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Software developer Programmer

Software developers design, build and test computer systems that help organisations work more effectively.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £22,000 to £50,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

You'll usually need a foundation degree, an 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 have an understanding of programming languages and frameworks, project management and development methods.

You could also study for a postgraduate IT conversion qualification, or get into this job by completing a software development for business degree, or degree apprenticeship in IT, both offered by The Tech Partnership.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to understand technical plans
  • project management skills

3. What you'll do

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

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

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • discussing requirements with the client and the development team
  • contributing to technical design and progress meetings
  • writing or amending computer programmes and code
  • testing installation, security and compatibility issues
  • keeping accurate records of the development process, changes and results
  • reviewing test results and fixing technical problems
  • installing a full version of the software and carrying out 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: £22,000 to £26,000

Experienced: £28,000 to £45,000

Highly Experienced: £50,000 or more (management roles)

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.

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: 22 December 2016