Everything you need to know about software developer jobs

Software developer jobs are some of the most attractive out there right now.

The advance of technology means most people with software development skills have got a good future ahead of them and frequently very good salaries too. Not to mention the fact that there sure are a lot of open vacancies around at the moment.

If you’re thinking of retraining into this lucrative field, here’s everything you need to know about those software developer jobs in order to figure out if this could be your next career:

What is a software developer?

A software developer writes computer applications.

These applications might be created to carry out a specific task, solve a specific problem, or run specific networks or pieces of hardware. They might also include computer games, software platforms, and smartphone apps.

What does a software developer do?

Software developers design, program, build, and deploy (or “roll out”) computer programs. Once those programs are deployed, they may also be responsible for maintaining or upgrading them.

These days, you will find software developers in almost every industry. The highest profile is, of course, the tech sector. Yet any industry that uses software (and today, that’s essentially every industry) or devices that require software to function (yet more industries) will have at one point needed software developers to create that software.

That isn’t always the limit of a software developer’s role though. Some developers work with clients and stakeholders to assess product requirements. This requires good communication skills and can be a way (or part of what changes when) a developer progresses to a more senior role.

What skills are required to be a software developer?

1) Computer programming skills

The three most commonly requested skills in software developer job descriptions are:

Web development – the skills required to develop and maintain websites.

DevOps – the skills and techniques that improve an organisation’s ability to develop applications faster.

AI and machine learning – machine learning is a collection of the various ways computers can be trained to develop “intelligence”.

2) Computer programming languages

As of 2023, the most desirable computer programming languages for a software developer to know are:

  • Javascript
  • Java
  • Python

3) Computer programming soft skills

As well as those hard skills, there is a range of soft skills that are seen as highly desirable by most people engaged in software developer recruitment.

These include requirements common to most modern jobs, such as being good team workers and having strong communication skills (the latter is especially valued as the stereotype that software developers are not always natural communicators is not always an unfair one).

There are also soft skills more generally relevant to IT or the development process, such as a grounding in the philosophy of agile development.

What is the average software developer salary?

The average salary for software developers in the UK is very high:

Most of the UK average – starting from £38 000 ranging up to £75 000 or even £110 000 for senior and management level positions.

In London – as you might expect, London salaries tend to be higher to reflect the higher cost of living in the capital. You might expect to earn anywhere from £45 000 to £70 000 in London for some languages and some positions even as a starting salary.

What is the difference between software developers and software engineers?

The terms “software developer” and “software engineer” are often used interchangeably, but they do actually represent overlapping but distinct positions.

The role of a software developer sees them design, program, and roll out individual applications. A software engineer, on the other hand, is more likely to roll out and manage multiple applications or systems that affect an entire organisation.

How to become a software developer

Retraining for a software developer job has much to recommend it. There are several ways to do it:

Start a course – as well as traditional universities and The Open University, there are platforms like Udemy that offer software development courses.

Get a professional certification – if you already know a little something about programming, you can firm up your knowledge and CV by getting certification from organisations like Google or Amazon certifying you know how to use their products.

Already trained? Now it’s time to reach out to your recruiter to see what software development jobs they know about.

Ernest Gordon is a specialist IT recruitment company with access to exclusive jobs you won’t find anywhere else.

Tell us what you’re looking for in your next career step today.