Developerayo

Career in Software Engineering

December 12, 20174 min read

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What does a Software Developer do?

Software Engineers writes software. They write the instructions that tell an app what exactly to do. Software Engineers are IT professionals who create such programs that run on various platforms including operating systems, the Internet, Mobile Phone(Android & Apple), Vitual Reality, Augmented Reality, Smart Watches or IOT devices.

Job Titles

In the programming environment typical job titles are: Software Engineer, Application Developer, Systems Analyst, Software Tester, Software Developer, System Analyst and Programmer. There are also variations of these titles such as Senior Software Developer, Software Analyst, etc. However, while you should be aware of these titles, focus more on the actual duties and expectations in a particular organization or programming environment.

To many people in IT, although titles may also vary with your level of experience, application developer, programmer, and software developer all mean the same thing.

Programming Languages

Get into the software Engineering field by learning a programming languages. Programmers can decide to master one or more languages. The best languages? I don’t know about that, but people choose to use certain languages based on familiarity, personal preference or what the environment demands. In terms of market demand, programmers usually prefer languages such as:

  • JavaScript
  • Python
  • Java
  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • C#
  • Swift
  • Objective-C
  • Go
  • C++

In addition the IT industry depends on programmers to create new programming languages and to modify and enhance existing ones.

Nature of Work

Coding in computer language is not all a programmer does. Programmers are involved all aspects of the software development process, also known as the product development cycle. Let’s take a look at each step of the process to get an idea of what the job is like.

User Requirements. What does the user want? Interview and interact with the users to determine their expectations. Don’t assume for the user. What should the program do for them? An understanding of the business need helps. Getting user needs requires good communications and business skills.

Specification. There is a need to write expectations of users into “specifications” that describe the details and functions of the program. It will specify what the program will do.

Design and Develop. The program must be designed to meet the specifications and the design and specifications must be converted to computer code. Coding, writing the program in the chosen programming language based on the specifications, is regarded by many as the core programming skill. Coding must be done with functionality, security, resilience, usability and future maintenance of the software application in mind.

Testing. Completed programs need to be tested for bugs or mistakes. Is the program working to specification? Testing can be done within the programming team. Testing can in addition be done with the users to ensure it meets specification.

Interaction with users enables you to get feedback on the program’s actual performance. And note that insufficient and inadequate testing is a major cause of bad software — software that doesn’t work to specification, software that is ridden with bugs.

Documentation. Write or review documentation for user and system procedures. This is helpful and is a key requirement for future maintenance.

Maintenance. As a programmer, you may need to change an existing program to meet user requirements or to remove bugs. Debugging, tracking errors in a program is in fact a critical programming skill.

Technical assistance. You will get enquiries from users regarding programming errors, problems or questions. Training of users could be part of your duties. Such interaction with users again requires first-class interpersonal and business skills.

Depending on their level of experience and the nature of programming environment, programmers can play any of the roles described above. Newcomers may be only involved in some areas of coding, or software testing.

A lot depends on the programming environment. Software developers at small companies may be involved in all of these areas, while Software developers at large organizations may specialize in particular steps of the development cycle. Senior software people usually do less coding and are more involved in the managing the entire software development process.

Success factors in the programming field

Is programming a science or an art? That is a debate for another day. What I know is that it requires a large dose of creativity and is both interesting and challenging. To succeed in software development you need be very detail-oriented. You must love details. If you don’t love details, you will find debugging stressful and frustrating.

Your mastery of details must be combined with logical thinking and the ability to focus for long periods. How creative are you? Can you see beyond the surface of problems? Programming knowledge is essential for designing software solutions and for problem-solving.

Though the meat of programming is coding, to be a successful programmer you can’t afford to be careless with your business and communications skills. Excellent interpersonal skills assist cooperation and interaction with colleagues and clients. This is essential for understanding a customer’s needs (specifications), providing technical assistance to users and for teamwork.

Most importantly, while the ability to program is key, you must have a positive, can-do attitude to enable you complete programming assignments efficiently and effectively. When things don’t jell as you expect, attitude helps you become resilient and build your backbone.

The ability to manage programming staff and perform project management is key for senior software engineers. At this level organizational and management skills are essential.

Knowledge and Certification As noted earlier, you must learn a programming language — Learning involves practice, proven results and understanding how programming can be used to solve problems. Certification is useful in helping you benchmark your skills. Popular certifications are those for VB, C++ and Java, i.e. Microsoft’s MCSD, Sun’s SCJP.

However, though getting certified can get your foot in the door, certifications alone are not enough to grow your career in the programming field. Your ability to deliver results with a particular language or tool is paramount. Degrees and certifications are nice, but employers and clients are more interested in your proven expertise with the code.

Software Developers Salary

Software Engineers earn a median salary of $2.6m per year. Salaries typically start from #2m and go up to #5.5m. Learn more about the Software Engineer job market for salaries of real jobs in your area. A software engineer’s average salary, #1m, is higher than most other technology occupations.

Thanks for reading! 🔥🚀


Shodipo Ayomide

Articles on Software Engineering by Developerayo. (Developer Advocate & Engineer at VanHack).