Career Choice: Software Developer

Career Choice: Software Developer
  • Opening Intro -

    Systems-level software developers remain in great demand, individuals skilled at creating, designing and testing software for a variety of computer application purposes.


These professionals are needed in many industries including military, medical, industrial, aviation and scientific fields. The pay scale is well above the national average and employment opportunities are many.


Every computer program you encounter is the work of a software developer. These professionals conceive programs and applications that people use when working on a computer, a tablet or a handheld device.

Some software developers work behind the scenes, developing the systems that control networks or enable devices to run. All developers should possess strong critical thinking and active listening skills, with the ability to handle complex problem solving and operational analysis.


A bachelor’s degree in computer science can set you up for a career as a software developer. Degrees in mathematics or software engineering can also make it possible for you to work as a software developer.

A solid foundation in computer programming is essential for this position. The ability to write code can also enhance the software developer’s job prospects. Developers must keep up with the latest tools and computer languages, and should be familiar with the industry that employs them. For example, software developers working in the automotive industry should possess knowledge about cars and the way that they operate. Some employers require candidates to have a master’s degree.


The median wage for software developers was $99,000 as of 2012 accordion to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.. Wages have been rising steadily in recent years with the salary average at $96,600 in 2011 and $94,180 in 2010.

The latest BLS salary breakdown for all percentiles is as of 2011. Those in the 10th percentile averaged $62,500 per year to $77,700 per year for professionals in the 25th percentile. Software developers in the 75th percentile earned $120,500 per year on average in 2011, while those in the 90th percentile earned $147,000 per year on average.

Salaries were highest in California, where the average wage for all software developers was $113,300 per year reports the BLS. Virginia followed at $109,500 per year with New Hampshire professionals averaging $105,800 pear year. Experienced professionals in New Jersey and Massachusetts could also expect to earn a six-figure income.

Salaries were lowest in Wyoming, averaging close to the 10th percentile nationally at $66,200 per year. Well below average wages were also reported in North Dakota, West Virginia, Montana and South Dakota.

Job Outlook

Strong demand will continue for software developers, a job field that seems to have no limits. According to the BLS, the greatest demand for these professionals will be in several areas including mobile technology and the healthcare industry. Security software is expected to grow in demand as well as wherever cyber security issues weigh in.

The BLS has forecast job growth of 30 percent from 2010 to 2020 or more than twice the average for all jobs. Those professionals that remain up to date with the latest languages and programming tools are the most sought after by employers.


O*Net OnLine: 15-1133.00 – Software Developers, Systems Software

US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook: Software Developers —

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Categories: Career Planning