What’s it all about?
Software Developers are responsible for designing, creating and maintaining systems that meet the company’s needs. They will often work alongside system architects to ensure the software meets the required standards.
As a software engineer, you’ll work in a constantly evolving environment, due to technological advances and the strategic direction of the organisation. You’ll create, maintain, audit and improve systems to meet particular needs, often as advised by a systems analyst or architect, testing both hard and software systems to diagnose and resolve system faults.
The role also covers writing diagnostic programs and designing and writing code for operating systems and software to ensure efficiency. When required, you’ll make recommendations for future developments.
Instead of a software engineer, you may be called a systems/software/database/web programmer, engineer or developer, depending on the system you’re developing. Alternatively, the programming language you use may become part of your title, such as Java or C# developer.
The role can also require you to communicate effectively and translate the needs of different teams into systems developments.
So How Do You Get There?
Although employers prefer to hire people with computing degrees there are graduate schemes available for graduates with non computing based backgrounds. The most important thing to employers is demonstrating good technical skills like Java and C++.
Most employers will expect you have to have a relevant computing qualification or degree, however there are companies that run trainee programmes for those with AS levels.
If you have a degree, but it’s not related to IT, you could apply for a graduate trainee scheme or take a postgraduate conversion course to build up the relevant skills.
Some of the most sought after skills by employers include Java, C++, Smalltalk, Visual Basic, Oracle, Linux and .NET. PHP are also becoming increasingly in demand.
The average annual salary for a software engineer is between £25,000 and £50,000 but this can rise to £70,000 at senior management level
Many of the larger graduate recruiters will only employ graduates with proven technical skills and a good degree (2:1 or above) in a computing-related discipline.
Knowledge of programming skills are a given if you want to get into software development. You’ll need to be comfortable with web-based programs, as well as traditional programs like Java and Visual Basic.
The key skills to play up when you’re looking for a job as a software developer are as follows:
• Expertise in current computer hardware and software
• Knowledge of a development language (C++, PHP, HTML, etc.)
• Excellent communication skills
• Ability to work in a team
• Eye for detail and identifying problems
• An understanding of business
• Analytical and commercial experience
Software developers are needed in a wide range of sectors. They are needed by manufacturing and engineering firms as well as the financial services industry and utilities. Developers will be required by public sector agencies , consultancies, training firms and many more.
Show Me The Money
- Graduate salaries start from £18,000 a year.
- The average annual salary for a software engineer is between £25,000 and £50,000 but this can rise to £70,000 at senior management level.
Income figures are intended as a guide only.