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Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills.Education
Software developers usually have a bachelor’s degree, typically in computer science, software engineering, or a related field. A degree in mathematics is also acceptable. Computer science degree programs are the most common, because they tend to cover a broad range of topics. Students should focus on classes related to building software in order to better prepare themselves for work in the occupation. For some positions, employers may prefer a master’s degree.
Although writing code is not their first priority, developers must have a strong background in computer programming. They usually gain this experience in school. Throughout their career, developers must keep up to date on new tools and computer languages.
Software developers also need skills related to the industry in which they work. Developers working in a bank, for example, should have knowledge of finance so that they can understand a bank’s computing needs.Other Experience
Many students gain experience in software development by completing an internship at a software company while in college.
Some software developers first work as computer programmers and then are given more responsibility as they gain experience. Eventually, they become developers.Advancement
Software developers can advance to become information technology (IT) project managers, also called computer and information systems managers, a position in which they oversee the software development process.Important Qualities
Analytical skills. Developers must analyze users’ needs and then design software to meet those needs.
Communication skills. Developers must be able to give clear instructions to others working on a project. They must also explain to their customers how the software works and answer any questions that arise.
Computer skills. Developers must understand computer capabilities and programming languages in order to design effective software.
Creativity. Developers are the creative minds behind new computer software.
Detail oriented. Developers often work on many parts of an application or system at the same time and must therefore be able to concentrate and pay attention to detail.
Interpersonal skills. Software developers must be able to work well with others who contribute to designing, developing, and programming successful software.
Problem-solving skills. Because developers are in charge of software from beginning to end, they must be able to solve problems that arise throughout the design process.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Principal Developer
Top Careers After Principal Developer
Hispanic or Latino7.3%
Black or African American1.3%
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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute10.0%
University of Washington6.0%
University of Cincinnati6.0%
New York University6.0%
University of Utah6.0%
Massachusetts Institute of Technology6.0%
Carnegie Mellon University6.0%
University of Texas at Austin6.0%
University of Florida4.0%
University of Texas at Arlington4.0%
University of California - Los Angeles4.0%
Indian Hills Community College4.0%
University of Central Florida4.0%
Pennsylvania State University4.0%
University of North Florida4.0%
Tarleton State University4.0%
University of California - Berkeley4.0%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Principal Development Planner||Shell International Exploration and Production Inc.||Houston, TX||Jul 28, 2016||$290,000|
|Principal Development Planner||Shell International Exploration and Production Inc.||Houston, TX||Apr 29, 2016||$290,000|
|Principal Development Planner||Shell International Exploration and Production Inc.||Houston, TX||Aug 20, 2015||$290,000|
|Vice President, Senior Principal Developer||Nomura America Services, LLC||New York, NY||Jul 12, 2015||$180,000 -
|Principal Development Lead||Microsoft Corporation||Redmond, WA||Mar 23, 2015||$175,592|
|Principal Algorithm Developer||Mark One Lifestyle, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Sep 10, 2015||$175,000|
|Principal Developer||The Bank of New York Mellon||Jersey City, NJ||Mar 28, 2016||$170,000|
|Principal Development Lead||Microsoft Corporation||Redmond, WA||Feb 18, 2015||$167,957|
|R&D Principal||Accenture LLP||San Jose, CA||Jan 27, 2016||$165,006|
|Vice President, Senior Principal Developer||Nomura America Services, LLC||New York, NY||Aug 09, 2015||$165,000 -
|Enterprise Architecture and Development Solutions Principal||Slalom, LLC||San Francisco, CA||Apr 15, 2016||$164,382 -
|Principal Developer (BI)-MTS Foundation Services||Herbalife International of America, Inc.||Los Angeles, CA||Feb 26, 2016||$139,236|
|Principal UX Developer||Tidemark Systems, Inc.||Redwood City, CA||Jul 09, 2016||$138,362 -
|Principal APP Programmer/Developer||Ciber, Inc.||Belmont, CA||Dec 09, 2016||$138,361|
|Principal SOA Developer||Beachbody, LLC||Santa Monica, CA||Aug 01, 2015||$137,241|
|Principal SOA Developer||Beachbody, LLC||Santa Monica, CA||Jan 02, 2015||$137,241|
|Principal, Developer (BI)||Herbalife International||Torrance, CA||Oct 21, 2015||$135,312|
|Associate, Principal Developer||Nomura America Services, LLC||New York, NY||Feb 17, 2015||$135,000|
|Associate, Principal Developer||Nomura America Services, LLC||New York, NY||Sep 18, 2015||$135,000|
|Principal Developer||EMC Corporation||Southborough, MA||Nov 28, 2016||$120,000 -
|Principal Developer||Ads Alliance Data Systems, Inc.||Irving, TX||Mar 24, 2016||$120,000|
|Principal Developer||Valassis Communications, Inc.||Livonia, MI||Jun 20, 2016||$120,000|
|SOA Principal Developer||World Fuel Services Corporation||Miami, FL||Sep 30, 2016||$120,000|
|Principal Developer||EMC Corporation||Southborough, MA||Sep 12, 2016||$120,000 -
|Principal Prpc Developer||Parexel International||Billerica, MA||Feb 27, 2015||$119,493|
|Principal Developer||EMC Corporation||Southborough, MA||Jul 27, 2016||$119,300|
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