Are you looking to start a career in software development? If so, you’ll love today’s article. We cover what software developers do, how much they earn and the things you need to do to start a flourishing career in software engineering.

As the tittle suggests, software developers create software that runs on computer systems. They build software such as operating systems like Windows or MacOS, video games, applications such as Microsoft Office, web apps such as Chrome and so on.

Other than creating software, software developers also test, develop upgrades for existing software, monitor quality and document all work for future reference. It’s a tasking job alright, but if you’re committed, you can build a lucrative and satisfying career in software development.

Lucrative you say? Indeed. According to US News, software developers make a median salary of $103,600 annually. The best-paid 25% of software developers make over $130,000 per year, while the lowest-paid 25% make over $79,000 per annum. That’s good pay compared to many other jobs.

According to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, software development jobs are expected to grow 21% from 2018 to 2028, which is much faster than the average of all occupations. The growth is driven by increased demand for computer software and apps on smartphones and tablets.

In other words, software development is going nowhere in an increasingly digital economy. Many brands are actively looking for software developers to deliver software solutions for a variety of needs.  

That being said, how do you become a software developer in 2020 and beyond?

How to Become a Software Developer

Software development is a fast-paced environment, which means you must keep adapting to changes to remain relevant and boost your job marketability. Here are a few tips to help land a great software development job.

Get the Right Education

While you don’t necessary need formal education to start a career in software development, getting a degree in computer science or software development offers you a firm educational background and increases your chances of landing your dream job.

According to Maryville University, “There’s always something new to learn in the computer software industry. Companies need tech experts who can keep track of the trends — in apps, agile systems, interface design — and use it to their strategic advantage.”

Besides, most employers require at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software development to consider you for employment. You stand a better chance in interviews if you have formal education in software development.

Even if you’re transition from a different profession, it pays to get at least a master’s degree in software development. The right formal education betters your chances of landing a high-paying software development job in whatever vertical you’d like to pursue.

You can learn some more and supplement your studies by taking online courses and certifications. You can learn so much on websites such as Stack Overflow, GitHub, Codecademy and Udemy, among others.

It also pays to hone other skills and competencies such as communication skills, creativity, time management, focus, and creativity.

Gain Relevant Experience

When it comes to software development, the more the experience you have, the better the jobs you get. Experience is the name of the game, and employers are hungry for the crème de la crème within the industry. Experience solidifies your education and skills while preparing you for real world of software engineering.

Earning experience can seem daunting as a beginner but it’s easier than you think. You can start with an internship in an IT firm, where you gain experience working on real projects. Most internships usually precede a paid position within the same organization. The experience you gain will also help you land a job in a different company altogether.

If internships elude you, start some personal projects. Focus on one area of expertise and build your skills and experience in other areas step by step. You don’t have to learn all programming languages at once since that can be daunting, so start with one stack and move on from there.

You can show off your new found software development skills and give back to the community by working pro-bono for a local charity, church or NGO. All these volunteer opportunities can greatly help you to gain the experience you need to shine in your career.

Create a Portfolio

When reviewing your job application, employers will need to see your portfolio to figure out whether you’re suited for the job at hand. Without a good portfolio, you risk losing your dream software development job to the next person.

So, brush up on your resume writing skills and craft a CV that highlights your strengths and how you’ll add value to the company. Best is to hire a professional to create you a resume if you lack the skills or time.

Nowadays, employers will take to the internet to find out if you’re the right candidate for the job. As such, it’s of utmost importance to create an online presence. You can start a blog with tools such as WordPress.org, Wix.com or Squarespace to share your personal projects and details about yourself.

A website is also a great avenue to connect with like-minded people and develop a following. It’s also a great tool to learn other skills that can come in handy as you build a software development career. Take the time to share the things you learn on your blog, and you just might land your first job via your very own website.

Network With Peers

Software development involves working with a lot of different people. Whether you work at an office or from home, you’ll have to collaborate with other developers now and then. For this reason, you need to start building a network as soon as possible.

Start slowly and never make the connection all about yourself. Over time, you will have a strong network of people who become your support system should you need anything. A network is also a great learning tool. Many developers have advanced knowledge, skills and experience, and are willing to mentor and train you along the way.

On top of that, you can land great gigs and jobs from referrals. A network of like-minded people will open doors for you whether you work for the man or freelance. That’s right, over 40% of new hires come from employee referrals, according to the Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey.

Final Words

Starting a career in software development can be a challenging task even for the best of us. However, with the right education, tools and perseverance, you can start today and create a lucrative and satisfying career in software development. All the best!