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Posted on December 15th, 2020 in Software Development

When it comes to career longevity, it seems like software development is the field that keeps on giving. Even with an influx of young developers entering the professional world at younger ages, the market is expected to grow by up to 22% over the next ten years. Citing the rapidly growing demand for custom software applications by clients both big and small, software developers can expect to earn a median salary of $107,510. These are impressive numbers, and for anyone interested in getting started in a new tech career, software development is an excellent opportunity with seemingly unlimited possibility.

However, with such high rewards come some high risk. Along with the demand of writing custom software, professionals in software development need to keep a vigilant watch over the trending world of engineering and programming to ensure they’re not losing step with the rest of the pack. Let’s look at what software developers do, what kind of skills they need to get hired, and the best routes for learning the craft of code. 

What Is a Software Developer?

On the surface, a software developer’s job is spelled out right there in the name. However, we here at Eleven Fifty know that things in tech are rarely as simple as they seem at first blush. While a software developer does technically work on the planning, writing, testing, and even deployment of software, their area of specialty as well as their employer’s industry will often determine what kinds of programs they’ll be writing. Some developers will build customer-facing desktop applications from the ground up, while others spend days on a code sprint to quickly port a web game to mobile devices. In essence, software developers wear many different hats, although the processes involved are often quite similar.

One important distinction to make is the difference between an Application Software Developers and System Software Developers. These two categories have some similarities to the front-end and back-end web developers we spoke about in our How to Get into Web Development blog. Let’s look at the differences between the two:

  • Application Software Developers create software primarily designed for customers or end-users. The bulk of their work is a combination of creating applications based on the specs of their clients. They’ll work alone or with a few other developers on coding and editing the actual software; they’ll work with designers on visual elements; and finally, they’ll present the demo product to the client for any approval or tweaks.
  • System Software Developers focus on the non-customer facing side of things. Their work covers the programming that is used to help our hardware and software systems run correctly. This work often operates out of enterprise or organizational levels like the military, hospitals, communications, aerospace fields. However, client work will likely be minimal. You may interface with their IT department head, but it’s unlikely that they’ll have many stakeholders involved in a discussion about server architecture unless they have an awfully specific interest in it.

Want to learn more about different Software Development roles in the tech industry? Talk to our Admission Advisors!

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What Software Developer Skills Do I Need?

Technically speaking, the biggest job of a software developer is to learn as much about programming languages as you possibly can. Though it may not be likely for someone just starting out in the professional software development world to have all of these at once, there are some heavy favorites to consider focusing on. Here are some of the most important languages to know as a software developer:

  • Java
  • JavaScript
  • SQL
  • Python 
  • Microsoft C#
  • Oracle 

In addition to these languages, a good idea is to keep up with the various frameworks that are used to create your software. This is true for any software developer, whether they’re on the hunt and changing jobs again, or if they’re building a quiet legacy at the firm they’ve stayed with for 12 years; if you stand around upset about the world changing, you’ll be scrambling to catch up to new practices and the latest going on, as well as being considered less for top work.

  • Node.JS
  • Spring boot
  • React
  • Bootstrap
  • jQuery

Lastly, there are some important soft skills you’ll need to sharpen to become a software developer:

  • Be great at teamwork and collaborative efforts. Often, you’ll be able to lead other developers, designers, and software sales folks to help them understand.
  • Analytics and puzzle solving helps, primarily because code tends to resemble a jumped cryptograph at times.
  • Problem solving ability doesn’t grow on trees. You need to be able to think and act quickly, and not waste time drawing out schemas and flowcharts. Just get in there and see what works!

How to Become a Software Developer from Scratch

If you’re interested in taking on software development as a career, it is essential that you are careful and close attention to any way you to learn. As with all tech options, software developers don’t necessarily need a degree. However, employers are still going to look for software development qualifications and competency in the kind of languages and abilities mentioned above. If you’re interested in getting involved in software development, there are three options for learning these skills: college, online courses, or coding bootcamps.

  • College: This traditional route is going to provide you with great hands-on experience and access to a staff of trusted faculty, all while getting the information in a steady stream by following a standard curriculum schedule. This can easily prepare you for a degree in computer science, but it also could cut out years of potential income streams. Additionally, there’s the cost of tuition, room and board, and books Lastly, this it the timeliest route; if you’re choosing college, you need to be sure you have time.
  • Online courses: Generally, these are subscription-based services, but others are free. Essentially, you’ll get a condensed version of the books you’d buy at bookstores and never sell back, and then you’ll have lessons to take through your computer. This route is cost effective, and also gives you the opportunity to learn on your own schedule. However, without the guidance of educators or access to necessary software and equipment, relying entirely on free or paid courses to learn software development may lead to a poor understanding of key concepts.
  • Bootcamps: This is really where you get the most bang for your buck. These courses use immersive learning techniques to cover huge areas of study, and are usually only about 3-6 months, depending on if they’re part-time or full-time. Additionally, they have a much lower price tag than a four-year college, making it the most timely and affordable option. Plus, you’ll be guided by on-campus faculty, have access to equipment and software, and even benefit from career services that help you find an open job after completing your bootcamp.

When it comes to getting into software development, the most efficient and effective path forward is with a coding bootcamp from Eleven Fifty Academy.  We’re ready to help you get started in your new career, whether you’re a tech vet stepping over from a related field, or someone just starting from scratch. Contact us today to sign up for classes, because spots are filling up!

If you’re wondering if coding is right for you, we encourage you to sign up for our FREE Intro to Coding Course to test it out!

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