Have you been experimenting with computers and technology since you were able to first peck something out on a keyboard? Are you fascinated by computers and think you have a knack for technology? Are you an open-minded problem solver? If “yes” to any of these, you might have what it takes to be a Software Developer.
Who created your favorite mobile app? A Software Developer. Who keeps us all current with the latest and greatest (well actually, who creates the latest and greatest) tools we use every day? Software Developers.
Sometimes called Software Engineers (some confusion remains about that title but let’s call it the same thing for this article), or a number of related titles, Software Developers are the creative life force in IT. Software Developers can be generalists in development or they can specialize in areas that are of particular interest to them.
And, there are some great career opportunities for Software Developers, including projected double-digit growth!
So, what does a Software Developer do to be so popular?
- Create! Yes, they have to do some non-creative work too, but how fun is it to be the one who creates the next must-have app? Or, to be the first one who knows it’s even a possibility? Answer – pretty darn fun!
- Building on creating, the next thing would be testing and tweaking (not twerking!) applications to make sure they do what they’re supposed to
- Software Developers may also write that incomprehensible-to-the-rest-of-us language known as code
This can be a tricky one for many positions because there are so many factors that determine compensation. Salaries in major metropolitan areas are generally on the highest end of the scale.
However, it’s safe to say that the compensation for someone with these responsibilities is generally pretty nice.
- The low end of a Software Developer’s salary ranges from$60k – $70k.
- The high end of a Software Developer’s annual compensation is between $100k - $145k and up and up for highly specialized skills.
It’s interesting to consider this- For every other Position Spotlight that we’ve posted, developing technology is usually included as a hot trend.
Now we’re starting at the source – Software developers create, test, and modify the technology that everyone uses! So, they have to stay at the head of the class in order to determine what will be needed.
Here are a few of the coolest trends in this field:
- Mixed reality – a combination of VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality). Everyone from Walmart to the U.S. Army is developing ways to incorporate these technologies into their operations
- Of course, AI (Artificial Intelligence) – so-called machine intelligence. Think Siri, speech recognition, etc.
- IoT or Internet of Things – refers to the incredible growth of “things” connected to the internet
Adapted from Hackernoon.com 10 Top Software Development Trends in 2019
One great perk, due to the nature of this type of work, is the possibility of working remotely, at least part of the time. That may not be available in every company but it’s quite common in this field and is a great benefit for workers looking for more freedom, self-direction or work-life balance.
Software developers with several years of experience or sought-after skills can, and frequently do, strike out on their own to build an app and sell it on the mass market.
Unlike many other fields, an SD can be highly compensated in a non-management role but there is a definite career path if one so desired:
Jr. Software Developer → Software Developer → Sr. Software Developer →
Development Team Lead → Manager → Director → VP → Chief Technology Officer
What Can Set A Candidate Apart?
In addition to a deep knowledge of computer technology gained from many hours (maybe years!) of working with computers, there are some specializations that will help a candidate be very marketable.
- Familiarity with all coding languages vs. the standard 1 or 2 that most software developers know
- Mobile development
- Blockchain skills
- Specialized knowledge of cybersecurity
- SaaS (Software as a Service) – like Dropbox, MailChimp
- Creative thinking and problem-solving abilities
- Teamwork is critical because developing new software, testing it, fixing it and implementing it takes a village
- Approachability and ability to communicate well
- Multitasking, time management, and accountability
- Strategic thinking to identify trends, future business needs, the next “hot thing”
Frequently Required Credentials and Education
- Generally, a bachelor’s degree in an IT field is preferred but it’s not that rare for SDs to possess a Master’s degree
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that a good software developer is usually employed in some capacity. Demand is strong and shows little signs of slowing. It only makes sense – we’re in a technology boom where software developers’ expertise is a necessity just to maintain, let alone innovate.
Estimates for growth surpass most other occupations, ranging from 14% to as high as 24%! This is excellent considering that some jobs are considered to have good growth at 10%.
With the right combination of experience, soft and technical skills, and education/certification – it’s a very, very good time to be a Software Developer!