Software programs, which are also called applications and programs, are the foundation of today’s digital world. Although people can use software to do work and find information online, many programmers build software for desktop, mobile devices, and other gadgets.
And although software developers aren’t usually in-demand like doctors or accountants—the occupation ranked No. 1 on the list of best jobs in America—many experts think this will change as technology continues to become more integral to our lives. Jennifer Neubauer is a software developer who has worked on websites for companies such as Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! She says that a career in tech is more than just computer coding—it’s also a way to contribute to society and develop skills that are in demand.Gaining the right software development education is crucial to building successful careers as developers.
1. Entrepreneurship and programming are similar in some ways.
When it comes to starting your own company, you need some basic ideas about finance and management skills. After that, the rest is just a matter of following your creative whims. A career as a programmer is the same way. You should probably have some basic programming skills before you start working on something big, and you’ll have to learn more along the way.
These critical programming skills can help in numerous ways: from building websites or desktop applications to creating video games or multimedia presentations; they cover many different types of projects and jobs.
2. The tools “behind” software developers are just as important as the code they write.
Many different types of tools are necessary for professional software development. These can include graphics packages like Photoshop and Illustrator, which allow you to make illustrations or pictures look pretty and functional; code browsers like Visual Studio, which let you see how your applications run when they’re actually used; and databases like SQL Server or MySQL, which make managing client data easier. Even learning operating systems like Windows or Linux will be a help, as you’ll have to deal with the way that all these tools interact with each other.
3. The best programmers often come from design backgrounds.
Designers don’t always focus on programming—but they do need a good understanding of how their designs work and what they can be used for. A lot of design programs teach their students how to make websites, and since most of these programs are integrated with the Web and other software, they’re great places to learn how development works. Programming builds on design skills in a lot of ways, so knowing some basic programs can be a big advantage—not just for when you get started as a developer but throughout your career.
4. Many programmers do more than write code; they also develop software tools and applications.
Not all software development is actually writing code—a lot of it is creating other types of tools that make development easier or solve specific problems that developers face every day. These tools range from code libraries to debugging software that lets you catch bugs in your code.
Even business analysis tools, which help you make better decisions about your development work, will help you get started with programming. The more experience you have, the more specialized and valuable your skills will be—and the more potentially lucrative your career can be.
5. A developer’s job isn’t always just programming—most of them also analyze data and solve problems, too.
A lot of what software developers do is analyze projects that are already in progress, making sure they’re going smoothly or trying to figure out what went wrong when they go wrong. Still, that doesn’t mean that a developer’s job always has to be programming—it’s just that many times, it is. “A software developer is someone who writes programs for computers,” Neubauer says.
6. The benefits of computer programming are huge indeed.
The best part of programming isn’t having a career where you have to deal with computers all day—especially if your job is creating applications or websites that support people every day, in every way possible. Software development also allows you to work in offices, which you might not get the chance to do otherwise, and it gives you the opportunity to be your own boss while bringing in high salaries and offering a lot of control over your own schedule and hours. The skills you learn in software development can help you in a lot of different ways, so it’s never too late to gain the experience that can be so valuable in the future.
7. Being a programmer isn’t about just knowing the right computer coding languages.
It’s true that some computer programming languages are more common and easier to learn than others—and people who know them well will usually have an advantage over those who don’t. But no matter what your specific language is, if you know how to read and write code in general, you’ll be able to get started on any project you want. “A programmer has to understand how computers work,” Neubauer says.