Software Developer

Job Description:

Software developers design, build and test computer programmes for business, education and leisure activities.

Job Category:
IT Industry

What you will do:

You could work in a wide range of businesses and industries, public services, utilities, defence and research.

You’ll work closely with project managers, business analysts and graphic designers, to find out what the client wants and the best way to achieve it.

Usually, you’ll work in a team.

You could work on a wide variety of projects, from financial databases to robotics to apps for phones and tablets. You may use a number of programming languages or project management tools.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • talking through requirements with the client and the development team
  • taking part in technical design and progress meetings
  • writing or amending computer code
  • testing software and fixing problems
  • keeping accurate records of the development process, changes and results
  • carrying out trials and quality checks before release
  • maintaining and supporting systems once they’re up and running

As an experienced developer, you may supervise a programming team and provide feedback on coding work.


You’ll need:

  • maths knowledge for understanding programming
  • the ability to write computer programs & programming knowledge
  • the ability to understand the development process
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills for sharing ideas
  • persistence and determination (ambition/drive)
  • the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Software Developer, you’ll need to focus on subjects that build a strong foundation in computer science and programming. While there are no specific subjects that are absolutely required, the following subjects are highly relevant and will help you prepare for a career in software development:

  1. Mathematics (including Computer Science, if available): Mathematics is crucial for problem-solving and understanding algorithms, which are fundamental to software development. If your school offers Computer Science, it’s highly recommended to take it.
  2. Information and Communication Technology (ICT): ICT  courses can provide a basic understanding of computer systems, software applications, and data management.
  3. Physics: Physics can help you develop analytical and problem-solving skills that are valuable in software development, especially in areas like game development or simulations.
  4. Design and Technology: This subject can provide insights into the principles of design and user interface development.
  5. Business Studies or Economics: Knowledge of business principles can be helpful if you plan to work on software projects with a business or financial focus.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a graduate training scheme

You could do a foundation degree, a higher national diploma or a degree in:

  • computer science
  • information technology
  • software development
  • financial technology
  • software engineering for business
  • maths

You could do a college course. In the UK this includes courses such as:

  • A Level in Computing
  • Level 3 Certificate in Programming
  • T Level in Digital Production, Design and Development
  • Higher National Certificate in Computing

After your course, you could complete a more advanced qualification, such as a higher apprenticeship. You could also get a trainee position with a company.

You could do an apprenticeship such as:

  • software development technician advanced apprenticeship
  • software developer higher apprenticeship
  • DevOps engineer higher apprenticeship
  • digital and technology solutions professional or specialist degree apprenticeship
  • game programmer degree apprenticeship

Other Routes
You may be able to apply for a place on a graduate training scheme with a company if you have a degree.

These are often open to all graduates, not just people with a degree in a computing subject.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. You may need to do overtime and weekend work to meet deadlines or to fit around your client’s business.

You’ll be office-based but may travel to meet clients and fulfil contracts. You may need a full driving licence.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could:

  • become a senior developer
  • take responsibility for your team or a project
  • move into related areas, such as systems design, IT architecture and business systems analysis
  • set up your own business
  • work as a consultant

You may find opportunities to work internationally by travelling overseas or working remotely.