Software development offers a fast moving, fascinating and challenging career. Talented software developers are always in demand, with opportunities to work globally for software development companies who are helping to create and shape the modern world.
The industry is always looking to develop new talent so if you’re interested in software development as a potential career, how do you get started?
What does a software developer do?
Software developers design and write the code that builds the full gamut of software applications, from operating systems to mobile apps and video. Software developers may be involved in the whole software development process, beginning with understanding client needs, how the software will be deployed, through to the development and completion of the project.
Software developers analyse the needs of users and then design, test, and build software that meets those user needs.
Routes into software development
While many software developers will enter the profession after completing academic courses, you don’t need a university degree or formal qualifications to become a software developer. It’s possible to use online resources and other training programmes to teach yourself coding. You may then be able to verify your skills through an online course.
Some employers will provide on-the-job training for people who have aptitude for coding alongside a set of personal and intellectual attributes that fit the profession. It’s also possible to get an apprenticeship, enabling you to learn on the job.
If you wish to take the university route, then a degree in Computer Science or Engineering is a good background. Graduates with degrees in any subjects are also able to take post-graduate courses, such as an MSc in Software Development to give them the specific skills required for the job.
A skills shortage, particularly around web and mobile applications, means graduates are in high demand with software development companies. Increasingly, older career changers are entering the profession in greater numbers than previously, so age is no barrier.
What skills do software developers need?
As well as specific coding and technical skills, successful software developers will usually have a range of strengths and capabilities. They will be adept at analysing and solving problems and are likely to have good mathematical aptitude.
Good software developers need to be highly detail oriented. Time and project management skills are essential and the ability to work as part of a team are important. Good software developers are always learning and will be eager to improve. They regularly take courses to update their skills and deepen their knowledge.
Where could you work as a software developer?
As well as working within software development companies, developers are in demand across a range of industries. Employers such as banks, financial services, media, marketing, and the public sector all employ software developers. Many software developers also choose to work on a freelance basis.
Software development allows you to transfer your skills to an industry which you feel passionate about.
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