Working as a software developer

Choosing the right career path – especially as a working mum – is so important. You need to find a role that suits your skills and personality, that fits around your family commitments. Here we explore what it’s like to work as a software developer, how easy it is to find jobs and everything else you need to know.

Laptop with code on the screen and a phone on a desk


What does a software developer do?

Software developers design the computer applications and systems that are essential in today’s digital world. Creating everything from mobile apps to online tools and complex industrial systems, software developers are the technical experts behind the scenes.

In general, software developers will work with their clients to identify challenges that require a digital solution, and then design a programme that delivers against these objectives.. An important part of this is ensuring that the tool looks good, and is easy for the end user to understand and use.

Once designed, the software developer may work with a programmer to write the necessary code and test the design before it is passed to the customer. There may be a few iterations and versions of the new tool before it is finally agreed.

Because of the rapid pace of change in technology, software developers – also known as software engineers – are in great demand.

What qualifications will I need?

Generally software engineers and developers will have a degree in a technology-related subject like computer science, IT or software development. There are also vocational qualifications available.

If you’re looking for a career change and the software developer job description appeals to you, it is also possible to move into the field through training schemes, apprenticeships and graduate programmes.

What kind of person makes a good software engineer?

Software development is essentially about problem-solving, so it will suit anyone who likes to resolve challenges and has a good grasp of technical details.

You will also need to be a good communicator to unearth the details of the challenge to be solved and engage your team to deliver.

As technology is such a rapidly evolving sector you will need to ensure your knowledge and skills stay relevant, so it’s important to enjoy learning and keeping up with the latest digital capabilities.

Finding software developer jobs

There are always plenty of software developer jobs available and you will usually find them in your local area – you won’t have to keep moving around for work. You might work for a large organisation as part of a big technical team, or a smaller, specialist agency that develops software solutions for their clients.

Software developer salaries are very competitive, and even entry-level jobs can pay up to £30,000 per year. Once you have a few years’ experience under your belt – and especially if you work in a specialist area – you can command an annual salary in excess of £70,000.

Flexible working for software developers

Flexible working is increasingly common in software development. Technology means that it is very easy to work remotely, using video conferencing and online tools to collaborate with clients and colleagues.

Part time software developer jobs are also fairly common, with job share and reduced hours available. You will also see opportunities for freelance software developers, seeking support with key projects that require certain skills or an extra pair of hands. If you like the sound of being your own boss, this could be a good option.

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