Everywhere we look, we see technology being used. For example, we carry a phone, smartwatch, and earphones – portable technology that is here to stay. And each comes with its own software.

Software is defined as a program that does a particular function for the device it is hosted on. For example, there are several different types of software working together or independently on a mobile phone.

If you want to become part of this world and are looking for software developer careers, you have two options: become an employee or a freelancer.

With the first option, you would have to work with the company's products, learn how they work, and then stick to only that organization's products.

In contrast, if you become an independent contractor, you have the luxury of picking what projects you want to work on. You negotiate your rate and are responsible for getting the job done from start to finish.

However, before you get here, you need to learn the tools of the trade – of which there are many. Read on as we discuss what you should consider before applying to jobs in software development:

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Primary Responsibilities Of A Software Engineer

The operating system is software that runs the entire device. Without it, the phone would be a bunch of finely engineered parts that do nothing.

Moreover, the people who create this software are known as software developers. It is their job to build the software from the ground up. After that, they will:

  • Write the code
  • Test the code
  • Launch the final product

And if some issue pops up, software developers will be tasked with troubleshooting and resuming service.

Writing and testing code can be tedious; switch up your setup to make yourself as comfortable as possible
Coding is a task that requires a lot of time and patience. Many little details need to be taken care of so that the software doesn't have any bugs. Therefore, having a quiet, comfortable, and peaceful atmosphere is a prerequisite to high-strung jobs in software development (Source: Unsplash)

Software Developer Versus Software Engineer: The Differences

  • Developing software can be done individually; software engineering requires teamwork
  • A software developer builds the software from the ground up; software engineers design the tools used to create this software
  • Developers write the code for the software; engineers work with everything else, i.e., hardware
  • Developers work at a smaller scale, i.e., on a project that is assigned. However, engineers have a lot to do and usually have several different tasks they're responsible for
  • An engineer must be able to do everything a developer does because their job involves a lot more. But, on the other hand, a developer must do as much as is asked of them, e.g., they need only worry about the project they are working on
  • If something goes wrong with their computer's hardware, an engineer will help them and test the system later

Learning The Basics

To start your journey as a software developer, you need to get a degree in software development. This needs to be from a recognized institution.

If you are unable to get a degree, there are several training programs for software development. These programs teach you all that you need to know when it comes to software development. You may even do these after you've completed a degree.

Most organizations ask that you have a degree because it shows that you have completed a thorough study of all things related to software development.

When you complete a degree, you are taught different programming languages from scratch. You are put in other situations where your skills are tested, and progress is assessed.

Getting Experience

When you search for jobs in your field, you will always see employers asking for experience – it gives you an edge unlike any other.

Whether you've studied from or what course you've done, you won't provide any value if you don't know how to apply it in the real world.

If someone has done their masters in software development, the chances are that they have already started working. So by the time they graduate, they have the experience that they need.

You might get a job without experience, but it won't pay too well in the beginning. After that, you will have to put in the effort to climb the ranks.

This will happen, either way, so you should get started as soon as you can. Do it while you have the energy to manage multiple things simultaneously, i.e., around the time you are in college.

Depending on where you work, the remuneration for your job can vary. For example, software development in New York might pay differently compared to software development in California.

In New York, the salary is around $109,000 a year. In California, the wage is about $120,000.

Working in a team can make even the most complex tasks simpler
There is always strength in numbers. When working as a software developer, it helps if you collaborate with other developers. Not only does it divide the workload, but it also enables you to learn something from them. Training programs for software development do stress this aspect (Source: Unsplash)
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Making the Job Easier For Yourself

Software development careers can be demanding. Unfortunately, jobs in software development are no piece of cake, and many things need to be taken care of when doing them.

One error in a line of code that might go unnoticed could cause the entire model not to respond as it needs to. You will need to keep an eye out for this, but there are other ways to simplify the process for yourself.

Job Schedulers

There is a lot of testing in software development, which can be tedious and time-consuming.

Hence, if you are a developer who uses UNIX, you will have cron jobs at your disposal. The cron utility allows you to schedule different actions so they can happen automatically.

Using cron jobs in your software development, you can schedule different jobs to run at set times, dates, and intervals – based on what is required.

Testing Automation

When a team of software developers is working on a program, the chances of at least one of them doing something wrong goes up. When this happens, combing through hundreds of lines of code can be draining.

This can delay the delivery of tasks which is always something that teams try to avoid.

To save time, developers can use JUnit for Java or the unnittest library for Python. Using these tools, you can run tests on the code without actually doing it yourself.

You can schedule when a test needs to be done, and the tool will do it for you – saving you precious time and even money.

Coding is not operating system biased. You can code on a vast majority of operating systems on the market
Certain languages require specific operating systems to run. However, all major operating systems have languages that can be written on them, making coding easier for people of all preferences. (Source: Unsplash)

Things That Are Important To Know As A Software Developer

The job requires a degree, skills, and experience, for starters. However, that's not it; here are some more prerequisites to adopt before jumping into software developer careers:

  • Know how to be able to write clean and easily-to-maintain code
  • Adequate knowledge of web development programs and essential frameworks such as JavaScript, AngularJS, jQuery, and ReactJS
  • You must know how from-end development using a variety of tools, workflows, and programs
  • You must know how to develop highly responsive web designs
  • Know about cross-browser compatibility
  • Be familiar with test-driven development and other agile development practices.
  • Know how to collaborate and communicate as a team
  • Be able always to maintain incredible attention to detail
  • Have a certain level of creative thinking in case an unfamiliar situation might arise

Common Problems That Software Developers Face

As is the case with any job, software developers also tend to run into different roadblocks when on the job:

  • Not knowing exactly what the client once; usually due to poor instructions from the client
  • Running and maintaining a software system is not the most straightforward job
  • At times, you are made to work with different models that aren't compatible, making the job a lot more complex than it needs to be
  • In low-cost jobs, there is almost always a compromise in quality. Unfortunately, people don't pay enough for the service they demand, so the developer does not put in as much effort as they should

Ways To Improve Your Overall Development Experience

There are ways in which you can improve a job that can sometimes take a toll on you:

  • Keep uniformity across the team to ensure that everyone is on the same page about the project
  • Understand that proper coding right from the get-go can positively impact that overall business
  • Make sure you have clear and defined goals when it comes to your coding
  • Always test your code. Once done, try it again to make sure everything is in place
  • When you sit to code, strategize how you will do it
  • For efficiency, set realistic budget and time estimates

Becoming A Software Developer In The USA

With a vast majority of all tech giants in North America – like Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Oracle, and Amazon – there will always be job opportunities for software developers in the US.

Software development in California is particularly a popular career option. With the brains in Silicon Valley and consumers in Los Angeles, it is a great place to pursue this career.

Add to this the rapidly evolving technological landscape across the globe; jobs in the IT industry are coming in thick and fast.

So if you are wondering about whether or not it is a good career path – rest assured, it is. However, you will have to work hard to get a job in the industry.

There are many things you need to learn, some of which are not easy at all.  And if you're not sure where to start, visit Superprof to get your software developer journey started.

Superprof connects teachers and students from all over the world for online or in-person classes. So if you want to learn software development in New York City or Atlanta, Superprof will find you a tutor.

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Ian