Most people use electronic devices like phones, tablets, and computers without appreciating the infrastructure that powers them. While these devices may seem to run on magic, they don’t—they run on millions of lines of code.
If you’re someone interested in learning about what goes on behind the scenes in electronic devices, you might want to consider a career as a software developer.
Besides being a fascinating field to work in, software development is also lucrative. In 2019, the median salary was $107,510.
To help you understand how to become a developer, we’ve put together this guide. By the time you finish reading it, you’ll know exactly what it takes to make it into the world of software development.
Read on to learn all about how to become a freelance developer and why it’s a great career choice.
What Does a Developer Do?
The next time you play a computer game, open an app on your phone, or launch the program you use to track your budget, take a moment to appreciate software developers. They created all of that!
Software developers work as creative masterminds. They design and build the programs and systems that we use every day.
Applications software developers are professionals that build the programs and apps we run on our devices. This includes everything from Spotify to Microsoft Excel.
On the other hand, systems software developers are professionals who design operating systems and network distribution software. This can be anything from a computing program to the autopilot system on an airplane.
What Skills Do You Need?
While working as a developer is a fascinating career, it’s not for everybody. If you’re thinking about entering the field, there are a few skills that you should have. These include:
Coding and Programming
Of course, to get a job in the field, you’ll need to have excellent coding and programming skills.
While you can learn these in a formal setting, you can also learn them at home on your own. There are tons of great courses you can take that can give provide you with programming certificates.
As a developer, you need to be ready to think outside the box. Running programs and reading through lines of code requires you to identify and resolve problems.
Make sure that you’re someone who enjoys problem-solving and getting to the bottom of an issue.
While you might think of software developers as solitary workers who run lines of code late into the night, the truth is that they often have to collaborate with others. They work alongside analysts, project managers, and clients, among other professionals.
If you’re interested in becoming a developer, make sure that you’re comfortable working with others.
Top Languages to Learn
Experts are always debating about which programming languages are the best ones to learn. While these do tend to change with time, the following are all great ones to learn right now.
Python is one of the most common programming languages, and it’s also one of the easiest to pick up. Professionals from different backgrounds like data mining, machine learning, and scientific computing all rely on Python.
Most people have installed a Java update on their computers before. This language runs on billions of devices, and millions of software developers know how to use it.
How Much Do Developers Get Paid?
As mentioned, software developers can expect a high salary once they land a job. This helps make up for the years of study and practice needed beforehand.
Developers that are just starting out often make around $80,000, while those with higher-paying positions or years of experience often make closer to $130,000.
The salaries of different developers also differ from one another:
- QA developer: $105,000
- Full-stack developer: $112,000
- Mobile developer: $120,000
While software developers in the United States enjoy high salaries, many developers across the world don’t make as much. The worldwide salary is much lower than the national one at around $55,000.
Large cities like San Francisco, San Jose, New York City, and Seattle are some of the highest paying regions to work in. They also offer the highest number of developer jobs.
Questions to Expect in Interviews
Once you have the training and the experience, you’ll have to start applying for jobs. Knowing a bit about the questions before the interview can help you better prepare for it, and hopefully, land a job.
Here are a few of the most popular interview questions/points of discussion:
- Tell me about the types of development you’ve recently worked on
- Tell me about a tough project and how you managed to solve it
- Talk about a development methodology you know a lot about
- Describe the QA process at your current company
- Explain how you identify and find bugs
- Talk about the types of developer training you’ve underwent
- Explain where you see yourself in five years
Make sure to have answers prepared to these sorts of questions before the interview starts. And remember—it’s always a good idea to ask the interviewer questions as well!
The Benefits of Working as a Software Developer
While working as a software developer can be stressful, most professionals wouldn’t trade their job or experience for anything. That’s because of all the benefits that being a developer provides you.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits.
1. A Job That Forces You To Think
Too many modern workers find themselves in roles that leave them feeling unfulfilled. More and more people want to work in careers that challenge them and keep them on their toes. Working as a software engineer allows you to do that.
As a developer, your job revolves around being creative and solving problems that nobody else can solve. You’ll need to provide quick and short answers to issues that arise, as well as complete overhauls to more complex problems.
You also get the chance to build off of work that people have already done. Working as a software engineer forces you to look at what’s in front of you, figure out how it can be improved, and get to work bettering it.
All of that creates a job that people find to be challenging yet incredibly rewarding.
The nature of the tasks that software developers work on is another reason why so many people enjoy the career. If you’re a fan of project-based work, you’ll enjoy being a software developer.
Projects range in size from ones you can complete in a matter of minutes to ones that take you weeks to complete. This means that you’ll always be chipping away at something, so make sure you’re comfortable with that.
Project-based work gives your day a level of structure that many other career paths lack. They also provide you with a huge amount of variety—the skills that you use on one project might not apply in any way to the next one.
Regardless of what a specific task has you doing, completing it is always a rewarding feeling. It’s also a way to ensure that your developer skills are sharp and up to par.
3. An Ever-Evolving Field
Are you someone who doesn’t want to work in a stagnant field with no variety of work? If so, you’ll be well suited to work as a developer.
Working as a software developer requires you to not fear change. As technology changes at such a fast rate, you need to not only accept changes but embrace them. At times, that might mean learning entirely new concepts.
While this sort of career path might sound stressful to some people, it’s one of the things that software developers enjoy the most. Every day and year is different from the last due to changes in technology and other areas like business.
You’re continually learning new skills, refining them, and looking for ways to apply them to your work. There won’t be a lot of routine in your schedule, but that’s what makes the field so exciting!
Understand How to Become a Developer
Use this guide as a resource to help you better understand how to become a developer. If you’re passionate about the field and work hard, there won’t be any limit to what you can achieve.
Are you looking for more career advice? If you are, make sure to check out the rest of our site for more great content.