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Becoming a Software Developer

Learn something new. Take control of your career.

It’s no surprise: the demand for engineers like software developers is rising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for software developers will increase nearly 25% before the year 2026, which is far above the average employment growth projection rate.

So, what should you know about the software development industry? This guide covers career resources for software developers:

  • Introduction to software development

  • What does a software developer do?

  • The difference between a front-end and back-end developer

  • Tips for succeeding as a software developer

Introduction to software development

Software development encompasses a wide range of technologies, roles and products. Here we’ll elaborate on the details of the position of software developer.

The primary role of a software developer is to simplify and improve the lives of those who use their software applications. Here’s just a areas where innovative software applications are changing the ways we use technology everyday:

• Machine learning: manual administrative asks such as data entry, bookkeeping and accounting are executed through automation.

• Blockchain: distributed ledger technology secures private information.

• Artificial intelligence: the proliferation of chatbots help consumers solve problems faster.

What do software developers actually do?

The responsibilities of a software developer can include building new solutions to conducting user testing. Not all software developers spend their full day coding applications. Tasks for a software developer may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Analyze current programs and existing platforms to detect flaws or weak points in the form or function of a given software

  • Analyze the needs, desires and demands of the application user

  • Brainstorm new solutions or strategies for improving existing software

  • Design mockups, models, diagrams, wireframes and other visual tools to illustrate software functionality

  • Manage or assembling powerful software development teams  

  • Perform user testing to ensure the software functions as it should

  • Document results of user testing and use comparative data for greater improvements

  • Study and analyze complex user data

  • Work with other engineers to create a seamless user experience

  • Pursue continuing education and developer certifications to keep technology skills current

Before you pursue a career in engineering, it’s important to under the different disciplines within the software industry. Learn about the difference between a front-end developer and a back-end developer and decide which path would be right for you, your strengths, and your interests. You should also explore the breadth of programming languages and tools, taking into consideration the the most useful programming languages.

Tips for pursuing a career in software development

Software developers and other engineers may be in high demand, but that doesn’t guarantee you a career in this growing field. If you really want to make a living as a software developer, it’s critical you stay on top of trends in your industry and stay focused on gaining new skills.

Learn what’s expected

The responsibilities of a software developer will vary according to the specific position, so it’s up to you to learn what’s expected of your role in your technology organization. Whether your dream job requires you to be certified in certain programming languages or well-versed in responsive front-end development, your software should align to the expectations of your team and the needs of you users.

Gain new software development skills continually

Technology is constantly changing, which means engineers must be prepared to change, adapt and improve their skills. Stay ahead of the pace of change by exploring new technologies and gaining the necessary knowledge and skills to take advantage of new solutions. You’ll need to be committed: there’s a constant supply of developer certifications to be obtained, courses to take, articles to read and product launches to follow up with.

Try new things

As a software developer, you should always be looking for new ways to better your craft. Maybe you’d like to explore using an emerging technology to solve a problem on your team. Perhaps you’re interested in joining the open source community and using Linux Open Source development tools. Or you may want to improve your organizational structure, bring a cross-functional lens to your work and build your own team of software developers.

Whatever it may be, the software development disciple thrives off optimization. The key to improving your capabilities and building a successful career as a software developer requires you to grow your skillset, experiment with new ideas and be relentlessly committed to improving your applications.

Are you ready to kickstart your career with new skills? Explore the latest Pluralsight courses on software development today.

Learn something new. Take control of your career.