Man draws on a screen

What is a Software Developer?

Software developers handle the design aspects for the creation and refinement of computer applications and systems. Much like an architect would draw blueprints for a team of engineers to build, software developers analyze the needs of their user pool, be that a small business or millions of smartphone users, and design software that betters the experience of their users. Developers work closely with the programmers who write the code that makes the software work, and are themselves competent programmers when they need to be.


Becoming a software developer requires at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering. In addition to the programming experience gained in school, some additional knowledge of whichever industry they go into may be necessary. Almost every type of business now uses computers, so developers may produce software for schools, businesses, smartphones, and other fields. Once you have the necessary credentials, you can look to software development as an entry level position, or work first as a programmer and advance into the position.

Economy and Demand

Due to increasing demand from new mobile technology, the healthcare industry, computer security, and a slowly modernizing government, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 22% increase in employment for software developers between 2012 and 2022. In 2012, the Bureau reported a median annual income of $99,000. The highest paying industries for software designers were in computer and electronic product manufacturing, software publishers, finance, and insurance. You don't have to wait for the job market to expand, however; there already is a huge demand for new developers.

Work Environment

Software developers typically work long hours in an office environment, though some keep in contact with their teams through electronic methods. Software development is generally a team-oriented process that the developer supervises. In some publishers, a software developer will also write code for their project, but the core skills that you need to apply every day as a developer are your analytical and communication skills to decide which designs will work best in the free market and which will best coordinate your team. Software development requires patience and a meticulous eye for detail, and because the field is always advancing, an ability to adapt to new programming languages and operating systems.

Last Updated: June 24, 2015