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Software Developer

The role

Software Developers design and create software using the theories of computer science and mathematical analysis.

Software is the name for programmes that tell computers and other electronic devices what to do.

The types of software that a developer might create include computer games, business applications and network control systems.

A Software Developer identifies the needs of a client and then designs the software to meet those requirements, testing and developing the software throughout the project.

Once the piece of software has been finished, and all the technical glitches have been fixed, the Software Developer will then install the final version, test it for bugs, and then oversee it going live.

They will then look at maintaining the system once it’s up and running.

These computer programmes could be created from scratch, or existing programmes could be altered to meet requirements. 

 

How to become a Software Developer

Higher Education is required, either in the form of a degree, foundation degree or BTEC HNC/HND. Subjects taken could include computer science, software development, business information systems, or information technology.

A specific degree tailored towards a career in IT, the Information Technology Management for Business (ITMB) degree, has also been developed by e-skills  and employers in an attempt to address a shortage in business skills within the industry.

For graduates who studied a degree that didn’t relate to IT, they could take a postgraduate conversion course, or apply for a place on a graduate trainee scheme with a larger organisation.

Knowledge of common programming languages such as Java are required, and website www.developer.com has lots of useful information.

In addition to studies, work experience and placements can be helpful.

 

Skills and knowledge required

  • Detailed knowledge of hardware, software and programming languages
  • Knowledge of Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools
  • The ability to think laterally and problem solve
  • Good project management skills
  • Good time management
  • An understanding of client’s needs, and the ability to respect confidentiality
  • Good communication skills and the ability to work as part of a team

 

Income

Starting salaries are usually in the region of £20,000 to £26,000, with experienced developers expecting between £28,000 and £40,000. When management responsibilities are also taken on, salaries can exceed £50,000 a year.

 

The hours

Usually 37-40 hours a week, although overtime and unconventional hours could be required to avoid disruption to a business during the working day. Travelling may also be involved.

 

Useful websites

www.developer.com

www.e-skills.com - e-skills UK

www.sfia.org.uk – Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)

www.iap.org.uk – Institution of Analysts and Programmers

www.imis.org.uk – Institute for the Management of Information Systems

www.bcs.org.uk – British Computer Society

Career and Course Articles: 

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