What Does a Software Developer Do? Full Guide

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Software is magic. And Software Developers are magicians who conceive and craft magic. Technology has made life a whole lot easier, and this is primarily because of apps and platforms that use custom software. So, it’s safe to say that software developers are no less than wizards who can and have transformed the way we interact with the world. This begs the question; what do software developers do? Read on!

A software developer that codes on different programming languages

What Is Software Development?

Before we delve into what software developers do, let’s first understand software development as a process. A quick Wikipedia search will result: Software development is the process of conceiving, specifying, designing, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in creating and maintaining applications, frameworks, or other software components.

Simply put, Software development includes a set of computer science activities that result in the process of creation, design, and deployment of software. Operating systems on phones, tablets, smartwatches, car infotainments, smart televisions, and the apps that run on those operating systems are software products built by software developers.

Software development includes a swathe of programming languages and coding skills needed to build different kinds of software. Python, Java, JavaScript, C and C++, and SQL are some examples of software development languages needed to build reliable software solutions.

What Exactly Do Software Developers Do?

Given the heavy dependence on technology, software developers have an extremely high demand. Typically, a software developer masters programming and design knowledge only to create software and build technological solutions to meet the requirements of other people.

Software developers usually work for a client or a tech company to deploy software based on the specification of their employers. Today, software development isn't just limited to building mobile apps, gaming apps, and social media apps; it's the cornerstone of every computerized device.

Software developers usually select their niche in the space and learn programming languages accordingly. The higher their experience in a given language or niche, the more money they make as they have immense skillsets and experience in that specific domain. For instance, a mobile app developer can choose to only build apps for iOS and learn all the languages to improve their skills and become an expert. Similarly, gaming developers or artificial intelligence developers become masters of their domain in the software development space.

What Skills Do Software Developers Need?

Professional software developers have a vast and varied set of soft and technical skills that enable them to find success and build the future. Software developers know how to operate multiple software programs, configure hardware devices, design software tools, and develop structural flows and procedural matrixes to create applications. Every software developer learns different languages and operates in different software development stages or product applications. This results in a set of different skills that every developer acquires.

However, several soft and technical skills are common among all developers, or at least that should be common to ensure a successful career in software development.

  • Soft skills & Problem-solving skills

Soft skills lean more towards behaviors and personality traits that ultimately determine your ability to reach and appeal to potential employers.

  • Analytical skills

Analytical skills relate to the analytical thinking abilities of the software developer and they are essential to help developers to solve complex problems. Employers usually hire professional developers because they have the ability to resolve issues efficiently and effectively.

  • Team player

A software programmer usually has to work with other development team members, project managers, designers, or testing professionals. And so, having hands-on experience and being a team player involves taking part in discussions, problem-solving as a team, respecting others’ opinions, and having patience.

  • Self-learning

Software development is a dynamic industry. New technologies, languages, devices, platforms, and cyber threats require the acute skill of being curious and learning the latest trends in software development.

  • Attention to detail

Strong attention to detail helps a developer achieve high-level accuracy and precision. And so, developers that write high-quality clean lines of code build stable and reliable solutions and products which enhance their careers.

  • Technical skills

Technical skills primarily encompass learning and coding in different programming languages and other related technologies. This skill set includes a developer’s ability to master a programming language and build promising solutions.

  • Coding languages

It's important for software developers to master at least one coding language to improve their career trajectory. Their career and job opportunities vary depending on which language a developer chooses. Some common coding languages to learn are JavaScript, HyperText markup language (HTML), Cascading styles sheets (CSS), Python, C++, and Java.

  • Database knowledge

Databases are electronic systems that enable software developers to organize and structure information. Software developers must know how to use the database to hunt for information and how to secure a database and backup data by learning a standardized source code called Structured Query Language (SQL).

  • Data structures and algorithms

Data structures are the different organizational methods for securing and storing information in a database. On the other hand, an algorithm is a process of completing actions and tasks. Software developers should know about the many data structures and algorithms to optimize a program's code.

  • Testing procedures

Every software program must undergo an intense and mandatory testing process before it is released to end-users. Software developers should be well-versed with the different test tools and methods to ensure the code they create is the best possible version.

  • Debugging knowledge

Software developers can build software products but must also know how to debug their code by removing errors in their program's coding language. Ideally, software developers should debug their code while writing it to ensure optimal functionality in the testing stage.

  • Operating systems

A software developer should have some expertise in the various operating systems like Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux for computers, as well as for iOS and Android, which are the common operating systems for mobile and handheld devices.

  • Cryptography

Software developers should be well-versed with cryptography and use encryption techniques to prevent cyber attacks.

  • Cloud platforms

Configuring cloud platforms should also be a part of common skill for software developers. Many companies use cloud-based platforms to store and manage information, so this is a helpful skill to acquire.

Certifications Available For Software Developers

Getting a software engineering or software development certification is a smart choice. Here are some certifications:

  • CSSLP — Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional

  • CMWAPT — Certified Mobile and Web App Penetration Tester

  • MTA — Microsoft Technology Associate

  • RHCJD — Red Hat Certified JBoss Developer

  • PMI-ACP — PMP Agile Certified Practitioner

  • Oracle Certified Associate, Java, SE 6/SE 5

  • Oracle Certified Professional, Java SE 6/SE 5 Programmer

  • Oracle Certified Master, Java SE6 Developer

  • Oracle Certified Master, Java EE 5 Enterprise Architect

  • Microsoft Specialist: Programming in C#

  • AWS Certified Developer — Associate

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer

  • AWS Certified DevOps Engineer — Professional

  • Certified Scrum Professional

  • Salesforce.com Certified Developer

How Much Is the Salary of Software Developers?

According to U.S. News, the median annual salary for a software developer is $101,790. The lowest-paid 25 percent earned $77,710, with the highest-paid 25 percent earning $128,960. More experienced developers secure senior roles that pay on the higher end of the salary range. U.S News also indicates that software developers’ best-paid 25 percent made $140,470 in 2020, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $84,020. The software development average salaries are slated to grow by about 22% by 2030, with 409,500 jobs added by that time.

How to Become a Software Developer?

One of the traditional ways most students use to get into software development is by pursuing computer science-related fields and acquiring a degree to pursue software engineering. Data Structures, Algorithms, Web Technology, Computer Networks, Mathematics, Database systems, Programming Languages, and several other major subjects help students to develop a comprehensive understanding of programming.

Taking up certification courses, joining coding boot camps, and joining troubleshooting forums are also helpful to get in-depth theoretical and practical concepts of computer science subjects. Platforms like StackOverflow have tons of programming-related queries where one can learn from other programmers’ approaches.

Similarly, joining dev communities to build and develop connections, attend meetups, watch youtube videos on coding and other technical subjects, read technical blogs, etc. are ways to become a software developer. Beginners can self-learn programming languages like Ruby, Java, Python, C++, C#, and Javascript. Platforms like GeeksforGeeks, w3schools.com, Codecademy, CodinGame, Khan Academy, freeCodeCamp, and other websites are handy resources to learn programming and software development.

Career In Software Development

Undoubtedly, software development requires a lot of effort, given that it is a complex and technical field. The future of software development is bright as our lives become more and more dependent on technology. Specializing in a specific programming language or operating system is the best way for software developers to enhance their careers and expand their job opportunities. With skilled software developers earning big-ticket salaries, this is definitely a field where the hard work pays off multifold.

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