Software developers are software experts who design, analyze, test, and program software. They are also responsible for developing and implementing advanced workflows that utilize new software development tools and platforms.
In addition, software developers are now expected to be well-versed in multiple programming languages and development frameworks.
The demand for highly qualified software developers is at an all-time high. However, becoming a highly skilled developer takes much more work than ever before.
What Are The Requirements Of Becoming A Software Developer?
Due to the complexity of software development and the advanced skills required to work in the technology space, companies are increasingly looking for highly educated, experienced, and trained developers for their teams.
Companies want to ensure that everyone on their team has the necessary skills and expertise to complete a wide variety of development-related tasks. The following are some of the requirements companies look for when hiring software developers:
The Right Degree
Businesses want to ensure that the software developers they hire have a strong understanding of computer science concepts and software engineering principles. A Computer Science degree showcases that you have this knowledge, as most computer science programs teach students how to design, develop and implement software solutions.
A Software Engineering degree takes this one step further by providing students with an in-depth understanding of software development methodologies, tools, and platforms. As a result, companies typically prefer to hire developers with a Software Engineering degree over those with a Computer Science degree.
Hiring managers will also look at the relevant courses you have taken and how well you performed in them, as this indicates their interest and aptitude for software development.
In addition, if you are applying to jobs without a Computer Science or Software Engineering degree, be sure to highlight any relevant coursework, projects, and classes that you have completed.
As software development is a complex and ever-evolving field, businesses also want to see that you have a few years of experience working with various software development tools, languages, and frameworks. This work experience allows you to develop the necessary skills and expertise required for the job.
Ability To Learn Quickly
Companies want software engineers who can quickly adapt to new software development tools, programming languages, and platforms.
To test this ability in candidates during the interview process, hiring managers will typically ask you questions about your previous work with specific software programs or how you would approach solving a problem using different technologies. This helps determine how quickly you can learn and react to new situations.
Moreover, an interest in different software development tools, languages, and platforms can indicate a willingness to keep up-to-date and remain competitive with industry advancements. As such, hiring managers look for these characteristics when evaluating software developers.
If you have certifications relevant to the type of software development they do and software programs they use, hiring managers will take note. These certifications show employers that you regularly invest in your career by attending training courses and other learning opportunities related to what you do.
Hiring managers will also look at what programming languages you have experience with. Different programming languages suit different types of development better.
For example, software developers certified in Java and .NET typically work with enterprise applications as those programming languages are used to develop such software. Software developers who are fluent in Python will be more capable of developing websites and web applications.
Specific Technical Skills
While software development certifications are important, hiring managers will also look for specific technical skills, including experience with specific software development tools and programming languages.
For example, a software developer certified in Adobe Photoshop likely has experience working with graphics and designing user interfaces (UI). As such, they may be a good fit for a job that requires software engineers to design user interfaces.
Companies are increasingly prioritizing candidates with soft skills. Software development is a collaborative process that often involves working with other team members (including project managers and software architects) and clients to ensure projects are completed on time. The ability to work collaboratively is therefore a soft skill that can make you more employable.
For example, if you can demonstrate that you can work well with others as part of a team during the interview process, hiring managers will be more likely to hire you for software development jobs.
The following are some of the soft skills that are particularly important for software developers to have:
Attention To Detail
One of the essential soft skills for software developers is attention to detail. This skill is critical because software developers are often responsible for ensuring that software programs meet all the requirements specified by clients and end-users. Any errors made can result in significant delays and additional costs.
Companies look for software developers who can effectively communicate with clients and other team members. Software developers often need to consult with others to solve different software development problems or issues.
You will need strong communication skills to convey their ideas and needs to project managers and other team members. Poor communication skills are more likely to result in errors.
Software developers must be problem-solvers. You need to be able to think critically and readily provide a solution to a wide variety of problems. This is a soft skill that is especially critical since technical challenges often present themselves in any given software development project.
As mentioned earlier, software development is very much a collaborative process. As such, you need to work well with others. Teamwork skills include the ability to take direction from project managers and work with other team members to complete tasks well and on time.
What Does A Software Developer Do?
The most obvious answer is that software developers develop software. However, the typical developer is responsible for a wide range of tasks, and they may be required to:
Hiring managers look for software engineers who can conceptualize software programs. This ability includes determining what functions and features the software should have and how the program will interact with users (e.g., through a graphical user interface).
Once a software developer has determined what the program should do, they need to design the software. Software design includes specifying how the software will be structured and what programming languages and tools need to be used.
Once a software program is designed, it needs to build it. You’ll have to be able to write code for the software and ensure that it meets all the requirements specified by clients and end-users.
Once a software program has been built, it needs to be tested. Developers should be capable of testing for errors and ensuring that the software functions as intended. Software engineers typically use different software testing tools to test their programs.
Companies also look for software developers who can troubleshoot and determine the cause and solution for various software problems. It's why you’ll need to have critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Daily Tasks Of Software Developers
If you're thinking about pursuing a career as a software developer, it helps to understand what the typical day in the life of a software developer looks like. The following are some of the tasks that a software developer may be expected to complete every day:
One of the most critical tasks software developers do is to monitor computer equipment. This responsibility includes monitoring the performance of software programs and ensuring that all software updates are installed. Additionally, you may be responsible for monitoring the security of computer systems and networks.
Software developers tend to spend a lot of time debugging software, which means you’ll be constantly identifying and fixing software errors. Debugging can be time-consuming, but it's vital to ensure that software programs are free of errors before being released to the public.
As you can imagine, developers spend most of their time programming software. As such, you will spend a significant part of their day writing code for various software programs and creating new features based on the specifications provided by clients or end-users.
It's why software developers need to have excellent coding skills in different languages, such as Java, Python, HTML/CSS, and C++, to name a few.
Analysis Of Information
Software developers spend quite a bit of time analyzing information to understand the requirements of clients and end-users, and to identify potential problems with software programs. It's why you will need to have strong analytical skills.
Validating procedures is the process of verifying that software programs meet all the requirements specified by clients and end-users. This responsibility requires that you have strong quality control skills.
Consultation With Collaborators
Software developers spend a lot of time consulting with other software engineers and collaborating on software projects. It's why you will need to be able to work well in teams, as well as possess excellent communication skills.
Another task developers are required to perform is data retrieval. Data retrieval includes retrieving software logs and analyzing data.
As a software developer, you will need to recover log files from different software programs using various tools available in most operating systems. This is required because, as a software developer, you are responsible for software troubleshooting and software support.
How Software Developers Manage Their Daily Duties
Like in other professions, as a software developer, you must manage your time well and prioritize tasks effectively. For instance, a time management strategy could involve breaking down a project into smaller tasks in order to make the project more achievable.
Calendars and to-do lists can also be helpful to manage daily duties and keep organized. It's also essential that you are able to set priorities and focus on the tasks that are the most important.
Software developers have a lot of other responsibilities beyond just writing code. For instance, you will need to consult with customers and collaborate with other software engineers on software projects. Moreover, you will need to be aware of and learn about new technologies and frameworks in order to keep up with industry trends.
Additionally, as a software developer, you may need to perform management duties, such as overseeing software development projects and assigning tasks to team members.
When Software Developers Are Most Productive
Software developers are most productive when building features, fixing bugs, and analyzing documentation. After all, these are the tasks that require the most amount of work. They may also be productive during meetings/discussions and when fixing production issues.
However, it's important to note that the actual times at which developers are at their most productive depends on the person. Some software developers may be more productive in the morning, while others may be more productive at night.
Challenges Faced By Specific Types Of Developers
Software developers face different challenges, but these challenges are specific to the area of software development.
For example, front-end software engineers need to work with programming languages such as HTML and CSS. They also have to know how to build websites that look good on any device, including desktops, laptops, and mobile devices.
Meanwhile, back-end software engineers need to write code that can communicate with software programs such as databases and servers. They also have to make sure their software is secure from different types of cyberattacks.
Mobile software developers face unique challenges compared to other types of software developers. They need to ensure their software works well on different mobile devices and is compatible with the various operating systems. Additionally, they need to be familiar with location-based services and understand how to use GPS data in their software applications.
Do You Have What It Takes To Be A Software Developer?
Software development is a challenging and ever-changing field. To be a successful software developer, you need to have both technical and transferable skills. You also need to be able to work collaboratively and be able to adapt to new technologies and frameworks.
Businesses are looking for highly skilled, highly educated software developers with experience in the field. While breaking into the field can be challenging, there's significant demand for such developers. Being a software developer can be a rewarding and worthwhile career to pursue.