Systems Software Developers fall into the Investigative Theme Code Category of the Strong Interest Inventory®. The Strong Interest Inventory® is designed to match individuals with careers well-suited to their preferences or interests in a variety of areas. It can also be used to identify educational pursuits and leisure activities as well. Based on this assessment, it recommends particular theme codes which may be particularly good matches. Investigative careers and activities are analytical and problem-solving in nature. They have a fair amount of flexibility in terms of one’s work environment, and allow for relative independence.
Software Developers design and develop software systems for many different sectors, such as medical, industrial, aerospace, military, scientific and many others. They achieve these goals by using principles and techniques of computer science, mathematical analysis, and engineering. They use their expertise to accomplish a variety of different tasks, from developing software from scratch, to modifying existing software to resolve errors, adapt to new hardware, or to become more accurate and user-friendly. They consult with customers to identify technical issues in software and maintenance, so that they can focus on specific areas that require improvement. They also work closely with engineering staff to ensure that the interface between hardware (e.g., computer systems) and software integrates seamlessly, increasing program efficiency as well as customer satisfaction. As Software Developers improve their products, they must track their progress by conferring with data processing or project managers, ensuring their system is as efficient as possible. Depending on their role within their organization, Software Developers may advise customers about system maintenance or performance. Sometimes they supervise larger teams of programmers, designers, and other personnel, as well as give clients reports on their performance.
Software Developers use many different kinds of software and hardware to achieve their goals. In addition to computers, circuit testers, and computer servers, they may require access software (e.g., Citrix), analytical or scientific software (e.g, SAS, dynamic modeling software, The MathWorks MATLAB), computer aided design software (e.g, Autodesk AutoCAD, Dassault Systems CATIA software, etc.), Database reporting software (e.g., Microsoft SQL, SAP Business intelligence), network monitoring, management, and operation software (e.g., Microsoft SharePoint, Wireshark, Novell network software, etc.), and virtual private network software. Additional software categories are utilized depending on the sector in which the Software Developer is employed.
Software Developers have a high degree of specialized knowledge in computers, engineering, and mathematics, as well as their application to practical concerns in the development of software. It is beneficial for them to have a solid foundation in the English language, especially the ability to understand and communicate concrete directions. Interest in customer and personal service is important since their customers must be satisfied with their products. Thinking critically about complex problems and making accurate judgements is important in resolving them. While the job is not physically intense, Software Developers do benefit from acute near-vision, since they spend so much time in front of screens. Because of the technical nature of this career, roughly 77% of Software Developers hold a Bachelor’s Degree. Furthermore, 17% hold a Master’s Degree. While some (4%) of Software Developers hold an Associate’s Degree, those who want to be competitive in the job market are required to have a more advanced degree.
Software Developers salary is generally well over $100,000 annually. Even the lowest-paying states (North Dakota, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana) still have median Software Developer salaries well over $60,000 annually. On the other hand, California, Washington, and Maryland all average nearly $125,000, and the highest-paid Software Developers in California can earn over $180,000. Rates of employment are also projected to rise nation-wide, with a national average increase projected at 13%, and states such as Utah and Colorado projected to increase their employment of Software Developers as much as 42% before 2024.
Below are some employment trends for Software Developers:
- Median Software Developer Salary: $49.46/hour; $102,880 annually
- Employment: 396,000 employees
- Projected growth (2014-2022): faster than average (9% to 13%)
- Projected job openings (2014-2022): 107,900
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data and 2014-2022 employment projections Onetonline.org