How to Become a Software Developer

Software Developers are experienced in creating a variety of computer programs for both professional and consumer users looking for the newest software programs to use in their daily lives.

Depending on the size of the organization they work for, Software Developers may be specialized in two distinct areas; these professionals may work as Applications Software Developers or as Systems Software Developers.


Individuals who want to become a Software Developer will need a combination of personal characteristics, education and experience in order to enter this profession.

Some helpful skills include being detail oriented, have the capability to analyze a user’s needs and be able to communicate with other professionals such as programmers.

Education Requirements to Become a Software Developer

Individuals who want to become a Software Developer will need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in order to enter this profession.

Individuals also have the option of securing a master’s degree if interested in advancing their careers.

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Individuals pursuing this career will most importantly need to work on gaining strong computer programming skills as this is the foundational skill needed to perform the basic requirements of this profession.

During their undergraduate career, individuals who want to become a Software Developer are encouraged to focus on a computer science degree.

Other recommended degrees include: software engineering, mathematics or a closely related field.

Individuals pursuing the latter degrees must assure they are taking classes that teach how to build software, one important aspect in this career.

For stronger job prospects or career advancement, individuals have the option of completing a master’s degree in computer science.

While enrolled in a program, individuals should focus on taking computer science, computer programming and courses in writing code.

Individuals choosing a specialization in this field, such as working in the finance field, are encouraged to learn about finance in order to have better job prospects.

Software Developer Job Description

Software Developers are professionals who are experienced in creating a variety of computer programs for personal and professional use.

There are two specializations within this profession who perform different duties.

Systems Software Developers focus on software that is used to keep a computer functioning properly.

This type of software is typically known as an operating system that is pre-installed into computers before being sold to consumers.

Operating systems are important for users because it is software that makes a computer practical.

Other common elements when creating an operating system includes building an interface that allows users to use a computer.

The second specialization within this profession is an Applications Software Developer.

These individuals are responsible for creating programs and software used as applications such as word processors, games or spreadsheets.

These individuals also create software that works with internet, work for large organizations that need intricate databases and software or applications for phones that people download using an internet connection.

Software Developers use a combination of computer programming, creativity and problem solving in order to create software that the general public can comprehend and use.

Some shared responsibilities and duties that both these professionals use regularly may include the following:

  • Determine what users need when using computers
  • Plan, test and create software based on users’ needs
  • Design flowcharts, diagrams and models dictating software code for programmers to use
  • Software maintenance and testing
  • Assure software is still functioning after maintenance and testing

Software Developer Salary and Career Path

The salary for Software Developers will depend on a variety of factors including their specialization (applications vs.

systems), the industry they work in and level of experience.

In 2012, the median salary for Applications Software Developers was approximately $90,060 per year while Systems Software Developers earned a median salary of approximately $99,000 per year.

The maximum salary for this profession has been reported at $148,850 per year.

The job outlook for Software Developers is expected to grow at a faster than average rate when compared to other professions.

Job opportunities are expected to increase by 22 percent through the year 2022, a much faster rate than other professions.

This projected growth is attributed to the increase in demand for computer software.

Industries needing this service include the mobile technology and healthcare industries.

Threats in security are also factor in this growth as more organizations seek to invest in this area.

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