Software development is an excellent career choice by any measure. It’s a high-paying and growing field, there are plenty of jobs, and workers report positive job satisfaction. The average salary of software development specialists clocks in at $110,140, with more experienced software developers earning $140,470 a year on average. Those with a software developer degree and coding experience can easily find a job after graduation. Some other benefits of entering this line of work include great job perks, the ability to work remotely, and even a higher quality of life.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about pursuing a software developer career path.
Software developer is an umbrella term for many different roles in the IT world. Consider the following roles as possible routes you can take with your degree in software development.
- Web developers control all “behind the scenes” aspects of a website, including its code, outbound links, and content to ensure a quality user experience.
- Back end developers handle the back end logic of a website and its integration with the front end.
- Front end developers build the client-facing side—the side that users see and interact with—of a website.
- Embedded system developers use software engineering to control machines and devices other than traditional computers. These software engineers work in fields such as medical technology, manufacturing technology, and aviation.
- Language/compiler developers optimize a compiler software that translates languages into code that a computer processor can use.
- Operating systems developers are responsible for implementing new feature functions in AIX operating systems, which are designed to provide security infrastructures to enterprise corporations.
- Video game developers build, optimize, and update video games.
- Mobile app developers design software and applications used on mobile devices.
- Desktop developers write code for applications that can run natively on operating systems such as macOS, Windows, and Linux.
- Data scientists interpret and manage data to solve complex problems using data science in business environments.
Here are some major benefits to pursuing a degree in software development:
- A High Number of Job Openings
Companies across nearly every industry are constantly seeking software developers, and there’s no end in sight. In fact, employment of software developers is projected to grow a whopping 22% from 2020 to 2030, which is much higher than the national average for other occupations. Having a bachelor’s degree provides you an excellent advantage in scoring a great position in your job search.
- Lucrative Salaries
There are nearly two billion websites in existence and more than four billion internet-users worldwide—and those numbers are only growing. With this massive need for web-based programs development, it’s no wonder that software development is one of the highest paying jobs, even for entry-level positions. Whether you choose to pursue front end, back end, full stack development, or one of many other routes, you can count on competitive salaries and frequent promotions in your career.
- Numerous Career Progression Opportunities
Along with many different types of software development careers, there are equally as many career progression opportunities. The skills you’ll learn in the software development bachelor’s degree, in bootcamps, and in your future job experience—like problem-solving, creative thinking, coding—are highly useful in hundreds of career paths. No matter which type of development you pursue, there are always many other doors to open and areas to grow into.
- Flexible Work Environment
Nearly 100% of the work a software developer does is online, which provides for a very flexible work environment, from working hours to working location. Many developers have the luxury of getting their work done on their own time and from home. This also means, as a remote worker, you are not restricted to software engineering jobs in your local area—you can apply for jobs across the country. If you’re the type of worker who prefers working in an office setting, there are also plenty of jobs available that have core office hours or require their developers to be in-office at least part-time.
- Project-Based Work Structure
If you enjoy a lot of variety in your work or you get bored easily, software development might be a great professional choice. Many development teams work on a project basis, which means you don’t have to make a long-term commitment and you get to choose which projects most interest you. This also poses the opportunity for fulfillment and success when you finish a project. If you like the sounds of always working on something new and exciting, then software development could be perfect for you.
- Creative Outlet
It’s a common misconception that software development is just writing lines of code day in and day out, with few opportunities for creativity. The truth is, each type of software is unique, with its own constraints and problems to solve, and only software developers that bring a creative approach to their work will have success. It’s also essential to use creativity in optimizing code to run faster and consume less memory.
Coding is a huge part of having a career in software development. What’s great about coding is that there is a low barrier to entry to get started, so if you’re looking to dip your toes in, you can do just that. If you’re more serious and you know you want software development to be your professional path and main source of income, there are educational routes you can take too. Here are three major steps you can take to start coding:
- Use free resources on the internet
There are many coding languages. A great way to start coding is to check out free online resources. There are thousands of free and affordable courses you can take that cover topics from basic HTML to complex algorithms
Coding bootcamps are short-term intensive courses that are packed with programming languages and coding how-to. These are an excellent accelerated way for enthusiasts to advance their knowledge and skill set.
- Get a bachelor’s or master’s degree
If you’re serious about becoming a professional software developer, you’ll want to enroll in a bachelor’s or master’s degree program so that you have all the skills, education, and credentials necessary to get a lucrative job and lasting career.
Pursuing higher education has many benefits. It unlocks higher salaries for graduates, opens doors to new career opportunities, provides fulfillment, and creates a path to a better, more comfortable life. Getting a degree from WGU means you get all this, plus the luxury of earning a degree at your own pace and at an affordable price. WGU’s software development program gives students all the skills they need to start a successful coding career. The reasons don’t stop there. Getting a degree from WGU means you’ll:
- Increase your earning potential
Just two years after graduation, WGU grads report earning $18,200 more per year on average. That amount increases to $25,900 on average four years post-graduation.
- Complete coursework on your own schedule
You don’t have to adhere to set class times or strict deadlines. WGU’s bachelor’s degree can truly fit into anyone’s unique lifestyle because you are in control of the pace of learning.
- Enjoy a flexible learning format
WGU’s classes are 100% online so you can learn anytime and anywhere. You can do your assignments after you get home from work, on weekends, or while you’re on vacation—it’s your call.
- Avoid breaking the bank
WGU’s degrees are far more affordable than what you’ll pay at a traditional campus-based college or university. WGU charges per term rather than per credit, so the quicker you can complete their coursework, the less you’ll pay.
- Get a world-class education
Professionals who already have a bachelor’s degree in software development or another related field should consider getting a master’s degree in information technology management to further their careers.
WGU’s online Bachelor of Science in Software Development produces graduates poised to create the future apps and programs that people across the world rely on. WGU’s bachelor’s degree gives students a solid foundation in computer programming, web development, and application development and includes multiple industry-recognized certifications.
For professionals with a bachelor’s degree, whether or not they have a background in technology, this program teaches how to work at the intersection of business needs and IT solutions. WGU’s online master’s degree in information technology is designed with help from CIOs, CTOs, and top industry experts to ensure the coursework prepares students for leadership positions and create innovative change in their field.
The salary range for software developers depends on a number of factors: experience, level of education, and type of development. On average, software development specialists make a salary of $110,140.