How Do You Become a Software Developer?

Software developers create computer programs or specialized applications that make it possible for people to use computers. One example of software that was created by developers is a word processor. Another is a spreadsheet. People without technical skills use the programs that are created by a developer.

Developers of software also create another type of software known as “operating system software”. This is the program that controls how computers interact with the hardware and other application software. Microsoft Windows™ is an example of operating system software. It allows humans to use computer hardware so that work can be accomplished.

Software developers analyze user needs and create custom programs as well as test and deploy them. Developers write instructions or documentation for the programs they create, maintain the software and make modifications as needed. Software developers need to have a background in programming but they may supervise or direct a team of programmers working for them. Developers supervise the building of information systems to support organizational goals.

There are specialized software developers, too. A good example would be the individuals who work on game development or in writing specialized programs for mobile devices or other consumer applications. A writer of computer code for environmental control systems, for example, would require an expert developer of software for the equipment.

Becoming a software developer requires a strong background in programming. A four-year college degree in computer information systems or computer science is normally considered to be the minimum to become a developer. Developers use computer languages, developer platforms and other software tools such as flowcharts and context diagrams. Ideally the developer would also need to possess specialized knowledge associated with the field in which he or she is working (i.e. healthcare, law enforcement, etc.).

Developers of software need to be analytical and possess excellent communication skills. They must enjoy working to produce a product that is subject to extensive testing and re-writing of computer code. Writers of software must be able to use logic and reasoning to create solutions to complex problems and must also possess superior judgment.

A developer’s career path would most likely have begun as a programmer working as part of a development team. An individual beginning as a programmer would gradually assume more responsibility, gain more knowledge and experience and be given increasingly more important tasks. Certification would be a plus.

A software developer’s career would benefit from obtaining certification as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer. It requires knowledge of Video Studio. Other levels of certification are provided by various vendors including SUN Microsystems™. The IEEE has two: Certified Software Developer Associate and Certified Software Developer Professional.

The salary of software developers in 2012 ranged from $59,750 to $122,750. The outlook for employment is strong. There is a continuing demand as developer of software, especially in the area of product manager. The growth in the number of positions between now and 2020 is estimated to be 30%.

Becoming a software developer requires extensive knowledge and experience but the rewards are significant.