Software Developer Job Description, Salary, and Skills

software developer
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Are you interested in a career as a software developer? Here's the information you'll need to get hired, including a job description, education requirements, desired skills, job outlook, and salary information. 

Software Developer Job Description

Software developers are the creative minds behind software programs. They create software that allows users to perform specific tasks on various devices, such as computers or mobile devices. They are responsible for the entire development, testing, and maintenance process of software programs.

With multiple sectors and providers competing for the business of end users, the software world has become highly competitive. Software developers are highly sought after to help companies maintain a competitive edge. Software developers must have a clear understanding of industry best practices and knowledge of emerging software trends.  

Software developers work in a wide range of industries - all the way from software publishers, to gaming companies, to the government. However, with the explosion of mobile applications (apps), there is now a large market of independent software developers.

Education and Training

Software developers typically have a bachelor's degree in computer science and a strong programming skill set. It is recommended that students studying computer science focus on classes related to building software. Internships are highly recommended as they provide insight into the various programming languages and industries. 

Software Developer Skills

Here's a list of Software Developer skills for resumes, cover letters, job applications and interviews. Required skills will vary based on the job for which you're applying, so also review our list of skills listed by job and type of skill.

A - G

  • Ability to Work Independently and Within Groups
  • Analyze User Needs
  • Analytical Thinking
  • Android Programming Experience
  • Background in Programming or Computer Science/Engineering
  • Build Business Logic of Software
  • C# and .NET Programming Experience
  • C++ Programming Experience
  • Comfortable Writing and Analyzing SQL Queries 
  • Create Complex Databases for Organizations 
  • Create Flow Charts
  • Critical Thinking
  • Design, Test, and Develop Software to Meet User Needs
  • Develop Software Applications
  • Develop Software From Scratch 
  • Document Application Process for Future Maintenance and Upgrades
  • Ensure Software Functions Normally Through Software Maintenance and Testing
  • Estimate Project Cost
  • Estimate Scope of Project
  • Execute Test Plans
  • Experience Creating SQL Queries
  • Experience With Git and Github 

H - M

  • Hands-On Software Troubleshooting Experience
  • iOS Programming Experience
  • Java and Java Framework Experience
  • JavaScript Programming Experience
  • Keen Attention to Detail
  • Knowledge of Backend Development Best Practices
  • Maintain User Manuals and Training Materials
  • Manage Project Build Lifecycle 
  • Monitor Software Performance Tests

N - S

  • Provide Input to Improve Business Processes
  • Provide Reports as Necessary
  • Ruby on Rails Framework Experience 
  • Recommend Software Upgrades
  • Research and Consult About Potential Software and/or System Changes
  • Revise Programs for Corrections, Enhancements, or Environment Changes
  • Share Knowledge and Expertise with Fellow Team Members
  • Solid Understanding of Company’s Needs
  • Source Control Management Experience
  • Strong Problem Solver
  • Strong Oral and Written Communication

T - Z

  • Thorough Understanding of Data Structures and Algorithms  
  • Understand Software Design Patterns
  • User Interface / User Experience
  • Write and Maintain Software
  • Working Knowledge of XML and Web Services

Software Developer Salaries

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developers with a focus on systems software earned an average of $106,860 in 2016. The bottom 10% of these developers earned an average of $64,650, while the top 10% earned in excess of $163,220.

Software developers in the applications arena earned an average of $100,080. The bottom %10 of these developers earned $58,300 while the top 10% earned in excess of $157,590.

Employment Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. Employment of applications developers is projected to grow 31 percent, and employment of systems developers is projected to grow 11 percent.  Growth in opportunities for software developers is driven by increased consumer and corporate demand for computer software and the proliferation of downloadable applications for mobile devices.

Quick Facts: Software Developer (Occupational Outlook Handbook) | Software Developer Resume Example