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Careers Advice: How To Become a Software developer

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What is a Software developer?

The job of a software developer is to help develop, test and update software systems used by companies. This most often involves either replacing an entire system or integrating generic software into an existing system using code.

What does a Software developer do?

Software developers will spend their days:

  • Testing and reviewing current software systems

  • Developing ideas to improve them

  • Calculating the costs of these ideas

  • Presenting these ideas

  • Testing products prior to them going live

  • Creating user manuals

  • Ensuring systems continue running efficiently

Software developer Jobs


Skills & interests required for a Software developer

As a software developer you'll need to be willing to keep up to date with constant advancements, and will need expertise in computer software.

Working hours

Generally software developers work between 37 and 40 hours a week, although this may increase if specific deadlines have to be met.

Work base

An office or, if your company allows it, from home.


The travel involvement of a software developer depends on the type of job they have. For those working for a large company and based in an office, there will typically be little travel. However, for freelancers or those who work primarily for clients, travel between sites will be necessary.

Salary ranges & earning potential

Graduate software developers can expect to earn between £20,830 and £25,770 a year, increasing to between £26,000 and £70,000 once you reach management level.

For those working in London salaries tend to be higher than average.

Perks & benefits

Many companies offer bonuses to software developers for good performance, which can further supplement your income.

Education requirements

The majority of employers will expect candidates to have at least a BTEC or HND.

Having said this, a degree will help you to stand out, especially in certain related subjects (see below), and can help fast track your career through a graduate scheme.

Useful subjects to study at school & university

  • IT/Computer Science

  • Sciences

  • Mathematics

Useful resources