By Lauren SauserMay 10, 2016

Software Development Jobs: What You'll Do (and How Much You'll Make Doing It)

If you’re going to school to be a coder, you’ve likely already considered what job titles you may one day be adding to your LinkedIn profile. Differentiating between engineering and development titles is important for our graduates when choosing a career and building skills for success.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 19% employment growth for software development skills between 2014 and 2024—much faster than the average for all other skills over the same period of time. And while software developer is often used as a generalized title for each of the specializations included below, building and maintaining software requires a variety of related and highly specialized personnel.

We’ve broken down the taxonomical separation between some of these important characters to demonstrate their simultaneously unique and integral nature.


Jr Software Engineer

Median annual salary: $55K

When a software engineer starts their career, they generally begin as a junior (Jr) software engineer. They will design code for new software, observe and recommend solutions to bugs, recommend and implement changes to existing code, and develop ideas for future software.

Tasks:

  • Work closely with a team and create clear, accurate reports

  • Test, validate, and resolve software issues while maintaining accurate documentation

  • Perform engineering level tests to find defects

  • Assist with research and development

  • Design software systems and applications

  • Custom development, which includes integrating old tools and technologies

  • Conduct regular quality assurance activities such as a peer reviews

Skills:

  • HTML, JavaScript, CSS, and other languages

  • Proficient in Java-based applications or the languages, tools, and frameworks used by the specific company

  • Experience working with a team of engineers

Sr Software Engineer

Median annual salary: $94K

A senior software engineer is capable of taking a high-level (and often vague) technical task and finding the optimal solution for their team. They frequently manage other engineers, and must both be technically proficient and have solid leadership skills.

Tasks:

  • Provide production support while communicating company-wide concerns

  • Write code to create single-threaded or event-driven applications (those which stand alone, or access servers or services)

  • Test and document software for client applications

  • Write, modify, and debug software for client applications

Skills:

  • Knowledge of the full software development life-cycle (SDLC) and architecture skills

  • Master’s degree in computer science, computer programming, or information technology (a statistical minority make it to this position with a bachelor’s degree or certification)

  • Several years of experience in this field are required, as well as the ability to lead

Web Developer

Median annual salary: $56K

Web development includes building the backbone of websites and working with languages like PHP, ASP, Ruby, and Python. Web development is heavy on programming concepts, as well as all concerns of security and structure. Employers often require candidates to have academic experience in computer science, information technology, and programming.

Tasks:

  • Write code to generate web pages and access databases/business logic servers

  • Work with designers and content producers

  • Test and document software for websites

  • Write, modify, and debug software for websites

Skills:

  • Medium skill in database/server work and JavaScript

  • Light skill in HTML

  • Excellent oral, written, presentation, and communication skills

  • Able to work in a team environment

  • Identify users’ and/or clients’ needs and make changes, as required by their clients and/or users

  • Strong consulting skills and problem-solving skills

  • General understanding of relevant hardware

Front-end Developer

Median annual salary: $67K

A front-end developer focuses on HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and light back-end work. They usually manage complex projects that require analyzing design requirements and recommending technical solutions to make projects scalable, maintainable, and efficient. They also debug websites to fix mistakes and ensure error-free code.

Tasks:

  • Document code, including commenting and reporting on features

  • Program in multiple languages to create specified products

  • Interpret requirements and create project plans to meet schedule and quality goals

  • Work across teams to identify and solve problems

Skills:

  • Proficient in using Microsoft Office applications

  • Advanced knowledge in databases and networks

  • Additional certifications such as the SUN, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle developer certifications can provide advantages over other applicants

  • HTML, Node.js, Angular.js, JavaScript, and Bootstrap skills are correlated to pay

  • Experience with Wordpress, web design, and PHP are also recommended

Mobile Applications Developer

Median annual salary: $72K

Mobile applications developers create and develop mobile apps using languages such as Objective C, HTML, JavaScript, XML, and others. They have a strong working knowledge of the different platforms that applications are suited for, including smartphones and tablets. Mobile applications developers design the aesthetic and mechanics of an application.

Tasks:

  • Develop/test mobile application software, often as part of a team

  • Test application many times as a function of debugging

  • Document all processes for future use

Skills:

  • Proficient applications experience with PCs, Macs, and various operating systems

  • Strong foundation in IT programming, including C++, objective-C, wireless networksPHP, MS/SQL, Adobe, Java, HTML, Flash, and cloud storage

  • Skills in Swift, Objective-C, .NET, and Android SDK are correlated to pay that is more than 5% above average

Software Architect

Median annual salary: $116K

Software architects create customized software solutions such as web services, user interfaces, coding programs, and databases—and they are employed primarily by corporations that create software for other businesses. These architects create efficient, satisfactory software solutions for end-users, and are often responsible for creating standard coding practices and programs for other software designers within their own organization.

Tasks:

  • Ensure the cost-efficiency of their software, and stay up to date with the latest developments in their field

  • Administer training manuals and programs to employees to help them grow accustomed to new software

  • Ensure architectural integrity and consistency across product

  • Design new software applications

  • Design new operating system components

Skills:

  • A bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related field is generally required for this position, and some employers may prefer applicants who have a master’s degree

  • Windows, iOS, Linux, and knowledgeable of a wide array of technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, JQuery, C++, .NET, and others


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