how to become a software developer

How to Become a Software Developer

Updated By Staff Writer on May 7, 2020

Earning a software developer degree is a good choice when it comes to considering a career. Software developers cover a wide scope of areas such as mobile applications, networking, data security, design and development, testing the software, and eventually releasing the finished product. Becoming a software developer means you could end up creating internet applications, software platforms, or even developing video games. With so many career possibilities, a software developer degree is a solid route to take.

Getting Started

The first step to becoming a software developer is to get an education. Some areas of focus can be taught during bootcamps, typically eight to twelve weeks of intensive training and studying, usually about a singular topic. Going into a degree program offers a more thorough education with in-depth lessons over a longer period of time. Both are a good option to learn the various aspects of software development; it depends on what areas you want to cover and how long you want to spend getting an education.

Degrees and certifications can set you apart from those who haven’t earned them. It showcases both your skills and your willingness to work hard. You can even supplement degrees with certifications, and vice versa.

Learn a Programming Language

As you look toward becoming a programmer, something to look for is a specific programming language to learn. There are many to choose from—Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, C++, and many others. Research which languages are preferred for the type of programming you want to do, and build your knowledge of those languages. Knowing additional languages can also help broaden your appeal to potential employers.

Don’t Forget Your Math

When it comes to building algorithms for software, you’ll need to have a good understanding of calculus and statistics. These two branches of math are those most commonly used when developing software, so it’s a good idea to maintain and develop your understanding of them. Degree programs will usually cover some form of math, while bootcamps may favor drilling into programming languages. Always check to see what, if any, math you’ll be covering and if you need to find some supplemental courses for yourself.

Getting Your First Job


After getting an education, it’s important to continue to practice your programming languages so that your skills stay sharp and you reduce the number of errors you might make. Internships are a great idea to help you get into a software development career. Internships give you a lot of practice for your future career and allow you to hone your skills.

Conferences, Events, and Forums

Another way to secure an entry-level position is to network with friends and associates. A lot of job hunting isn’t what you know, but who you know. Many bootcamps or college programs have connections to certain businesses or companies, so make sure you leverage those as much as possible. Stay in touch with classmates as well since they could be great references to use for job hunting.

Keep an eye out for conferences and conventions. Attend these events and make connections while you’re there. Attending professional events can make the difference in getting that first job or even helping you out later in your career. Also try online platforms and forums to talk with other programmers and developers, and offer your help where you can. The right connections can get you where you want to go.

Build Your Own Software

Something you can do to really showcase your talents is by creating your own software. Developing your own software allows you to practice, and at the end you have something you can show to potential employers. Remember to take notes on how and why you built it, as well as some of the problems you solved on the way to the finished product. Even if the software isn’t something groundbreaking, your work ethic and problem-solving skills are what your employers are looking for.

Be Realistic with Your Expectations

While you may have grand ideas for working at your dream company the moment you graduate college or complete your bootcamp, you may need to work your way into that dream job. Start your job hunt locally, as getting experience is invaluable if you want to advance your career or ask for a raise. Many of the big corporations you might want to work for typically require some prior experience since they work on such a large scale.

When you’re ready to move onto another job or take the leap and apply for your dream job, make sure you update your resume and showcase your successes and skills. Keep track of problems you solved, progress you made, and other ways that show you are an asset to any corporation. Bring the best examples of your work to show that you can back up your words.

What Software Developers Get Paid

A frequent question asked when people consider a new career path is what does that future role pay?

U.S. News reports that the median pay for software developers is $103,620 annually, and that the highest paid 25% of software developers make in the area of $130,000. It’s also anticipated that the field for software developers will grow by around 26% by 2028.


Software applications development is a growing field with lots of job opportunities in a large variety of industries. One of the benefits of choosing this career path is that the possibility of your getting a job quickly is high. It’s a career that requires commitment and passion; and with hard work, you can achieve your goals of getting an education and a job as a software developer.

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