software Developers often work for computer firms and manufacturers. Their main role is to create the foundations for operative systems on which Computer Programmers work. They design, write, and test code for new systems and software to ensure efficiency and an excellent service. Software Developers also run diagnostic programs and quality assurance (QA) testing on existing projects before launching them to certify effectiveness.
A Software Developer is involved in all the process related to creating and designing new systems; from initial planning, to establishing parameters, designing, writing, coding, encrypting, and testing. This process is usually undertaken by a team of Software Developers, with each member carrying out a particular step of the process and a supervisor overseeing the entire project.
A Developer’s job is related to a Programmers’, since they design the programs while Programmers run the corresponding analyses and tests. Furthermore, the work of a Software Developer may sometimes overlap with that of a Database Administrator. Many systems have to interact in one way or another with data management systems, so it is the responsibility of the Software Developer to ensure that both systems are compatible. Some Software Developers can do this by themselves if they possess enough knowledge on data management systems and software.
Software Developers often use several programming languages, their job is often very complex and it involves advanced knowledge in computer science and mathematics. Their field is constantly evolving and new technologies and advancements are made every day, so they must be in a constant state of learning and self-improvement.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Software Developers are required to complete.
- Creating and developing new software:
- Researching users’ requirements;
- designing and writing new software; and
- testing newly designed software.
- Evaluating new and existing software systems:
- Designing testing plans for newly developed software;
- performing QA testing on software systems;
- finding faults in software systems;
- correcting faults found in software systems; and
- updating tools from time to time.
- Improving existing software systems:
- Analyzing users’ requirements and suggestions;
- modifying and adapting procedures if necessary;
- creating solutions for existing issues; and
- implementing these solutions.
- Performing maintenance to existing systems by monitoring and correcting defects.
- Writing code (e.g. HTML, PHP, XML) for new software and updates:
- Running code to test efficiency;
- rewriting code to correct errors; and
- running tests again until code is error-free.
- Writing operational manuals and systems specifications.
- Working in tandem with other staff members such as Project Managers, Graphic Designers, other Developers, Database Administrators, and Sales and Marketing employees:
- Consulting with clients or Project Managers on the progress of developing software to check for possible improvements, suggestions, or requirements.
- Writing reports on project progress.
- Licensing software and testing products.
- Protecting information when necessary.
- Meeting with clients and Project Managers to design and develop new software.
- Establishing parameters and designing the architecture of new software.
- Designing, writing, reading, testing, and correcting code for new software.
- Running QA testing and searching for bugs in developing software.
- Reporting to clients and Project Managers on the development of new software.
- Testing and implementing software updates and improvements when necessary.
- Writing documentation for new and updated software.
The average Software Developer salary in USA is $75,686 per year or $39 per hour. This is around 2.6 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $53,000 while most experienced workers make up to $106,000. These results are based on 869 salaries extracted from job descriptions.
- Outstanding knowledge of computer systems and technology:
- Being proficient in the use and understanding of coding languages, as well as being aware of the latest technologies available;
- having the ability to work on different systems such as Windows, iOS, and Linux;
- understanding hardware necessities for software to run; and
- keeping up-to-date with the industry’s constant updates and trends.
- Highly detail-oriented:
- Coding for websites and applications; and
- having strong attention to detail, since a single error can ruin a whole application or website.
- Excellent problem-solving skills and logical analysis:
- Being able to identify and solve errors, bugs, or issues in a timely manner.
- Ability to work independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team:
- Being able to work with minimum supervision; and
- being capable of relaying information and tasks within a group.
- Exceptional multitasking skills:
- Being able to assess several issues at the same time and to work on more than one project at a time.
- Highly responsible and capable of meeting goals and deadlines.
- Good communication skills:
- Being able to communicate with colleagues and superiors;
- informing team mates about issues or bugs; and
- updating clients on the progress of projects.
Being a Software Developer requires a lot of intricate and complex work. Competition for this position is fierce and companies usually look for the best candidates available. Large companies prefer hiring aspirants with proven technical skills, 2 to 5 years of experience working in the IT field, and a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Technical Information, Software Engineering, or Mathematics, this last one being particularly popular due to the fact that it approaches several fields and topics. However, depending on the employer, some positions may require applicants to have a master’s degree. Smaller companies and businesses may be a bit more lax when hiring new employees and accept self-taught candidates and applicants with an associate's degree or with one (1) or two (2) years of field-related experience.
Given that the IT field is constantly evolving a new technologies become available every day, companies also look for people that seek constant self-improvement and ways to learn new skills and technological abilities. These companies take into account all activities, courses, and workshops applicants may have undertaken to improve their abilities.
Although certifications are not obligatory, they can indicate an applicant’s knowledge and give them an advantage over other candidates when looking for a job. Therefore, in order to become certified, aspirants can join the Computer Society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or the Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP) program offered by the IEEE.
Multinational computer technology corporations (e.g. Microsoft) will often seek candidates that have acquired a certification in one of their products. They also offer on-the-job training for Software Developer to keep up-to-date on the latest features of these products.
There is a lot of teamwork involved when working as a Software Developer. Each member of the team may undertake a particular step in the software developing process. It is crucial that all members of the team work according to schedule, especially since each member depends on each other’s work. Working alone can also be expected. In these cases, Software Developers must be able to work with minimal supervision and finish their tasks in a timely manner.
The majority of Software Developers work a standard of 40 hours a week during regular business hours. However, with time being of the essence to meet deadlines, it is not uncommon for companies to require their Software Developers to work extra hours and sometimes even during weekends and national holidays. Therefore, flexibility and adaptability is often required for the Software Developer position.
Although most Software Developers work as part of the staff of a company, self-employment and freelance work is becoming more common in this field. Smaller companies that can’t afford having a Software Developer as part of their staff prefer hiring freelancers for specific projects in order to save on costs.
The nature of the job includes sitting on a desk for extended periods of time. It is advisable to take regular breaks during work hours to avoid possible health hazards.
Software Development offers a lot of space for career growth. The market keeps growing and the demand for Web Developers keeps escalating. Nowadays, everything points towards a plethora of possibilities to those interested in working in the IT field.