The Skills You Need to Become a Software Developer

A software developer's salary is expected to rise.

Similar to other in-demand IT positions such as software engineers and mobile app developers, software developers are hot in the job market.

“Software developers are an in-demand position in Nashville,” said Eric South, Robert Half Technology’s Nashville metro market manager.

He added that because many major company initiatives are now web based and understaffed, “We’re seeing very high demand in the healthcare space, specifically around EHR/EMR requirements, ICD-10 and meaningful-use deadlines.”

Demand in Nashville is echoed across the country: Software developers grabbed the No. 2 spot in U.S. News & World Report’s survey of best jobs, based on the profession’s excellent prospects for growth.

Starting software developer salary: going up

It’s not surprising given the demand for these IT professionals that a starting software developer salary is projected to increase 5 percent in 2017, with compensation ranging from $93,000-$155,000. 

You can use our Salary Calculator to adjust an entry-level software developer salary for your city.

Software developer job description

If you’re wondering what skills you need to become a software developer, here’s a list of qualifications:

  • Must be detail-oriented and have excellent problem-solving and analytical abilities.
  • Requires strong communication skills and the ability to work independently, as well as part of a development team.
  • Possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science or related field, but hiring managers may accept a two-year technical degree if combined with several years of practical experience.
  • Must have programming skills in languages and frameworks such as C#/C++, HTML, Java/Java Enterprise Edition, Microsoft .NET and SQL Server.
  • Two to three years of programming experience is required, and complex projects may require additional experience.

A typical software engineer job description includes:

  • Coding, testing and debugging programs according to computer engineering specifications
  • Modifying, expanding and updating applications
  • Communicating with a team that includes analysts, engineers and quality assurance testers in order to coordinate and document application development and testing
  • Developing software prototypes

Soft skills also key for software developers

South added that knowledge of Scrum/Agile will give candidates an advantage, as will non-technical skills such as communication skills and an entrepreneurial mindset.

When crafting your software developer resume, South says to be sure to include specific project details, timelines, successes and most the recent technologies you used.

For recent IT graduates interested in breaking into this field, South has some advice: “Start building applications and working on projects while you’re still in college. Pick a direction you want to go and become an expert (.NET, Java, SQL, etc.),” said South. “And give me a call!”

In addition to information on a starting software developer salary and a software developer job description, you’ll find information on starting compensation for 70 IT jobs in 150 North American cities in our Salary Guide.

More resources:

Note: This post has been updated. It originally appeared on 2/10/14.