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How to Become a Software Developer

How to Become a Software Developer

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Software Developer: A Quick Look
Median Salary $93,350 per year $44.88 per hour
Entry-level Education Bachelor’s degree
On-the-job training None
Primary employers Hospitals, Clinics, Doctor’s offices, Homes, Schools
Number of positions (U.S.) 1,018,000
Job Growth (2012-2022) 22% (Incredibly faster than the average)
New positions (2012-2022) 222,600

How to Become a Software DeveloperSoftware Developer Job Description

Software developer job description focuses on designing, creating or just generally improving computer programs. They also tend to handle general IT troubleshooting, although a proper IT team would be the more suitable for this type of work. To learn about the position, click here.

Software Developer Salary

According to the most recent data from the BLS (May 2012), the median Software Developer salary is roughly $93,350 per year. This rate equates to $44.88 per hour on average. Several factors influence this average software developer salary. These factors include the geographical area (some state governments/city governments/employers are wealthier and can afford to pay their employees more than others), job experience, and the industry in which a software developer is employed. Read more

How to Become a Software Developer

Would you like to learn how to become a Software Developer? More than likely, you must hold a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. Most software developers have a Bachelor’s in computer science. Candidates must possess strong computer programming skills in programming languages such as PHP, Java, C#, SQL, .NET or ASP.NET. Read more here.


Software Developer Job Outlook

The software developer job outlook looks incredibly bright at the moment. Not only are the software developer jobs not going anywhere in the next decade or so. The BLS predicts a consistent job growth for this profession (and similar careers). Software developer jobs should grow by 22% between 2012 through 2022. Read more

Software Developer Salary

The median software developer salary currently resides at $93,350 per year per the latest report from the BLS (or Bureau of Labor Statistics). That rate equates to $44.88 per hour. Median salary isn’t the same as an average salary; median means that 50% of all employed software developers made more than the aforementioned sum and the other 50% made a bit less. We should note that the median software developer salary working on applications is $90,060. The lowest 10% of all application software developers earned less than $55,190, while the top 10% earned more than $138,880. At the opposite end, the median software developer salary for a systems developer resides around $99,000. To give you a more precise idea of the earnings scale in this career choice, we should note that the lowest 10% of all systems developers earn less than $62,800 while the top in this niche earn more than $148,850. Several factors can influence the earnings of a software developer salary besides their choice of niche (applications software or systems software). These factors include the geographical area the developer works in (some states, cities, and regional employers earn higher revenues and can afford to pay their employees more than others), professional experience in the field (entry-level employees earn less than upper levels of this field), and also the industry in which a software developer works. To illustrate, let’s examine the median in the top four industries which employ the main types of developers:

Applications software developer salary by industry:

  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing: median of $97,960
  • Software publishers: median of $96,920
  • Finance and insurance: median of $91,970
  • Computer systems design and related services: median of $88,500

Systems software developer salary by industry:

  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing: median of $105,030
  • Finance and insurance: median of $99,940
  • Software publishers: median of $99,750
  • Computer systems design and related services: median of $98,500

How to Become a Software Developer

If you wish to learn how to become a software developer, we must first examine the typical path of education. To become a developer, you almost always must possess a bachelor’s degree (or certification) in one of the following degrees: computer science, software engineering, or any related field. Most of the employed software developers graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in computer science. If you wish to break into this field, keep this in mind. All candidates must possess strong computer programming skills in programming languages such as PHP, Java, C#, SQL, .NET or ASP.NET. The best way of proving this necessary computer programming background fresh out of school is by accumulating some experience even before graduation. Many aspiring software developers complete an internship program as a junior software developer or the assistant of one while they are still in school (in the Bachelor program). Individual projects and programming initiatives (gathered in a portfolio) are also a strong asset in order to prove the required skills before applying to a software developer position. Even though the aforementioned bachelor degrees are mandatory, a master’s degree won't hurt either. Some employers may even require one for certain software developer positions. The top choices are in the same fields as the bachelor’s programs was completed (computer science or software engineering). An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is also encountered pretty frequently, especially in the cases of software developers who aim to transition to IT managers after a few years of work experience. So there you have it. The best ways as to how to become a software developer.  

Software Developer Job Description

Just as the name suggests, the software developer job description are the people who design, create or improve computer programs. They also tend to serve the person people ask computer-related advice or general IT troubleshooting. Although, a proper IT manager would be more suitable for this need. Generally speaking, software developers are usually younger and have less education than IT managers. At most, developers only stay in this position for 20 years before moving up to a management position. In terms of comparison between a developer to a computer programmer, things seem a bit more complicated. Many times, the software developer job description even overlaps within an employer that hires both. Both positions only require a bachelor’s degree at the entry-level. One might conclude that these professionals become equally educated before entering the workforce. Still, a software developer makes (on average) around $7 more per hour than a computer programmer. A software developer’s position requires all applicants know how to use several programming languages and at a higher level than an average computer programmer. Two main types of software developers exist in our current job market. These types vary based on the products being designed: applications software developers and systems software developers. Employers typically rank the latter higher than the former. Most employers pay systems software developers a bit more (we'll get to that later). A systems software developer job description also includes more complex tasks and greater responsibility. Both types of professionals are expected to move up to a position of IT project manager (or IT manager) before hitting their 20 years of experience benchmark. The software developer job is, in most cases, a mid-career path.  

Software Developer Job Outlook

Things are looking incredibly bright for the software developer job outlook over the next decade or so. Not only are software developer jobs here to stay for this coming decade, but the BLS predicted a consistent job growth for the profession. Software developer jobs should grow by 22% between 2012 through 2022. This rate is faster than the national average for all other occupations (a mere 7%). In fact, the software developer job outlook makes it one of the fastest expanding professions in the current job market. The employment of applications software developers in particular should grow by 23% and systems software developer by 20% (which is still faster than the national average). This is probably not really a surprise if you consider the fact that the world is becoming more and more digitalized. Computer technology plays an increasingly more significant role in the business world no matter the field. There will be a greater need for new software to sustain this growth. The IT world will also be confronted with more and more security threats both in the public and private sector. To these security threats, Software Developers will work in conjunction with Information Security Analysts. Many experts believe that an increase will take place in the number of products which require the use of software (from obvious smart gadgets to more subtle products such as food products). This will create more job opportunities for software developers. The numeric growth predicted by the BLS for all software developer jobs is 222,600, which means that many new jobs will be created for this profession between 2012 and 2022. Since the total number of employed software developers was 1,018,000 in 2012, this means that in 2022, we can expect there will be a total number of 1,240,600 employed software developers. All in all, things are looking good for software developers, both for the current median salaries and for what’s expected in the near future. The profession will become more and more sought after by various employers, and the number of aspiring software developers probably isn’t going to double itself overnight, considering how challenging the requires skills are for most people. But for high school students who are good at math and have a penchant for computers, the bachelor program in computer science is and will remain a great place to get started on a highly rewarding career path. *All the numeric data in this article was provided by the federal BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics),

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