Software Developer Career Outlook

If you stop and think about it, it is really not surprising that careers in the Information Technology (IT) industry are expected to increase.  Of course, there are exceptions to that rule – computer programming springs to mind, for example – but overall, the IT industry is in demand.  Why?  Because we all use computers.  Businesses, too, are increasing their use of computer services, thanks to both specialized software and a growing demand for online presence. 

There are all kinds of jobs in the computer science and information technology fields.  They range from fairly entry-level positions (computer programming, computer repair, and software testing) to very advanced (computer research scientist and computer information systems manager).  One interesting and wide-ranging job is that of a software developer.  As the demand for new and specialized computer applications grows, is it logical to expect a career in software development to increase in demand as well?  To find out – and to find out exactly what a software developer does – keep reading this article.

What Is a Software Developer?

A software developer is someone who designs, creates, tests, and debugs new software applications.  He or she is also called on to analyze and improve older programs.  Knowledge of computer science, system requirements, computer programming, and software testing procedures is essential.

Does this job description sound familiar – a lot like that of a computer software engineer?  Does it sound like it overlaps quite a bit with a computer programmer and a software test engineer?  That’s because all of these jobs are part of software development.  A software developer might perform one part of the process or participate in all of it.  Usually, software developers work with a software development team, which includes – you guessed it – computer programmers, software engineers, software testers, and other software developers.

Where Do Software Developers Work?

There are several places that employ software development teams.  One of the largest employers is the computer design service industry, followed by software publishers, computer manufacturers, and manufacturers of computer-related equipment.  Other industries include the financial sector and insurance.

Career Outlook for Software Development, Software Engineering, and Related Jobs

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics – the source for most of the information in this article – does not list software developers as an individual career choice.  Instead, they are included in the general prospects for computer system design and computer design service.  This is expected to be one of the top ten industries in terms of job growth from 2008 (the most recent year available) to 2018.  In fact, job openings in this field could grow by as much as 45%.

This doesn’t automatically mean that software development jobs will also jump 45%.  The closest-related job title to software development listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was computer software applications engineering, which was expected to see a 34% increase.  (Computer software systems engineer jobs were expected to increase by 30%, with the two titles combining for a 32% increase overall.)  Computer programming jobs were projected to increase much slower than average – only about three percent.  Overall, the Department of Labor forecasts an increase of 21% in all jobs in the computer system design and design services industry, which surely includes software developers.

Would you like to learn more about software development?  Perhaps you are interested in the day to day experiences of building new software or how software is made.  You will enjoy another article in this series, A Day in the Life of a Software Developer.  To learn where to go online to find out more about software developers and their careers, read Great Online Resources for Software Developers.