8 Signs You Should Consider Becoming a Software Developer (2023)

8 Signs You Should Consider Becoming a Software Developer (1)

Today, high school students seem more likely to have learned coding than cursive. Several states have formally adopted policies to give students access to computer science courses—with some even extending these offerings to middle and elementary school students! This shouldn’t come as surprise, though. Demand for tech-savvy professionals is clearly strong and doesn’t appear to be losing steam any time soon. Nearly every company relies on computer programs, applications or other underlying systems in some way. In fact, employment of software developers is projected to increase by 21 percent through 2028—more than four times the national average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).1

You know the employment opportunities are out there. But how do you know if you have what it takes for becoming a software developer? We’ve asked tech pros to identify some of the common characteristics found in successful developers. But before we get too far along, let’s first flesh out the details of what you might find in a software developer’s job description.

What does a software developer do?

Software developers are the creative forces behind the apps and programs you use daily—from your email to social media or even the underlying operating systems that allows all those programs to run.

Generally, software developers, focus on either application or system development. Software application developers design and develop computer and mobile applications that perform specific functions while systems software developers create the operating systems that support these other programs or app. Industries like the medical field, the military and the industrial goods sector often enlist systems software developers to design and build new operating systems.

No matter which path you end up taking, you’ll utilize the same traits—like analytical thinking, creativity and problem-solving. But the list doesn’t end there. We enlisted the experts to expand on some characteristics many successful software developers share.

You should consider becoming a software developer if…

1. You like working with people

Contrary to popular belief, software developers don’t spend all of their time holed up in a dark room while their eyes glaze over from prolonged screen staring. While there are certainly times when developers work alone to create their part of a project, there is a lot of time spent collaborating with others on the team, communicating about goals and strategies, and working with others to solve a problem.

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“In my company, junior developers often fix senior developers' code and that's totally okay,” says Mark Tinnelly, software developer at CardioTech. “Nobody knows everything, and we work together to share and learn from each other.” Both giving and receiving critique is a key component to making sure the technology you’re developing meets the user’s needs.

In addition to working with other software developers, you’ll be collaborating with stakeholders and clients to make sure their goals are met and they’re kept up to date with the progress of the project. “Not only is collaboration is one of the most under-looked responsibilities of a software developer, but in many software positions identifying requirements from stakeholders or clients is half of the job,” says Colin Ma, current lead strategist Study Prep Lounge and former technology consultant.

Though software development projects can take a long time, effective collaboration can make them run smoother and make reaching the end goal even more rewarding.

2. You have a knack for problem solving

A big part of coding is creating technology that solves a user’s problem. There’s also a lot of problem solving involved in the nitty gritty of the actual work in software development. You likely have a knack for problem solving if you’re apt to see connections between pieces that are not obviously connected.

If you get a thrill from looking at an issue, trying to figure out which angle to approach it from, and you don’t get discouraged along the way, software development might be a great career fit for you.

Every day, software developers solve problems—from writing code to making sure an application functions well in each architecture level. “You need to enjoy problem solving to enjoy what you’ll be doing for 8 hours a day,” advises Paul Kim, lead developer at Maples Design.

3. You’re musically inclined

Scientists have continuously drawn connections between those who love music and those who have a talent for math. While this link is still up for debate, it is easy to see how reading musical notes is similar to coding. Like learning a new language, it takes skill and plenty of practice.

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Musicians need both analytical skills and an intuitive nature to improvise music—which can also serve them well when designing a new software system or mobile app. They’re predisposed to ask questions like “how” and “why,” which can help them create a better product.

“If you like to play an instrument and read notes, you are already halfway there,” says former software developer, Alessandro Marianantoni. Like reading or composing music, software development has a lot to do with recognizing and manipulating patterns.

You’ll also notice similarities between musicians and software developers in the way they collaborate as well. “It’s like playing in a band,” says Jerry Anderson, Software Engineer at Renty.ae. “Together it’s more complicated, but the result is far more powerful.”

4. You like to see order in things

Do you arrange the dishes in your cupboards just so? Do you like the feeling of a clean, tidy, structured room? Good news! Software development is all about order and ensuring applications take steps in an order that makes logical sense.

“Having a knack for organization gives you a head start in spotting potential ways to improve your code,” notes Kim. Even if you don’t feel like your organizational skills are top notch right now, you can develop stronger organizational tendencies as you go through your classes and school. It doesn’t hurt to start developing routines and systems to help you get more organized in your daily life.

Whether your crayons were arranged in rainbow order as a child, or you get a little annoyed by your sister’s messy craft drawer, if you like organization, you might find success in software development.

5. Trying new things gives you a thrill

“Technology moves at an incredibly fast pace, and a software developer must stay on top of things and adapt to these changes,” explains Tinnelly.

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From changes in coding to company requirements, to the particulars features users want in their software, developers are constantly adapting and melding into new ways of doing things. You’ll need to stay on top of industry news, key metrics, and basics of project management and flow.

As a software developer, you can’t wait around for someone else to take initiative and teach you what you need to know. “Great developers will find different resources or talk to the right people and find the solution no matter what,” says Sanjay Patoliya of Teclogiq. This may mean doing research, seeking out mentors, courses or workshops to learn a new skill on your own. Chances are both the skill and the demonstration of your drive will go far.

6. You stay intrinsically motivated

There’s no doubt about it—coding can be tricky work. Not only are you continuously solving problems and adapting to new changes, but you’re also memorizing code, remembering company protocol and backtracking to fix mistakes you made.

“[It’s having the] willpower to stay motivated even when the going gets tough,” says Tinnelly. “When you learn to code, there will be a point where you'll feel discouraged because of all the mistakes you make. But you have to stay focused…it’s a game of patience.”

Software development can be finicky—portions of code that seemingly work perfectly on their own can go completely off the rails when interfacing with other code. Fixing these issues can take a fair amount of trial and error, so a natural sense of determination can be a big plus.

7. You enjoy puzzles and strategy

Were you the one who spent hours at the kitchen table mulling over that 10,000-piece puzzle? Coding is all about putting together the pieces of an enigma—creating a brand new program or solving problems from an old one. Writing new code often means writing, testing and then revising. There are often many moving pieces.

“Sometimes coding is about having a certain number of pieces and putting them in the right order,” explains Marianantoni.

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Like those giant, kitchen-table puzzles take persistence, so does software development. A single project can take weeks, months and even years. If you like coming up with strategic solutions and enjoy a long game, becoming a software developer could be a perfect fit for you.

8. You love technology

It may seem like a no brainer, but loving technology is a must for software developers. This is a field with people consumed by new games, programs and gadgets. But this infatuation isn’t just based on an appreciation for exciting new features or capabilities—there’s also the thrill of figuring out how all this new stuff works! Software developers are natural tinkerers and like to find ways to implement the latest and greatest innovations to their repertoire.

Can you see yourself as a software developer?

Do you see any of those qualities in yourself? If so, you may be a natural fit for working in software development. Of course, it takes more than natural tendencies to make it as a software developer—you'll need formal training as well. To learn more about how Rasmussen College can help you get there, visit the Software Application Development program page.

1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [accessed December, 2019] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Information represents national, averaged data for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2016. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2020.


What are 3 skills you need to be a software developer? ›

Here are 12 technical skills needed to become a software developer:
  • Coding languages. ...
  • Database knowledge. ...
  • Data structures and algorithms. ...
  • Source control. ...
  • Testing procedures. ...
  • Debugging knowledge. ...
  • Operating systems. ...
  • Text editing software.

How do I know if I'll enjoy coding? ›

Consider your career goals and interests. Coding could be a good option If working in technology appeals to you. If you enjoy thinking logically to solve puzzles and engaging in the creative side of your mind to develop new programs and apps, then coding could be an ideal career.

What do you think are 3 qualities of a good software developer? ›

7 Qualities That Differentiate a Great Programmer From a Good Programmer
  • A Positive Attitude.
  • Supreme Communication Skills.
  • Good Time and Task Management.
  • Quick Learning Ability.
  • Deep and Broad Technical Experience.
  • A Good Team Player.
  • Big-Picture Focus.
  • Other Things to Consider.
3 Aug 2021

How do I know if coding isn't for me? ›

Here are some signs that programming is not for you.
  1. You don't like sitting. ...
  2. No interest in solving a puzzle. ...
  3. You like repetitive tasks. ...
  4. Aversion against Googling. ...
  5. Zero patience and energy level. ...
  6. Full of ego. ...
  7. If you want to be told what to do. ...
  8. If you have never said: “There's gotta be a better way.”
3 Nov 2021

Are software developers happy? ›

Based on a small survey of 350 respondents, some 70.3 percent of developers said they were happy at work, versus 14.4 percent who said they were unhappy, and 15.3 percent who claimed indifference.

What type of person makes a good software developer? ›

The average Software Engineer tends to be pragmatic, reliable, and very organized, and may take a long time to analyze things before making a decision. The average Software Engineer tends to be confident and insightful, enjoying deep discussion to understand a particular issue.

What should a developer know? ›

This includes a programming language like C++ or Java, essential computer science concepts like data structures, algorithms and computer networking basics, essential tools like Git, Microsoft Word and Excel, skills like SQL and UNIX, editors like Eclipse or Visual Studio, and text editors.

Why programming is not for everyone? ›

Coding Is Not for Everyone

While anyone can learn how to write code, that's not the same as enjoying a long career doing something you feel like you were made for. It's entirely possible to be a talented developer and still not find a perfect fit.

What to do if I am not good at coding? ›

8 essential tips to become a better coder
  1. Remind yourself how much you have to learn. ...
  2. Stop trying to prove yourself right. ...
  3. “The code works” isn't where you stop; it's where you start. ...
  4. Write it three times. ...
  5. Read code. ...
  6. Write code, and not just as assignments. ...
  7. Work one-on-one with other developers any way you can.
21 Jul 2021

How much math is used in coding? ›

Of course you need some basic math concepts, like calculus or algebra, or logic, but the very basics if it. You don't need to know any of complex numbers, probability, equations, graphs, exponential and logarithm, limits, derivatives, integration, differential equations and so on.

What are your weaknesses as a developer? ›

  • 8 Weaknesses That Shaped Me To Become a Better Developer. ...
  • Cannot Articulate Without Substance. ...
  • Poor Command in Verbal Communication. ...
  • The Urge To Know All Details as Much as Possible. ...
  • Never the Brilliant One; It Takes Time to Learn. ...
  • I Am Forgetful … ...
  • Lacking Confidence and Feeling Incompetent.
21 Jun 2021

What are the top 3 things that make a successful developer? ›

7 top qualities that make a successful software developer
  • Be a team player. Engineers who are team players are much more likely to be successful in their careers than lone-wolf types. ...
  • Stay humble. ...
  • Practice makes perfect. ...
  • Invest in your own work. ...
  • Keep an eye on the bigger picture. ...
  • Stay curious. ...
  • Pay strong attention to detail.
28 Aug 2017

What skills do you need as a developer? ›

Key skills for software developers
  • Mathematical aptitude.
  • Problem-solving skills.
  • Programming languages (different types of developer role require different languages)
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail.

How hard is programming? ›

Programming has a reputation for being one of the most difficult disciplines to master. Considering how different it is from traditional forms of education, including college degrees in computer science, it's not hard to see why some people have difficulty learning how to code.

What is the difference between programming and coding? ›

Coding is a part of programming that deals with writing codes that a machine can understand. Programming is a process that creates programs that involve the ratification of codes. Coding requires basic knowledge of programming skills without any software tools.

Can anyone be a programmer? ›

Anyone who wants to *can *learn to code and reap some real benefits from it. Coding skills are used every day by many, many people who aren't full-time software engineers. And despite what you might have heard, you don't have to be a “math person” or a “STEM person” to learn to program.

What is the happiest career? ›

Take one step outside and chances are you'll see many buildings that construction workers finished. Construction workers are the #1 happiest job for a reason—they do what humans are built for! They plan, move and use their bodies, and get to see their creative works come to life.

Are programmers smart? ›

A good programmer who is well grounded in his profession and knows how to tackle problems with self written code can be considered smart in the real world. However, you don't need to be highly intelligent, or have a high IQ, to get started in programming.

How stressful is being a software developer? ›

Surprisingly, the job of a software engineer is relaxed and with low levels of stress despite the many challenges that come along in the profession such as working long hours, working on legacy code, dealing with bad managers, or having tough clients.

What to learn first in coding? ›

Languages for beginners
  1. Java. Java is one of the oldest object-oriented languages and one of the most sought-after languages to be proficient in. ...
  2. JavaScript. JavaScript is one of the most commonly used programming languages in the world. ...
  3. Python. ...
  4. Kotlin. ...
  5. C# ...
  6. R. ...
  7. Web developer. ...
  8. Front-end developer.
9 Jun 2022

What should I learn first before programming? ›

14 Step Roadmap for Beginner Developers
  • Familiarize Yourself with Computer Architecture and Data Basics.
  • Learn How Programming Languages Work.
  • Understand How the Internet Works.
  • Practice Some Command-Line Basics.
  • Build Up Your Text Editor Skills with Vim.
  • Take-up Some HTML.
  • Tackle Some CSS.
  • Start Programming with JavaScript.
6 Oct 2021

What should I learn first to become a programmer? ›

Most programmers would agree that high-level scripting languages are relatively easy to learn. JavaScript falls into this category, along with Python and Ruby. Even though universities still teach languages like Java and C++ as first languages, they're considerably harder to learn.

What is a developer personality? ›

Developer Personality Traits

Developers are naturally motivated by goals and take a results-oriented mind-set, clearing away obstacles and making necessary changes to achieve success.

What are some personality traits of a software developer? ›

Software Developer Characteristics
  • Technical Skill. ...
  • Computer Science Fundamentals. ...
  • The Ability to Self-Manage. ...
  • A Consultant Mindset. ...
  • Curiosity & Love of Learning. ...
  • A Passion for Development. ...
  • Strong Communication Skills. ...
  • The Ability to be a Good Team Member.
26 Jun 2015

What kind of personality is a software engineer? ›

The top MBTI personality types found in software engineering careers are ISTJ and INTJ. The ISTJ is known as the Inspector, and the INTJ is known as the Mastermind. Both types are introverted (meaning they recharge best on their own), analytical, and prefer clear direction or rules.

How do I start as a developer? ›

9 tips for getting a job as a software developer
  1. Learn a programming language. ...
  2. Figure out your end goals. ...
  3. Pursue a degree or take courses. ...
  4. Start practicing in your developer niche. ...
  5. Make a portfolio of your software development work. ...
  6. Develop your technical skills. ...
  7. Build your non-technical skills. ...
  8. Certify your skills.
10 Aug 2022

Which language is best for software engineer? ›

Python and C++ are two of the best programming languages for software development, though each language has its ideal uses. Python is versatile in its practical applications; developers often use it to power artificial intelligence, machine learning, web, and development.

What skills should a software engineer have? ›

How to Become a Software Engineer: Software Engineer Skills
  • The ability to analyze complex technical information.
  • The ability to analyze business requirements and assess impact within the existing database architecture.
  • Good research skills.
  • Be an excellent problem solver.
  • Have experience building software applications.
11 Oct 2022

Is being a software developer hard? ›

Yes, software engineering can be somewhat hard to learn initially – especially for those without programming or coding skills or any background or knowledge of tech – but there are many courses, tools, and other resources available to help people learn to become a Software Engineer.

Why do I want to be a software developer? ›

As a Software Developer you constantly provide solutions for users' problems. You can be working on the occasional quick fix as well as more complex strategic solutions. Some problem-solving skills required to be a Software Developer include being able to split complex goals into smaller, more manageable ones.

What do I need to be a software developer? ›

Software developers typically need a bachelor's degree in software engineering, computer science, or a similar field. Some of the senior-level roles may necessitate a master's degree.

Is software developer a good career? ›

Software development is an excellent career choice by any measure. It's a high-paying and growing field, there are plenty of jobs, and workers report positive job satisfaction.

Are programmers smart? ›

A good programmer who is well grounded in his profession and knows how to tackle problems with self written code can be considered smart in the real world. However, you don't need to be highly intelligent, or have a high IQ, to get started in programming.

Is being a developer fun? ›

Yes, being a software developer is a fun job.

This is because the job allows for variety, both for your projects and your schedule. Software engineering can be creative and cutting edge. For example, you can work on projects in anything from mobile development to web applications, or even make video games all day.

Do you need to be smart to be a programmer? ›

In general, you don't need to be smart to be a programmer. Becoming a programmer is not an easy challenge and it can take years to get to the point where you know enough to develop software or applications on your own.

What are the disadvantages of being a software developer? ›

5 Drawbacks Of A Job In Software Development

Juggling an overwhelming amount of projects. Working consistent overtime and non-traditional business hours such as nights, weekends and holidays. Constant demand to refresh current skills or up-skill to new technologies. Need to carve your own career path and growth plan.

What makes you a good software developer? ›

Good software developers aren't just focused on their part of the job; they are interested in the big picture. They want to know how the software they're working on will impact the end-user; they show interest in marketing and sales, they pay attention to how their decisions affect the whole team.

What are the perks of being a software developer? ›

Why become a software developer
  • Access to education. One reason to become a software developer is access to education. ...
  • High demand. Software developers are in high demand. ...
  • Career options. ...
  • Remote work. ...
  • Travel. ...
  • High salary. ...
  • Working collaboratively and individually. ...
  • Always learning.

Who gets paid more software engineer or developer? ›

Who earns more: software engineer or developer? Software developers are in charge of developing applications. They make more money—an average base salary of $107,000 per year—but their education takes longer, as many software engineers have advanced degrees, such as a master's degree in computer information technology.

What do software developers do on a daily basis? ›

On a day-to-day basis, a software developer helps create and test software from start to finish. They discuss and analyze user requests and requirements, then research and brainstorm practical solutions to meet those needs, and determine the best course of action to create the application.

How long does IT take to be a software developer? ›

How long does it take to become a software engineer? Most software engineering jobs require at least a bachelor's degree, which takes four years of full-time study. Some employers prefer candidates with a master's, which requires an additional two years of study.

Why is software development so difficult? ›

Three of the many reasons as to why developing and ultimately delivering software is difficult are: a development team misunderstanding the purpose of the software they're building; the business or customer not knowing what they want (or their own processes); and developers selecting less-than-optimal technologies as ...

Is software development a stressful job? ›

Surprisingly, the job of a software engineer is relaxed and with low levels of stress despite the many challenges that come along in the profession such as working long hours, working on legacy code, dealing with bad managers, or having tough clients.

Which degree is best for software developer? ›

If you want to be a software developer, an applied computer science bachelor's degree will make you stand out to employers. Software developers in the field recommend completing a curriculum that emphasizes soft skills in addition to technical knowledge of tools, algorithms, and data structures.


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