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Software developer Programmer

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

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £20,000 to £70,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship if you've developed some programming skills and can show a strong interest in the subject.

The TECH Partnership has details of digital apprenticeships at all levels.

It also has details of the Software Development for Business degree available at some universities.

Other suitable qualifications are a foundation degree, HND or degree in computing or a related subject, like:

  • computer science
  • information technology
  • software development
  • software engineering
  • mathematics
  • business information systems

Some companies will accept you onto their graduate training scheme without an IT-related degree if you understand programming languages and frameworks, project management and development methods.

You could also study for a postgraduate IT conversion qualification.

The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) has information about training and qualifications.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to understand the development process
  • some programming knowledge
  • the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • maths skills

3. What you'll 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.

4. Salary

Starter: £20,000 to £30,000

Experienced: £30,000 to £40,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 to £70,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns 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.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior developer, with team or project management, planning or research responsibilities. You could move into related areas like systems design, IT architecture and business systems analysis.

You could also set up your own business or work as a consultant.

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Last updated: 11 April 2017