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Become A Software Specialist

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Working As A Software Specialist

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

  • $86,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Software Specialist 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 Specialist

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 Specialist Career Paths

Software Specialist
Software Engineer Systems Engineer
Manager, Systems Engineering
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Consultant Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Software Engineer Senior Software Engineer
Director Of Software Development
12 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Information Technology Director
Senior Director Of Information & Technology
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Project Manager Development Manager
Senior Development Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Consultant Project Manager Engineering Director
Senior Director Of Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Consultant Information Technology Manager Chief Technology Officer
President & Chief Technology Officer
13 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Systems Analyst
Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Analyst Systems Analyst
Information Systems Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Programmer Analyst Senior Programmer Analyst Manager Applications Development
Application Development Director
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Network Administrator
Information Technology Systems Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Business Analyst Information Technology Project Manager
Technical Delivery Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Technical Support Specialist Systems Administrator Information Technology Manager
Information Technology Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Programmer Program Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Programmer Owner Co-Founder
Chief Technology Officer & Founder
9 Yearsyrs
Programmer Senior Project Manager Director Of Software Development
Vice President Of Software Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Systems Analyst Systems Administrator Senior Technologist
Principal Technologist
10 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Senior Systems Analyst Application Manager
Director, Applications
12 Yearsyrs
Business Analyst Project Leader Manager Applications Development
Vice President Of Application Development
11 Yearsyrs
Software Developer Front End Developer User Experience Designer
Product Lead
7 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Software Specialist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Software Designer 3.2 years
Software Developer 2.6 years
Software Analyst 2.5 years
Top Careers Before Software Specialist
Programmer 6.5%
Consultant 4.3%
Internship 4.3%
Manager 2.6%
Developer 2.6%
Top Careers After Software Specialist
Consultant 8.8%
Manager 4.2%

Do you work as a Software Specialist?

Average Yearly Salary
$86,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$62,000
Min 10%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$86,000
Median 50%
$119,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Bayer
Highest Paying City
San Mateo, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Software Specialist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Software Specialist in the United States is $86,727 per year or $42 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $62,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $120,000.

Real Software Specialist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Software Specialist Lead Serve Virtual Enterprise, Inc. New York, NY Oct 25, 2014 $148,300
Software Specialist Serve Virtual Enterprises, Inc. New York, NY Dec 04, 2014 $136,300
Geoscience HPC Software Specialist Total E&P USA, Inc. Houston, TX Jun 29, 2016 $113,000
Settlement Software Specialist (Operations Engineering) Two Sigma Solutions, LLC Houston, TX Aug 23, 2016 $113,000
Image Processing Software Specialist Graphics Microsystems, Inc. Rockwall, TX Jun 24, 2015 $112,500
International Money Transmitter Software Specialist Bancomer Transfer Services, Inc. Houston, TX Jan 02, 2016 $110,926
International Money Transmitter Software Specialist Bancomer Transfer Services, Inc. Houston, TX Oct 11, 2015 $110,926
Principal Software Specialist, Informatics Perkinelmer, Inc. Waltham, MA Mar 01, 2014 $110,000 -
$130,000
Principal Software Specialist, Informatics Cambridgesoft Corporation Waltham, MA Mar 01, 2014 $110,000 -
$130,000
Principal Software Specialist, Informatics Cambridgesoft Corporation Waltham, MA Jan 03, 2014 $110,000 -
$130,000
Field Research Software Specialist Costar Group, Inc. Washington, DC Oct 01, 2013 $105,156
Software Specialist Serve Virtual Enterprises, Inc. Saint Petersburg, FL May 26, 2014 $105,000
Software Specialist Lead American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. New York, NY Jul 18, 2016 $105,000
Specialist-Digital Controls and Embedded Software Eaton Corporation Raleigh, NC Jan 07, 2015 $102,627 -
$122,400
Software Specialist Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Morristown, NJ Sep 19, 2016 $83,173
Software Specialist Reveille Technologies, Inc. Salisbury, NC Nov 01, 2014 $83,138
Software Specialist Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Baltimore, MD Jan 18, 2016 $83,000
Software Specialist Majesco Maple Grove, MN Feb 06, 2016 $82,866
Software Specialist Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Morristown, NJ Sep 14, 2016 $82,769
Software Specialist Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Morristown, NJ Aug 24, 2015 $82,769
Software Specialist Majescomastek Insurance Software and Solutions, Inc. McMinnville, OR Dec 03, 2014 $82,007
Database Software Specialist South Broward Hospital District D/B/A Memorial Healthcare System Miramar, FL Feb 02, 2015 $81,810 -
$134,653
Software Specialist Majesco Glastonbury, CT Oct 09, 2016 $78,478
Specialist-Software (Computer Systems Analyst) Synechron, Inc. Chandler, AZ Apr 01, 2015 $78,000
Software Specialist Majesco Portsmouth, NH Jan 25, 2016 $78,000
Software Specialist Majesco Morristown, NJ Oct 26, 2015 $78,000
Software Specialist Majescomastek Insurance Software and Solutions, In New York, NY Jun 04, 2014 $77,626
Software Specialist Majescomastek Insurance Software and Solutions, In New York, NY Aug 30, 2014 $77,626
Software Specialist Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. McPherson, KS Jan 28, 2015 $77,292

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Top Skills for A Software Specialist

  1. Database
  2. Windows XP
  3. Pl/Sql
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided day-to-day management for our Global Cities Forecast database which supported a contractual arrangement with Yahoo!.
  • Supported Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT Server/Client, Windows 2000 Server/Professional, and Windows XP.
  • Created PL/SQL stored procedures by using bulk bind for inserting, updating data in process tables.
  • Oversee day-to-day technical support operations at agency headquarter, providing immediate support in a classified/unclassified Windows environment.
  • Administer operational software and web applications overseeing university facilities, space planning, finance, information technology, and safety.

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Top 10 Best States for Software Specialists

  1. Massachusetts
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Washington
  4. Delaware
  5. Colorado
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Alaska
  8. Virginia
  9. New Jersey
  10. Connecticut
  • (2,096 jobs)
  • (703 jobs)
  • (1,900 jobs)
  • (185 jobs)
  • (1,417 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)
  • (103 jobs)
  • (3,231 jobs)
  • (1,448 jobs)
  • (537 jobs)

Software Specialist Demographics

Gender

Male

61.9%

Female

30.6%

Unknown

7.4%
Ethnicity

White

56.8%

Hispanic or Latino

14.6%

Asian

13.5%

Black or African American

10.3%

Unknown

4.7%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

44.7%

French

17.0%

German

6.4%

Carrier

6.4%

Arabic

4.3%

Italian

4.3%

Turkish

2.1%

Vietnamese

2.1%

Japanese

2.1%

Cheyenne

2.1%

Tagalog

2.1%

Hebrew

2.1%

Urdu

2.1%

Polish

2.1%
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Software Specialist Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.4%

Northeastern University

5.7%

George Washington University

5.1%

University of Houston

5.1%

University of North Texas

4.5%

University of Maryland - University College

4.5%

University of Southern California

4.5%

University of Texas at Austin

4.5%

San Jose State University

4.5%

Strayer University

4.5%

University of South Florida

3.8%

Michigan State University

3.8%

University of Maryland - College Park

3.8%

Arizona State University

3.8%

Temple University

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.8%

Texas State University

3.8%

University of Connecticut

3.8%

Franklin University

3.2%

Roosevelt University

3.2%
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Majors

Computer Science

20.9%

Business

15.9%

Computer Information Systems

8.3%

Electrical Engineering

7.4%

Information Technology

6.6%

Computer Engineering

5.1%

Accounting

3.5%

Marketing

3.2%

Communication

3.0%

Computer Networking

2.9%

Finance

2.6%

Information Systems

2.5%

Management

2.5%

Engineering

2.5%

Management Information Systems

2.4%

Computer Applications

2.4%

Mathematics

2.4%

Psychology

2.3%

Education

2.1%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.3%

Masters

20.7%

Other

17.3%

Associate

9.3%

Certificate

3.5%

Diploma

1.4%

Doctorate

1.2%

License

0.3%
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