Software plays a significant role in shaping the day to day experiences we have in the modern world, and, in turn, software developers shape the software we use. If you're looking for a career that can allow you to make a difference in the way the world works, on-campus and online computer software engineering schools can prepare you to join the designers and developers on the cutting edge.
Here's a quick list of typical responsibilities that software developers are likely to encounter on the job, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):
- Developing and testing software designed to meet the needs of prospective users
- Planning data architecture schemes and lifecycle project management agendas
- Communicating design details to teams of computer programmers and other engineers
- Extensively documenting the aspects of a particular software to create reference materials
Also, check out online schools in software engineering, if you're interested.
What's the average software developer salary?
The BLS reports a mean annual salary of $102,160 for applications software developers and $108,760 for those working on systems software in 2015. Each of those average figures checks in at more than double the year's overall national mean annual salary of $48,320.
Software developer salary expectations can vary based on several factors, including the state where a job is located and the industry in which an individual developer is employed. Here are a pair of tables that use BLS data to show a range of software developer salary figures and employment totals across a few select states:
|State||Mean annual systems software developer salary, 2015||Total active systems software engineering jobs, 2015|
|State||Mean annual applications software developer salary, 2015||Total active applications software engineering jobs, 2015|
Individual metropolitan areas sometimes offered software developers higher salary averages than their states at large. Systems software developers in the San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metro area in California — home to the fabled Silicon Valley — averaged $142,950 in 2015, about $16,000 more than the statewide figure, and applications developers in Honolulu, HI averaged $118,390, nearly $31,500 more than the reported statewide mean for their position in 2015.
What's the best way to prepare for a software development career?
Campus-based and online computer software engineering schools are developing ever more nuanced programs to meet the demands of an evolving technology marketplace, and most employers require at least a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, computer information systems or a similar discipline. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) shows that 92 percent of working applications developers and 94 percent of systems software engineers held at least a bachelor's degree in 2015.
Developers can also earn certifications that demonstrate elevated levels of experience, fluency in specific languages of code or expertise with common development paradigms. Here's a short list of some of the hottest certifications on the market in 2016, according to a survey of job board postings conducted by Purch Group, Inc.:
- Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
- Adobe Certified Expert (ACE)
- Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP)
- Google Apps
Some advanced positions or roles that include project leadership may require a master's degree, usually in computer science, business or IT management. Doctoral study may be necessary for academic or independent research positions.