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Become A Software Leader

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Working As A Software Leader

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $94,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Software Leader Do

Software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs. Some develop the applications that allow people to do specific tasks on a computer or another device. Others develop the underlying systems that run the devices or that control networks.

Duties

Software developers typically do the following:

  • Analyze users’ needs and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
  • Design each piece of an application or a system and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that instruct programmers how to write software code
  • Ensure that a program continues to function normally through software maintenance and testing
  • Document every aspect of an application or a system as a reference for future maintenance and upgrades
  • Collaborate with other computer specialists to create optimum software

Software developers are in charge of the entire development process for a software program. They may begin by asking how the customer plans to use the software. They must identify the core functionality that users need from software programs. Software developers must also determine user requirements that are unrelated to the functionality of software, such as the level of security and performance needs. They design the program and then give instructions to programmers, who write computer code and test it.

If the program does not work as expected or if testers find it too difficult to use, software developers go back to the design process to fix the problems or improve the program. After the program is released to the customer, a developer may perform upgrades and maintenance.

Developers usually work closely with computer programmers. However, in some companies, developers write code themselves instead of giving instructions to the programmers.

Developers who supervise a software project from the planning stages through implementation sometimes are called information technology (IT) project managers. These workers monitor the project’s progress to ensure that it meets deadlines, standards, and cost targets. IT project managers who plan and direct an organization’s IT department or IT policies are included in the profile on computer and information systems managers.

The following are examples of types of software developers:

Applications software developers design computer applications, such as word processors and games, for consumers. They may create custom software for a specific customer or commercial software to be sold to the general public. Some applications software developers create complex databases for organizations. They also create programs that people use over the Internet and within a company’s intranet.

Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning properly. These could be operating systems for computers that the general public buys or systems built specifically for an organization. Often, systems software developers also build the system’s interface, which is what allows users to interact with the computer. Systems software developers are creating the operating systems that control most of the consumer electronics in use today, including the systems in phones or cars.

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How To Become A Software Leader

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.

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Software Leader Career Paths

Software Leader
Project Manager Program Manager
Lead Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Senior Project Manager Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Software Development Manager Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Software Engineering Manager Engineering Manager Information Technology Project Manager
Enterprise Project Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Software Engineering Manager Engineering Manager Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Software Engineering Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Leader Senior Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Lead Technician Project Leader Information Technology Project Manager
Technical Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Technical Delivery Manager Technical Project Manager
Technical Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager Information Technology Manager
Application Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manager Service Manager Information Technology Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Manager Senior Project Manager Information Technology Director
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Software Architect Solutions Architect Delivery Manager
Senior Delivery Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Software Architect Enterprise Architect Senior Technical Consultant
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Software Architect Technical Team Lead Technology Architect
Vice President, Technology
11 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Software Architect 3.2 years
Software Engineer 3.0 years
Software Leader 3.0 years
Top Careers Before Software Leader
Consultant 2.9%
Programmer 2.5%
Internship 2.3%
Developer 2.0%
Engineer 1.8%
Top Careers After Software Leader
Consultant 5.4%
Manager 3.3%
Developer 2.3%

Do you work as a Software Leader?

Average Yearly Salary
$94,000
Show Salaries
$71,000
Min 10%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$94,000
Median 50%
$125,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Google
Highest Paying City
Cupertino, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.3 years
How much does a Software Leader make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Software Leader in the United States is $94,636 per year or $46 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $71,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $125,000.

Real Software Leader Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Systems Lead Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Jul 31, 2015 $180,000
Senior Software Development Lead HULU, LLC Santa Monica, CA May 23, 2016 $165,000
Software Development Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 11, 2016 $163,169 -
$168,200
Software Technical Leader Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 29, 2016 $160,000
Software Development Lead Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI) Redlands, CA Feb 12, 2016 $156,066
Software Technical Leader Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Apr 09, 2016 $152,000
Software Technical Leader Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Sep 10, 2015 $150,000 -
$165,000
Software Technical Leader Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Nov 25, 2015 $150,000
Reader Software Lead Molecular Devices, LLC Sunnyvale, CA Feb 24, 2015 $148,000 -
$165,000
Senior Software Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA May 07, 2016 $146,000 -
$191,000
Software Technical Leader Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 04, 2016 $146,000
Software Technical Leader Brocade Communications Systems, Inc. San Jose, CA Oct 01, 2015 $142,250
Software Technical Lead Fitbit, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 04, 2015 $140,000
Software Solution and Development Lead Smartek21, LLC Kirkland, WA Jan 01, 2016 $137,000
Software Development Lead Airwatch, LLC Atlanta, GA Nov 08, 2016 $115,000
Software Development Lead The Topps Company, Inc. New York, NY Aug 15, 2016 $115,000
OCT Acquisition Software Layer Lead Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc. Dublin, CA Jan 26, 2015 $112,133 -
$113,133
Software Systems Lead Infobeans Inc. New York, NY Aug 17, 2015 $112,000
Software Development Lead Fiserv Global Services, Inc. Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Aug 28, 2015 $111,821 -
$132,953
Software Development Technical Lead-Battery Mgmt. Systems Lg Chem Power, Inc. Troy, MI May 31, 2016 $111,815
Software Delivery Lead General Motors Company Warren, MI Feb 11, 2015 $110,000
Software Lead Hamilton Sundstrand Rockford, IL Sep 30, 2016 $107,099 -
$122,700
Lead Software Synechron, Inc. Sterling, VA Jan 26, 2015 $89,669
Software Development Lead FNC, Inc. Pittsburgh, PA Feb 08, 2016 $89,100
Software Development Lead-.Net/Web Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. Alpharetta, GA Jun 01, 2016 $89,000 -
$94,000
Manager-Software/Technical Lead Synechron, Inc. Jacksonville, FL Dec 02, 2016 $88,130
Lead-Software Synechron, Inc. Stamford, CT Sep 14, 2016 $87,630
Software Systems Development Lead Micro Focus (Us) Inc. Rockville, MD Jan 18, 2016 $86,986 -
$109,515

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Top Skills for A Software Leader

  1. Software Development
  2. Web Application
  3. Pl/Sql
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Collaborate with the Software Development Manager on technical resource planning and execution.
  • Designed and developed a Time and Attendance web application module for a web-based Employee Management application service provider.
  • Created SQL Statement, Stored Procedure, and PL/SQL using TOAD.
  • Designed enterprise software, including requirements analysis, software architecture, user interface, and database schema.
  • Promoted with full responsibility to align technical architecture for enterprise application development with company business plans.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Software Leaders

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. Oregon
  4. New Hampshire
  5. New York
  6. Massachusetts
  7. Virginia
  8. District of Columbia
  9. Arizona
  10. Utah
  • (6,288 jobs)
  • (13,236 jobs)
  • (877 jobs)
  • (312 jobs)
  • (2,841 jobs)
  • (3,101 jobs)
  • (3,656 jobs)
  • (526 jobs)
  • (932 jobs)
  • (810 jobs)

Software Leader Demographics

Gender

Male

73.5%

Female

16.2%

Unknown

10.2%
Ethnicity

White

53.1%

Asian

19.0%

Hispanic or Latino

13.3%

Black or African American

9.4%

Unknown

5.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.3%

Chinese

7.1%

Japanese

7.1%

French

7.1%

Russian

7.1%

Tamil

7.1%
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Software Leader Education

Schools

University of Texas at Austin

9.5%

University of Phoenix

9.5%

University of Colorado at Boulder

7.7%

University of Washington

6.0%

Arizona State University

5.4%

University of Central Florida

5.4%

University of California - San Diego

5.4%

George Washington University

4.8%

University of Houston

4.8%

University of California - Irvine

4.2%

Ohio State University

4.2%

Pennsylvania State University

4.2%

University of Arizona

4.2%

Santa Clara University

3.6%

University of Southern California

3.6%

University of Florida

3.6%

San Jose State University

3.6%

Purdue University

3.6%

More Tech Institute

3.6%

Florida State University

3.6%
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Majors

Computer Science

34.8%

Computer Engineering

12.6%

Business

12.5%

Electrical Engineering

10.0%

Computer Information Systems

3.1%

Information Technology

2.9%

Management Information Systems

2.3%

Engineering

2.3%

Marketing

2.1%

Management

2.0%

Mathematics

2.0%

Project Management

1.9%

Information Systems

1.9%

Finance

1.7%

Computer Applications

1.6%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.5%

Mechanical Engineering

1.3%

Communication

1.2%

Systems Engineering

1.2%

Political Science

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

43.9%

Masters

38.7%

Other

8.5%

Certificate

3.1%

Doctorate

2.8%

Associate

1.9%

Diploma

1.1%
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