If you have a natural affinity with computers and have a logical, inquiring mind, you could have a great career in software development ahead of you. Software development is an industry that continues to grow and grow, and more programmers will always be needed.
As a software developer, your work will consist of the design, development, testing, maintenance and implementation of software packages.
Generally, a project will start with a brief. Most software packages are generic applications that are intended to be sold to a wide market, though many briefs will be for a bespoke IT system for a particular client.
You may be tasked with the initial design of the software, using your own creativity to conceptualise the best way to fill the brief before a line of code has been written. Once the design is agreed, you will write code in the language selected for the project. It is common for a large team of developers to work on a single piece of software from its initial design to its final implementation.
Testing, or quality assurance (QA) is a large part of the development process. Even once a software application is fully functional it may still need months of testing and reiterating before it is stable enough for release.
Once the project has been completed and the software has been ‘shipped’, your work on it is not necessarily done. Software will need to be continually updated and maintained, as bugs are found and as the hardware it runs on changes over time.
An up-to-date understanding of a wide selection of programming languages such as C++, Java, PHP and HTML will be required. Experience in web development and Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools will also help your CV.
A common route in is through a computer science degree, though this is by no means the only way. Courses in particular coding languages and software development in general are offered by educational institutions at all levels. There are also many online resources with their own communities that can help you learn your craft, many of them free.
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