Software applications exist for just about every business function that you can imagine. Software developers and engineers design software to solve specific problems, streamline business processes or improve computer users overall application experience. However, software can only function when it's powered by what is known as a coding language. In fact, code itself is the building block of all computer software and digital applications. This is where skilled engineers come in. If you are an exceptional problem-solver with a good eye for coding languages, you might want to learn how to become a software developer.
Getting a job as a software developer will take some time and effort but it is well worth the effort. You will enter a rewarding career with good pay and a lot of room for advancement. Want to know how you can become a software developer? Keep reading so that you can learn what education and skills you will need as well as tips to help you get hired.
What Is A Software Engineer?
What Does A Programmer Do?
When software developers create program designs, it takes the right coding to bring software and computer programs to life. That's where skilled programmers come in. They write and test codes that computer applications rely on to function properly. They also test prototype computer applications to ensure that they work without any errors.
Other common computer programming tasks and duties include:
- Scanning codes for errors and making corrections where needed.
- Updating and expanding existing computer programs.
- Simplifying code writing by using code libraries.
- Creating and testing code in an integrated development environment.
- Utilizing software as a service (SaaS) in order to write code across operating systems.
Most engineers work for computer system design and related services. Some work directly for software publishers, financial and insurance firms or manufacturing companies while others are self-employed. Engineers often work alone but may collaborate with specialists on large scale projects. Since coding can be done anywhere, many computer programmers work remotely.
Want to find out what skills and qualities employers look for in software engineers? Read the job description sample below.
How to Become a Software Developer
Before you get hired, employers want to see that you have demonstrable programming skills. The path to becoming a software developer requires a college education and knowledge of specific coding languages. Below is an outline of the best ways to gain the skills and credentials that you need.
Programmers typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, information technology or a related field. There are tons of Engineering degrees available that can help you jumpstart your career. Not all computer programming jobs require a bachelor's degree, however. Some employers hire candidates with an associate degree. Some of the courses you'll likely take include:
- Mathematics, calculus, statistics or matrix algebra.
- Software design and infrastructure.
- Java programming.
- Coding languages like C++ and Python.
Internships are a great, hands-on way to learn how to become a software engineer. If you are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program, be sure to consult with your college administrators in order to find out if any internship opportunities are available.
Software Engineering Requirements For Certification
Having a certification in software engineering isn't always required, but some employers only hire candidates who are certified in the products they use. Getting a certificate in a specific coding language helps boost your employability.
Tons of colleges offer certificates for computer programmers. You can also get certified in specific coding languages such as Java EE and Web Services or as a C++ Certified Associate Programmer. The Python Institute offers three levels of Python programmer certification: entry-level, associate and professional. As you progress in your career, it also helps to take continuing education courses in computer programming and attend seminars to stay up to date with any changes within the industry.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Computer Programmer?
A bachelor's degree with significant coursework in computer programming typically takes four years to complete. Completing a certificate program can take months, depending on the pace you work at and your ability to pass the required exams. Internship durations can vary but if you are taking one, expect to add on a few more months.
How Much Do Computer Programmers Make?
The median computer programmer salary is $81,583 per year. Keep in mind that your salary can range from $35,315 to $115,402 depending on factors such as your background, experience and certifications.
How to Find Related Jobs
Now that you know how to become a software developer, what's next? How about preparing your resume appropriately? It is also important to have a cover letter ready when you apply. Also, if you have the skills particular employers are looking for, make them stand out in your resume and cover letter. Be sure to emphasize your:
- Strong analytical skills.
- Ability to concentrate.
- Keen eye for small details.
- Excellent troubleshooting skills.
Want to know where computer programmers are in high demand? Try looking for jobs in these five states:
Top five states:
- New York
You can also seek relevant positions in these U.S. metro areas:
- New York City
- Washington D.C.
- Los Angeles