How to Become a Software Developer - Career Info

How to Become a Software Developer

Are you investigating how to become a Software Developer? The main job of a Software developer is to design and create computer programs to meet the needs of users. They design each aspect of an application or system and plan how the pieces will work together. Software developers are behind everything you do with a computer. They design, build, and test computers systems in order to help people get their work done. They might develop the underlying systems for devices or networks, or they might develop specific applications for computers. These days many developers design applications for devices like tablets and smartphones too. 

Why pursue formal education? 

In general, Software Developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Some employers may prefer a candidate with a master’s degree. To work as a system software developer, you need to understand the technical aspects of electronics and computers. You need to have a background in computer programming too.[v] While it may be possible to learn this stuff on your own, it may be a lot easier to have instructors guiding you. Plus colleges or training centers generally give you access to all the equipment you’ll need to learn how to use! And throughout their career, software developers are often required to keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.[ii]

What kind of program might I need?

It depends upon your preferred length of study and what kind of career you’re considering. If you go the formal educational route, you can find system software developer programs at community colleges, technical schools, vocational schools, and universities. However, it’s important to note that most developers have a bachelor’s degree. 

How do these programs work if I have other responsibilities?

If you have outside obligations—like a family, a full-time job, or both—it’s only natural to have concerns about going back to school. The good news is that it’s not at all difficult to find a system software programs that offers evening or weekend classes and even online options. It is quite common these days for people to need flexibility in terms of commuting and scheduling, and schools have become adept at working with these students.

What skills might I need?

If you want to pursue a career as a systems software developer, you’ll need to acquire a range of technical skills and experience. This includes technical know-how like being well-versed in computer programming languages; having strong interpersonal skills, knowing how to design effective software, being on top of best practices in software engineering, and staying up-to-date on new tools in the field. [v] 

The less technical skills are also important. For example, communication skills: you have to provide clear instructions to your team members and know how to explain technical issues to non-computer people. You’ll need interpersonal skills. Systems software developers — they’re often referred to as software engineers — may instruct other computer programmers. At the same time they might be responding to the needs of their clients. So you’ll need to know how to motivate and work with all different kinds of people. Finally, software developers need solid problem-solving skills.  The nice thing is that these skills may be exportable to other fields.

What classes might I take?

You could expect to take a lot of Computer Science and STEM courses — Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. So, in addition to computer courses like Database Systems and Systems Electronics, you might take science lab courses and calculus. [vi]

Finding a program can be the first step toward making your mark, so make sure that you find the program that may be perfect for you. Check out the academic catalogue. Take a campus tour. Talk to current and former students. Talk to people currently working in the profession. And ask everybody a lot of questions. Because that’s one of the best ways to get advice on how to jumpstart your career as a software developer!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a Software Developer

What is the average salary a Software Developer makes?
What job titles are similar or the same as a Software Developer?
What are common types of software I would have to learn as a Software Developer?
What types of personalities are a good fit for becoming a Software Developer?