The role of a Software Developer

What is a software developer?

A software developer plays a key role in identifying, designing, installing and testing a software system they have built for a company from the ground up. It can range from creating internal programmes that can help businesses be more efficient to producing systems that can be sold on the open market. Once software developers have delivered the final software system, they will also help in maintaining and updating the programme to ensure that all security problems are fixed, and it operates with new databases. Some software developers create the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or mobile and others develop the underlying systems that control networks.

Required skills and education to become a software developer

Software developers need a strong education behind them as there are certain elements that individuals can’t learn on their own. Even though it is possible to learn a large amount about software developers at home and the tools required, some aspects of the role are too difficult, and some tools can become costly for you to use. Therefore, most software developers hold a bachelor’s degree as they are able to learn all aspects of the role, have access to all the information and tools they need, and it makes them a stronger candidate to employers. However, a degree is no way a necessity, having experience and knowledge of the specified skills is more important.

There are a variety of skills you are required to have as a software developer, but these skills can vary across jobs. Here are some of the skills that the majority of employers look for in a software developer:

  • Ability to use more than one development language
  • Design, test and develop software to meet user needs
  • Critical thinking
  • Keen attention to detail
  • Write and maintain software
  • Strong problem solver
  • Create complex databases for organisations
  • Document application process for future maintenance and upgrades

The responsibilities of a software developer

As a software developer, you could work in a variety of industries which means you could work on a variety of projects. It is likely that you will work closely with developers, product managers, graphic designers and business analysts to find out what clients want and the most efficient way to achieve them. You will be responsible to work on either the replacement of a whole system or modifying software and integrating it into existing networks. Using a number of programming tools and languages, your daily tasks may include:

  • Talking through requirements with clients
  • Testing software and fixing problems
  • Maintaining systems once they’re up and running
  • Being a part of technical designing
  • Integrate software components
  • Producing efficient codes
  • Writing program codes for reference and reporting

Working Hours

Software developers are required to work 37 to 40 hours a week. On occasion and depending on the company and project, they will be asked to stay longer if certain projects need to be completed and asked to work on weekends and out of their required hours. Most software developers work from an office but travelling may be permitted to visit clients and fulfil contracts. Visiting clients does mean that you will be out of the office and working on their premises if their issue cannot be fixed from in-house. Technology has given software developers the opportunity to work from home if they are self-employed, or if their employers allow it.

The opportunities for a software developer

About a third of IT jobs are in development and programming so there is plenty of opportunity for aspiring software developers. It is vital to keep up to date with the trends in technology as a software developer, because this will enable you to update your technical skills and training needs. As a software developer, there is a lot of competition to create new applications for mobile devices and enhance products to incorporate software into them. The health and insurance companies also have an increasing need for innovative software to help them manage patient care.

With experience and wanting to progress your career, software developers can be promoted to senior, principle developer and project manager. You could also expand and develop into related areas like system design, IT architecture or IT training and education.

The opportunities for a software developer contractor

Being a contractor enables you the chance to work with diverse teams, different projects and in different environments. It gives you the chance to work at your own pace and be your own boss, but of course, the more jobs you find, the more money and experience you’ll gain.

The market place for software developers continues to grow as new start-ups and large digital organisations are enhancing their online presence. The demand for skilled developers is greater than before due to the growth in technology. More companies are starting to look for contractors to help them with their projects as they provide expertise and experience. This gives software developer contractors an opportunity to gain experience, especially if you’re new contractors, and enables you to cater to a variety of business needs.

Similar to software developers, it is essential that you keep up to date with new technical skills and specific training needs. However, you shouldn’t forget about the old skills that you have achieved as they have helped you to get to the successful place you’re in today.

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