Every time you start a program on your computer or click an app to play a game on your smartphone, you're enjoying the fruits of software development. Software developers are the brains behind the computer applications and systems that power our increasingly digital world. The two main subdivisions of the field are systems software and applications software.
Computer applications software engineer jobs involve the design of software at the application level, such as photo editing software on your PC or your banking app on your smartphone. IT systems engineer jobs, on the other hand, focus on systems-level software to power medical, business, military, and other applications. The duties of software developer jobs typically include:
Assessing the needs of users and then designing and testing software to meet them
Developing components of the application or system and determining how they will interact
Maintaining, testing, and updating software as needed to ensure its performance
Designing diagrams to assist programmers in writing software code
Software Developer Job Education Requirements
Most software developer jobs require a bachelor's degree in computer science, software or computer engineering, or a related discipline. Employers in this field tend to prefer applicants whose computer-related degree programs included coursework in software design and computer programming. Some higher-paying positions may require a master's degree in a related field.
Software Developer Job Market
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects employment in software development to grow by 22 percent in coming years, which is twice the national average. Applications software developers will see a growth of 23 percent, while systems software developers will see a growth of 20 percent.
Software Developer Job Salary Information
Currently, systems software developers make slightly more than applications developers, earning a mean annual salary of $106,050 according to the BLS. Applications software developers earn an annual mean salary of $99,530.