Bookmark this page

What to expect from life as a software developer

The Day to Day

As a software developer your main task will be to create programs aimed at increasing business efficiency and helping to provide end users with a better experience. You’ll be responsible for designing, installing, testing and maintaining your companies’ software systems.

Different companies have different requirements and so your goals can range dramatically. From writing and coding new programs for one project, to developing new programs from scratch in the next, to modifying and integrating “off the shelf” software to fit with the existing set up and needs of the business at other times.

In order to achieve these goals you will probably be asked to review current set ups to determine what needs to be done before presenting your ideas as to how to improve the system. Moving on from here you’re likely to get involved closely with the analysts, designers and other members of the team in order to put together detailed specifications for the programs and writing the code.

Once the code is written your job doesn’t stop there! In most companies you will also be responsible for testing your work and ensuring it is ready to go live. Although you might be an expert user of your new program, there’s now going to be a number of people who aren’t but who are going to need to be able to use it – so normally developers will put together training manuals to make their product usable!

Now your program is live, you’ll need to look after it! Your employer will expect you to keep it maintained and up to date – any problems, it’s going to be your job to fix it!

Opportunities

Software developers are some of the lucky few to have a whole host of opportunities available to them. A third of IT jobs are based in development and programming which means software developers aren’t restricted to particular industries. The opportunities are also there to go abroad or choose from permanent, temporary or consultant contracts.

Where can you expect to be in 5 years?

The natural chain of progression for software developers sees you moving up to senior or principal developer before progressing on to a project management role. If that isn’t where you want to be, you can make the most of your transferable skills and look at moving into related fields such as systems design, business systems analysis or IT architecture.

Working life

As is normal for permanent staff you can expect to work between 37 and 40 hours a week, however with software developing, time scales are often set in stone and so when deadlines are approaching its likely you would be expected to stay for the duration –including evenings and weekends – to get the job done.

Salary expectations

For an IT graduate job or entry level position you should expect to start your career as a software developer earning between £20,830 and £25,770, dependant on location and your level of experience/ qualification levels etc. As you progress up the chain towards management level, you’re likely to see you salary rise to between £26,000 (low management) and £70,000 (high management with experience). These figures can be bumped with bonuses. As you would probably expect, London IT jobs tend to receive the higher salaries.