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CAREER GUIDE Bachelor of Science, Software Development

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Career guide: software development.

Think about the number of times each day you come in contact with devices and services that depend on software applications to function. From our computers and mobile devices to the cars we drive, the games we play and the ways we access information, software is at the core of how we live our technology-driven lives. It's easy to understand why the demand is so great for highly skilled software developers who have the knowledge and skills to create and maintain today's complex computer programs and applications. In fact in today's market, for every active job candidate in this dynamic field, there are 10 jobs posted for software developers.

Some software developers create the applications that allow people to do tasks on computers or other devices. Others develop the underlying operating systems that run the devices or control networks. In all cases, the role of the developer is to understand the specific needs being requested, then design, test and develop software that meets those needs. It's a wildly diverse industry offering opportunities for careers that can often be tailored to your particular area of interest. Are you a gamer? Are you intrigued by the idea of developing apps for cell phones? Do you have an interest in creating the next great social networking platform? A career in software development might be the stepping-stone that leads to the realization of your dream.

Job listing growth 2016–2026.

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Career opportunities.

If you are a natural problem solver with the technical expertise to carry out innovative ideas, your skills are in demand throughout a range of industries, including computer systems design, electronic product manufacturing and finance. You'll need a strong background in computer programming, and you'll want to keep your credentials up-to-date by learning new tools and computer languages as they develop in response to the needs of the marketplace. Fortunately, pursuing and maintaining your education can help keep your software developer resume polished and ready to take advantage of the growing demand for positions like:

Positions in the field.

  • Computer programmer
  • Computer hardware engineer
  • Web developer
  • Computer network architect
  • Computer systems designer
“WGU’s advantage is its flexibility. The education itself is top-notch, and the flexibility allows busy people to get through school. I recommend WGU to everybody, particularly in IT fields. The certifications you get at WGU are fantastic—some of the best in the industry.” Ken Krauss
M.S. Information Security and Assurance, 2015

Job market forecast.

In today's world, software developer careers are in hot demand, and the market shows no sign of cooling off. Mobile technology continues to require new applications, the healthcare industry is rapidly expanding its dependence on digital technology and security of our electronic infrastructure continues to be a priority. This perfect storm of supply and demand has the Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasting job growth of 24% for software developers from 2016 to 2026.

Job growth 2016–2026.

Work environment.

Some software developers work for themselves as freelancers, but most are employed by businesses, government agencies or non-profit organizations. They might be responsible for writing or updating computer code, adding functionality to an app or fixing bugs in an existing application. Typically, they work in teams and focus on weekly or bi-weekly goals. The job is office-based and generally does not require working late or weekend hours. Occasional travel to a client's office may be required.

Professional organizations.

The field of software development continues to expand, and there are lots of places to learn more about whether it's the right career move for you

Job search resources.

Find out how far education and training can take you in your pursuit of a career in software development. These links can help you discover what it's like to be at the forefront of an ever-expanding field:

Salary stats.

It pays to be a software developer in today's technology-dependent society, at least according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states that the median annual wage for software developers was $103,560 in May of 2017. Factor in a few years of experience while keeping your skills current with industry standards, and the future looks even brighter, as forecasts an even loftier future for software engineers.

Average salary of jobs with related titles.


Software developers are in high demand, and the industry continues to expand at a rapid pace, meaning opportunities should remain plentiful well into the future. Whether you're just starting out or looking to advance your career, keeping your software developer resume up-to-date with industry-current skills and certifications can be key to your success.

About 50% of today's software developers have a bachelor's degree, and many curriculums offer software development courses that are specific in nature to a particular area of the industry.

Next Start Date.

Jun 1

Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!


Your career’s next step: Earn a degree.

Ready to jump-start your career in Software Development? The next step could be earning your B.S. Software Development. Accredited, competency-based WGU offers this degree online for at a surprisingly affordable flat-rate tuition. Flexible enough for a working adult’s schedule with the option to accelerate, your degree may be closer than you think!