Software developers invent the technologies we sometimes take for granted. For instance, that app that rings, sings or buzzes you out of a deep sleep every morning? A software developer helped design that. And when you roll into the office and turn on your computer, clicking and scrolling through social media, music and your personal calendar – software developers had a big hand in shaping those, too.
You might spend your lunch shopping, and before you make that big purchase, you check your bank account balance using your phone. Later, you’re cooking a new recipe from that great app your friend told you about. As you look over the course of your day, you come to see that software developers are the masterminds behind the technologies you now can’t imagine living without.
The best software developers are creative and have the technical expertise to carry out innovative ideas. You might expect software developers to sit at their desks designing programs all day – and they do, but their job involves many more responsibilities. They could spend their days working on a client project from scratch and writing new code. But they could also be tasked with maintaining or improving the code for programs that are already up and running.
Software developers also check for bugs in software. And although the job does involve extreme concentration and chunks of uninterrupted time, software developers have to collaborate with others, including fellow developers, managers or clients. Developers are often natural problem solvers who possess strong analytical skills and the ability to think outside the box.
Software developers are employed in a range of industries, including computer systems design, manufacturing and finance. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 25.6 percent employment growth for software developers between 2018 and 2028. In that period, an estimated 241,500 jobs should open up.
8Work Life Balance
Software Developers made a median salary of $103,620 in 2018. The best-paid 25 percent made $130,460 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $79,340.
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You can take several different paths to build a career in software development. Here’s how many developers get started:
1. Earn your bachelor’s degree. Software developers often pursue a degree in computer science, where they’ll study computers and programming.
2. Gain hands-on experience. Employers are often drawn to applicants with practical experience. Many students complete an internship or seek out experience beyond the classroom to prepare themselves for a career in software development.
3. Pursue a master’s degree. Though not required, some employers prefer developers with an advanced degree.
“It’s super important to understand CS fundamentals like big O notation, common algorithms, standard languages and technical approaches. You can learn this from school or from apprenticeship, but you need to learn it somehow,” Sam Schillace writes in an email. Schillace is the vice president of engineering for industry solutions at Google. Before that, he co-founded Writely, which he later sold to Google, where it was used to create Google Docs.
So, yes, a bachelor’s degree in computer science is a good idea, but a degree alone won’t help you snag that dream job. “We look at track records as much as school – someone from a great school with no outside coding projects or interesting technical accomplishments is definitely less interesting, and someone who is a rock star coder with no degree but a huge list of achievements would be an easy hire,” Schillace explains.
Average Americans work well into their 60s, so workers might as well have a job that’s enjoyable and a career that’s fulfilling. A job with a low stress level, good work-life balance and solid prospects to improve, get promoted and earn a higher salary would make many employees happy. Here’s how Software Developers job satisfaction is rated in terms of upward mobility, stress level and flexibility.
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