Software DeveloperJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Software Developers are often needed throughout the lifecycle of a piece of software, updating, patching, and repairing code, whether the task is to develop an app or an underlying operating system. Some Software Developers work with specific platforms, developing apps for systems like Java, JavaScript, C#, and Python. In some cases, Software Developers write code themselves, though they also can work closely with computer programmers who write the actual software code based on the developer’s instructions.

In addition to hard skills like expertise in various programming languages, a Software Developer also needs soft skills like communication, teamwork, and critical thinking. Many Software Developers work in teams, so the ability to communicate ideas to other members of the team — as well as to customers, non-technical colleagues, and managers — is critical. Since a Software Developer is also often responsible for repairing issues with software, they also should be able to think through the underlying causes of those problems as well as the solutions for them.

Sample job description

A software developer uses knowledge of programming languages to design computer software. They work with clients, management, and a team of coders to design software for computers and mobile devices. Software developers also run tests, fix bugs, and use feedback from users to improve the software. [Your Company Name] is hiring experienced software developers to join our team. This job requires three to five years of experience working as a software developer. We are seeking creative candidates with good attention to detail, excellent communication skills, a strong work ethic, and high adaptability. 

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Develop, test and implement new software programs
  • Modify, expand and update applications
  • Develop software prototypes
  • Facilitate root cause analysis of system issues
  • Compile timely, comprehensive and accurate documentation and reports as requested

Education and experience

A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related discipline is strongly preferred for this position.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Excellent problem-solving and analytical abilities
  • Extremely detail-oriented
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a development team
  • Several years of programming experience
  • Proficient in languages and frameworks such as C#/.Net, Javascript, Java, C++, and SQL Server

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience of being a part of the Agile/Scrum environment
  • Team player, problem solver, and a good communicator with a desire to work hard

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a software developer is $118,000 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$117,350$158,750
Los Angeles, California$132,400$179,100
Denver, Colorado$110,350$149,250
Washington, DC$134,400$141,850
Miami, Florida$109,850$148,600
Orlando, Florida$101,300$137,050
Tampa, Florida$102,300$138,400
Atlanta, Georgia$107,300$145,200
Chicago, Illinois$123,350$166,900
Boston, Massachusetts$133,400$180,500
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$106,300$143,850
New York City, New York$140,400$190,000
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$114,350$154,700
Dallas, Texas$111,350$150,650
Houston, Texas$110,350$149,250
Seattle, Washington$128,400$173,700
National Average$100,300$135,700

Typical work environment

Software developers typically work full-time inside an office or a computer. Some software developer jobs are available remotely. Although software developers work often on their own at their computer, they also work on a team and must be able to collaborate with others. They may have to work nights and weekends to meet tight deadlines and spend a lot of time sitting in front of their computer. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours in an office setting for a Software Developer are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional work hours can be commonplace when approaching project deadlines.

Some Software Developers work remotely on a freelance basis, which allows them more freedom to set their own work hours.

Available certifications

The ability to design and program software is highly in demand to meet the needs of modern life. Most software developers have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science. Certifications can help you begin or advance your career as a software developer. Here are a few examples. 

  • Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP). Offered by the IEEE Computer Society, the CSDP certification demonstrates a knowledge of software requirements, software design, software construction, and software testing. The exam is three hours long with 160 questions. Once certified, you’ll have to recertify every three years. 
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). Scrum is a method of project management used in the software development process. This certification prepares you to help your team more effectively use Scrum to manage projects. Four levels of certification offer the chance to upgrade your skills as your career progresses. 

Career path

A Software Developer needs to have a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Students are encouraged to pursue internships with software companies while they are in college to gain some real-world experience in the field. Some companies prefer applicants for more senior Software Developer positions to have a master’s degree.

While Software Developers don’t always write code, having a strong background in computer programming often makes a candidate for a Software Developer position more attractive to employers. Also, knowledge of the industry for which you want to develop software is essential. For example, potential Software Developers who want to work on software for e-commerce should know the online retail industry.

Software Developers can advance into positions like IT Project Manager or Computer and Information Systems Manager. In those roles, they oversee and guide the software development process, sometimes supervising a team of Software Developers. Software Developers who want to move into management roles should develop soft skills like relationship building, motivating and influencing others, and communication.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 15-1133

2020 Employment1,847,900
Projected Employment in 20302,257,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 22% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift409,500 increase

The need for Software Developers in the coming years is expected to increase. It’s one of the fastest-growing jobs in the IT field. According to the trade publication Tech Times, Software Developers should look at solutions involving artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. These technologies are being adopted across industries very quickly; more companies are looking to AI software to make better use of the data they collect.

Increased demand for the Internet of Things (IoT) is another trend for Software Developers to watch in the coming years. Devices that can connect to the internet, from smart appliances to wearable technology, are becoming more and more popular. Many software companies are expected to begin specializing in programming for the IoT sector, so Software Developers who are knowledgeable in creating software for smart technology will be more in demand.

Another trend in the software development field in the coming years is the increased use of progressive web apps (PWAs). They’re a kind of website that functions like a mobile app but runs in a web browser. More companies are using them because it can save them money by not having to develop a mobile version of their websites or a mobile app. Instead, PWAs give companies the same benefits as a mobile app and offer faster load times and better functionality for customers.

Sample interview questions

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • What sparked your interest in working as a software developer?
  • Why do you think you would be a good fit for our company?
  • What do you like most about developing software?
  • What area of programming has been the most challenging for you?
  • What resources do you use when encountering a problem with your code?
  • What training and certifications have you received?
  • How do you manage your time when working on multiple projects at once?
  • How do you communicate with coworkers who do not have the technical understanding you have?
  • How has your previous position prepared you for this job?
  • How do you stay up to date with the most recent technological advances in the field?
  • What programming languages are you familiar with? 
  • How do you determine a project’s success?

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