Software Development Careers

NUMBER OF JOBS

913,100

JOB OPENINGS

270,900

JOB GROWTH

30%

AVG. SALARY

$90,530 /yr

$43.52 /hr

All Stats from BLS.gov

Software developers design computer programs. Most software developers work throughout all phases of the software development lifecycle. While there are many different methodologies used to develop software, the general steps involve assessing the customer’s needs; designing a program that meets those needs; instructing programmers in writing and testing the code; fixing bugs throughout the development process; and upgrading and maintaining software after its release.

Software Developer Job Description

A software developer may oversee a team of programmers or do the programming on their own, depending on the size of the company. Some software developers work as IT project managers, directing all phases of the development lifecycle in a leadership.

How to Become a Software Developer

The entry-level requirement for jobs in this position is usually a Bachelor’s degree. Employers look for degrees in software engineering, computer science, programming, or other areas of IT, although degrees in mathematics can also be useful. And although some software developers don’t actually code, they need to know how—so it’s important to gain those skills either in school or on your own.

The IT field loves certifications—and they’re great for showing your expertise in a very targeted technology without investing in another expensive and time-consuming degree program. While not required, technical certifications may be highly useful in your job search, and there are many relevant to software development. A few include the Microsoft Certified Software Developer credential and the Certified Software Development Professional credential from the IEEE Computer Society.

Acceptance of Online Degrees in Software Development

IT has traditionally been very accepting of online computer science degrees, both from nonprofit and for-profit schools—so you should have no trouble getting hired with an online degree in software development or a related field.

In addition, many of the professional certification programs out there are administered either partially or fully online, so IT hiring managers are used to seeing at least some form of online education on many software development resumes.

Average Software Developer Salary

Software developers made an average of $47,790 in 2010, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. Those in the highest income bracket earned around $133,100, while those in the lowest earned around $54,360.

Systems developers—those who design underlying technical systems that support software applications—made slightly more, averaging $94,180 with a top earning amount of $143,330 and a bottom amount of $61,040. 

The Job Outlook for Software Developers

The prognosis is good for software development jobs. This profession is projected to expand by 30% in the coming decade according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Fueling this demand for software development pros is a marked expansion in the number of companies relying on custom software, and the demand for it among mobile users. In addition, as more companies store customer and user information digitally, there is a greater concern for cybersecurity—and a greater need to hire software development professionals to design solutions that protect technical infrastructures and networks.

Pros and Cons of Becoming a Software Developer

Software development is an expanding field with strong job security, and the pay is high. This makes it a good bet in a struggling economy.

The starting educational investment is fairly low, at only a four-year degree; however, it’s essential to keep up with the latest technologies in order to stay competitive in the job market. Preference is often given to people who consistently earn new certifications and keep older certifications up to date. If you love learning about the industry and don’t mind earning new certifications as required to keep your skills relevant, this may be an excellent career for you.

Where to Look for Software Developer Jobs

Jobs at Apple

Dice.com

Monster.com