Software Developer

Software Developer

Software Developers

Software developers are currently in huge demand, with the number of available jobs far exceeding the current supply. For those looking for a career that offers job security, competitive salaries, and the challenge of developing new and exciting software and applications, the role of a software developer may be just what you are looking for.

Software Developer? What is a Software Developer?

Software development is the process of using a specific programming language to create standalone or individual software programs. The software developer is the creative mind behind this process. They come up with the idea, develop and design the software and have the ability to build or oversee the team building the software.

Software Developer Software Developer vs. Software Engineer vs. Programmer vs. Coder

A software developer is sometimes referred to as a software engineer, a programmer, or a coder. While these names are often used interchangeably, they also have distinct differences, although, these distinctions are, to a degree, historic.

Software engineers apply scientific and technological knowledge, methods, and experience to the development of software. Programmer is a largely obsolete term that has been replaced by software developer, while a coder is anyone who writes software code.

Software Developer Types of Software Developer

There are several different types of software developers, each addressing a specific area and with their own area-specific knowledge.

Front-End Developers

In software development, the front-end is the part of the software that the user will interact with. Front-end developers are typically involved in the design of the user interface or the user experience design.

Back-End Developers

In contrast, back-end developers are removed from the user. They are responsible for building and developing the infrastructure that enables the user-facing aspects.

Full-Stack Developers

Software developers that cover both the front-end and back-end are known as full-stack developers. This role is less common now. It originally encompassed the role of front-end and back-end developers, but as software became more complex there was a need for specialized knowledge in each of those areas. Full-stack developers have the advantage of being able to see the whole project from front to back, which avoids the potential problems of fragmentation and compartmentalization.

These types of software developers are also known as systems software developers.

Desktop, Web, Mobile Developers

These three roles develop software applications for either desktop, the web, or mobile devices. Those undertaking this type of work are also known as application software developers.

Software Developer The Role of a Software Developer

Most software developers work for either technology companies, creating customized non-standard software or end-user organizations, creating software to be sold off the shelf. However, the design process is similar in each role and can be broken down into several key areas:

  • Analyzing the needs of the user
  • Conceiving the idea
  • Mapping out the design and creating the design process
  • Develop diagrams and models to determine how the software will be programmed
  • Programming the software or overseeing and coordinating the team that is programing the software
  • Documenting the software and the design process for future enhancements and upgrades
  • Testing the software to ensure it does what it is meant to and functions properly
  • Fixing any bugs in the software

Required Skills Required Skills

Software developers typically have a degree in a relevant field, such as mathematics, information technology, computer science, science, or engineering. This provides them with a good foundation for future learning, which is essential given the fast-evolving software industry. What this means in practice is there is a significant amount of on-the-job learning and the ability to learn and adapt is key to being successful in this role.

Programming Languages

The world of software development is constantly evolving, as are the programming languages that are used. In January 2021, Redmonk found that the five most popular programming languages were JavaScript, Python, Java, PHP, and C#. This was based on data collected by Github and Stackflow and confirmed data from Slashdata, which found there were 13.8 million developers using JavaScript, which is popular among web and cloud developers, 10.1 million using Python, and 9.4 million using Java.

The popularity of Python has been rising in recent years. It added 2.2 million users in 2019 alone, and is especially popular in the fast-growing machine-learning sector of software development. It is also used in the development of IoT apps. C++ is another programming language used in the development of IoT apps that is gaining in popularity. While Swift, Kotlin, Go and Visual Development Tools have become increasingly popular among those developing augmented reality and virtual reality software.

It is important to note falling in the popularity stakes is not a death warrant for a programming language, with the most popular languages constantly changing. Many languages that have fallen in popularity may rise again in a few years. Fortran, a 1950s IBM programming language is a case in point, having fallen in the popularity stakes, it has recently reversed this trend rising to 20th in the programming language stakes.

What Makes a Good Software Developer? What Makes a Good Software Developer?

Being able to understand the big picture regarding why the company is developing the software and the ability to speak to the value of technology in business terms that the entire company can understand is the difference between a good and great software developer, according to Todd Stephan VP of Software Engineering at Ask Applications. He said, “[great software developers] understand broadly how the company works at a business level, speak the business’ language, and master translating business language to technology and vice versa.”

Other skills that make a good software developer include the ability to listen and to acknowledge when you do not know the answer to a problem, the ability to focus on the end goal and not get distracted by things that would be nice to include but don’t necessarily get you closer to the end goal, and being open to new things and the ability to incorporate them into your work.

Current Demand For Software Developers Current Demand For Software Developers

The demand for software developers is currently high. The pandemic has only amplified the demand, with market forecasts suggesting the gulf between supply and demand looks set to widen even further over the next few years.

According to Indeed, some of the factors that are driving this demand include:

  • The need for innovative software, with most companies looking to build applications and websites.
  • The limited lifespan of code with the code in applications constantly evolving and changing.
  • Growth in technology is accelerating with companies looking to build new and better software applications than their opposition to remain competitive in the market.

Companies are increasingly realizing that the new model of remote work allows them to recruit from a much larger geographical area, which opens the door to a much larger talent pool; however, despite this demand remains high.

Software Development Training Software Development Training

Demand for software development training reflects the market demand, with a Europe-wide study of 31,100 adults finding 5% of those who had picked up a new skill at the start of the pandemic had taken up coding, with the potential employment opportunities driving this trend.

The Senior Vice President of Red Hat EMEA, Werner Knoblich has said, “If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that the future is digital. It’s heartening to see so many people taking up computer programming or software development as a new skill, particularly those from non-technical backgrounds.”

Software Development Training Software Development Training

Demand for software development training reflects the market demand, with a Europe-wide study of 31,100 adults finding 5% of those who had picked up a new skill at the start of the pandemic had taken up coding, with the potential employment opportunities driving this trend.

The Senior Vice President of Red Hat EMEA, Werner Knoblich has said, “If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that the future is digital. It’s heartening to see so many people taking up computer programming or software development as a new skill, particularly those from non-technical backgrounds.”

Threats to Software Developers

While the democratization of software development knowledge presents as a threat to established coders, it is the no-code/low code development tools that have become increasingly popular that presents the biggest threat.

With more companies looking to develop websites and applications, no-cost/low-cost platforms are becoming their go-to option, providing an affordable and timely solution. While medium and large-sized companies are predicted to remain loyal to custom-built options, due to the greater degree of customization and flexibility they offer, smaller companies and start-ups that have limited budgets and don’t have the legacy software issues are increasingly being drawn to this option.

The Founder of Studio Graphene, an app development platform, Titam Gandhi predicts, “We’re heading towards a more specialist development community. We’ll have either developers that are good at low-code, who have basic engineering skills and are better at solving problems by using e-tools that are there. And on the other extreme, we’ll have complete specialist developers working on those reusable components to be leveraged by non-specialists.”

Key to Success

For someone starting their career as a software developer, one of the key things that can help them become successful is finding a great mentor. This is ideally someone who is not working in the same company, but who can answer all the questions and queries as they find their feet.

The importance of good communication skills is emphasized by a number of experts. Resident Python expert, Gareth Dwyer of CodeMentor has said, “In the end, it’s unlikely that you’ll advance on your own. In order to work effectively with others, you should constantly improve your verbal and written communication skills — something that takes just as much as practice as coding itself and can often be as or more important.”

While Meenakshi Agarwal, Co-founder of TechBeamers identifies the importance of understanding the project requirements, saying “A software engineer is successful when s/he can quickly understand the functional requirements of a project, does his/her work in a structured way, can demonstrate the job done with ease and confidence.”

Other Roles for Software Developers

The role of a senior programmer presents as an obvious choice and comes with the opportunity to develop skills that extend beyond software development and look at the bigger picture for the business as a whole. With this experience, the role of a business analyst or enterprise architect may become appealing and present excellent opportunities for those looking to add more variety to their day.

Career Advancement Opportunities

The opportunity to move into team management is the obvious pathway for those looking to advance their career in software development. Beyond that, there are project management roles that offer an additional challenge.

To make the move into these roles, software developers will need to develop their skills beyond coding. This includes ensuring they have good communication and interpersonal skills, are seen as good team players, and can generally view potential projects in the wider business context rather than just focusing of the software development aspects of the project. The role of a software developer will provide those interested with plenty of opportunities to highlight these skills.

Current Pay Rates

The most current wage data from the US Bureau for Labor Statistics is for 2020.

Software developers had a median salary of $110,140 with the top 10% earning in excess of $170,100. The national average salary was $ 114,270, while the top-paying industries were software publishers with a median salary of $124,050, manufacturing $119,280, and management of companies and enterprises $109,840. Washington, California, and New York were the best-paying states.

Future Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the employment of software developers will grow by 22% between 2019 and 2029 which is notably faster than that of most other job types and the US national average which sits at 4%. This equates to approximately 134,000 job openings each year, although a number of these openings will be due to retirements and people moving to new jobs in a different area.

This demand will be driven by the need for smartphone and tablet applications, while the health, medical insurance, and reinsurance carriers industries are considered potential areas of growth.

Sonatafy Software Developers Sonatafy Software Developers

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