How to Become a Software Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide (2023)

Software developersare the creative minds that build the digital worlds we inhabit.They conceive of, design, and execute the applications and systems that connect us, entertain us, and let us work.
Technology is also an incredible field to be in right now. Software developers are in high demand, and the demand is only growing. The pay is often fantastic, and top developers are competed over by some of the biggest companies in the world.
If you’re looking for consistent and well-paid work, being a qualified and competent developer is a great way to go.
In this article, we’ll give you a guide to how to become a software developer. We’ll give a brief rundown of what developers do, and help you understand the world you’re seeking to inhabit.
We’ll then give you some ideas on how to learn to code, then walk you through how to land that dream jobas a software developer.


(Video) Guide To Becoming A Self-Taught Software Developer

  • What Is a Software Developer?
  • Identifying What You Want to Do
  • How to Become a Software Developer: Coding Is Key
  • Landing a Job
  • Starting a Career in Software Development

What Is a Software Developer?

Software developers are the people who make computers do what they do. There are two very basic types of software developers.
Applications developers build the programs, apps, and games you love, and systems developers build the framework and underlying systems that either run the devices you play those apps on, or the networks that connect the devices together.
To use a sports metaphor: Applications developers are in charge of the action on the field. Systems developers are working on the arena.
According to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developeremployment is likely to grow 24% between 2016 and 2026, which the report says is “much faster than the average for all occupations.”
The same report says that the median annual wage for software developersis over $100,000, as of May 2018. (System developers tend to make a bit more than applications developers, but not by much, and both have a median income over $100K.)
This is a job that pays well, and there’s a high demand for it, one that’s only going to grow, making it a fantastic field to be in.

Identifying What You Want to Do

Before you dive into becoming a software developer, you need to refine your focus and figure out exactly what it is you want to do in the field.
Say you love online applications and want to focus on web development. (Web developersare software developerswho exclusively focus on web applicationsor systems.) That’s a great start, as you know you want to focus on apps — as opposed to systems — and you want to work in the web space.
There are still more questions you need to answer, however, before you dive in to what you want to study and work toward.

Programming Languages

One of the main questions a software developer must answer is what kind of language she wants to build in.
Just like people in different countries use different languages to communicate, there are multiple computer languages that allow software applications and information systems to communicate with one another. As such, there are different types of developer jobs available.
The list of programming languagesis daunting. There are ones you might have heard of: Java(or JavaScript), C++, and Python. There are ones you probably haven’t heard of: Nemerle and DIBOL, to pick two from this comprehensive list.
Some programming languageswork with specific operating systems, others are built for online processes.
When looking at what language to learn first, your best bet is to stick to the biggest and most popular. Java, C++, Ruby, and Python are great starting points.
Still confused? This infographicasks you what you care about and what you want to do, then makes recommendations about which language to learn first.

(Video) The 5 Steps To Become A Software Engineer

Front End, Back End, and Full Stack

When looking at how to become a software developer, it’s important to knowwhat part of the software process you’ll want to work on. These specialties are referred to as front end, back end, and full stack.
A front enddeveloper is focused on what the user of the software sees and interacts with. They are committed to providing a great user experience (UX) by cleanly and clearly presenting the software’s functions and features. They will often work with graphic designers and UX experts to create beautiful software and make it intuitive for users to understand.
Back endcoders are doing the behind-the-scenes work. While they may not be too concerned with the outward facing parts of software, they’re deeply focused on making sure whatever the user wants to do is executed properly. Back endcoders are working in the engine room, making sure everything is running smoothly.
A full stackcoder does it all, front endand back end. While being a full stackcoder is fantastic, it takes time to build toward, and for a new programmer, we recommend focusing on one side of the process to start.

How to Become a Software Developer: Coding Is Key

How to Become a Software Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide (1)
You’ve identified whether you want to focus on applications or systems. You’ve locked onto a coding language you want to master. You know whether you want to become a front endor back endexpert. It’s time to get learning.


If you’re in high school and reading this, the best bet to get an incredible education in software engineering is to go after a bachelor’s degree in computer science at a traditional four year college.
Having a computer science degree (or CS degree) is a great way to learn a lot, and signal to potential employers that you were trained well and deeply in the field.
If you want to bolster that degree, many colleges also offer Master’s degree programsin information technologyor computer engineering.
If you weren’t lucky enough to figure out what you wanted to do in high schoolor college, and are now out in the real world, have no fear. There are still great ways to learn how to code.

(Video) How To Become A Software Developer In Tamil - A Step-By-Step Guide - Software Development

Coding Bootcamps

There are many different freelance coding classes that are ripe for the picking.
Coding bootcampscan be short — an evening or a weekend — and allow coders to either get started or pick up some new tricks. You can find them in your area simply by using Googleto search “coding bootcamp” and your city.
There are also new, more intensive coding bootcampsthat can last weeks or even months. These programs, run by companies like General Assemblyand Hack Reactor, tend to be aimed at working professionals who want to get a new start in software development. Classes are on nights or weekends, and are meant to give you a full coding education, and then help you find a job.
These programs will work directly with recruitersto land you a job after you’ve completed the course. While they can be expensive, many of these programs guarantee employment and allow you to pay with a portion of your eventual earnings over your first few years.

Teaching Yourself

Got a drive and like going it alone? You can always teach yourself how to code. There are plenty of online tutorials available at sites like Udemy, and YouTube can teach you plenty if you’re committed.
GitHubis a site that encourages both budding and established web developersto hang out, collaborate, and share open sourcecode. Poking around there can open your eyes to all sorts of interesting projects, and can let you see coding in action and in real time.
Likewise, Stack Overflowis a question-and-answer website that lets anyone in software developmentask questions and help each other out with tricky problems. Whether you’re stuck on a problem in beginner JAVAor have a high-level UX question you can’t solve, Stack Overflowwill probably have some answers for you.
Lastly, no matter where you live, there are often local meet-ups with people sharing know how, collaborating on different projects, and bonding over their love of computers.

Landing a Job

How to Become a Software Developer: A Step-by-Step Guide (2)
When it comes to landing your first job in software development, it helps to come in with appropriate expectations. You probably aren’t walking into a full-timejob with Microsoftas your first gig, no matter how good you may be.
Landing an entry leveljob in any field is tough, and in software development, it can be even harder if you don’t have a college degreein computer scienceor a related field. The good news is that the demand for software developersis high and only growing. If you’re good, you’ll find something.
The way to start is really just to start looking. Traditional job boards like Monster.comor Indeedwill have plenty of developer jobs listed, but there are also plenty of specialized developer job sites like
Know what you’re good at, know what you want to do, and start hunting.
The jargon that permeates the tech world complicates job hunting, especially in the recruiting field. A software engineering jobmay be labeled “software designninja” at one company and “UX wizard” at another company, and both describe exactly the same position. Make sure to read job descriptions carefully.
When it comes to your job interview, be open and honest. Explain your experience level and why you love web development. Research the company you want to work for and let them know how, or why, you believe in their mission. You’re going to do great.

(Video) Become a Web Developer in 2021 (Legit Step By Step Guide)

Starting a Career in Software Development

If you demonstrate problem-solving skills and love working on computers, you may be able to thrive in a career in software development.

Understanding the world you want to inhabit, and getting trained on how to code, will help you get your foot in the door. After that, it’s on you to follow your passion, meet people in the community, practice, improve, and land that dream job.


What are the steps to become a software 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

Why do you want to become a software developer * Your answer? ›

"I want to be a software developer because I've worked hard to develop skills that are relevant to this industry and because this type of work brings me personal satisfaction. I've gained a lot of practical experience since graduating high school.

Can you teach yourself to become a software developer? ›

If you've made the decision to pursue a career as a software developer, there are a number of paths you can take to achieve your goal. Teaching yourself, earning a certification, or enrolling in college to earn a degree are all steps you can take—either one or any combination of the three can help you get the job done.

Is computer science hard? ›

The short answer is “yes.” Search any list of majors to study, and you'll likely find that computer science tops the list as one of the most challenging disciplines to learn. Compared to other fields of study, pursuing a career in computer science requires both technical and analytical skill sets.

What do I need to learn to become a developer? ›

What skills do you need to become a developer?
  • Coding and programming. Professional developers specialise in at least one programming language, though most have a knowledge of several. ...
  • Collaboration. Developers work closely with project managers, analysts, designers and clients. ...
  • Testing and maintaining. ...
  • Problem-solving.

What makes a good software developer? ›

Writing clean code and building performant software is an art. And art requires discipline. Successful developers are driven by a steadfast commitment to the organization and product. They show up, put in the hard work, take responsibility, and make amends when things go wrong.

Why do I want to become a 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.

Is software developer hard? ›

Software engineering is challenging to learn from scratch — but with a bootcamp, even industry newcomers can build a strong knowledge base and ready themselves for an entry-level role quickly if they are willing to put in the time, hard work, and dedication.

Is software engineering a lot of math? ›

Despite its name, software engineering does not require math. At least, it doesn't require as much math as you might think. There are numbers and problem-solving, but you won't have to break out your AP Calculus certificate or trigonometry textbook to program—or engineer—software.

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 education does a Software Developer need? ›

Software developers must earn a bachelor's degree in a relevant area of study. Most employers require a degree in software development, though some remain open to other areas including computer science, computer programming, and related disciplines.

What is a Software Developer salary? ›

ZAR 28KZAR 139K. Most Likely Range. Possible Range. The estimated total pay for a Software Developer is ZAR 72,417 per month in the Johannesburg, South Africa Area area, with an average salary of ZAR 32,417 per month.

What's the hardest degree? ›

The hardest degree subjects are Chemistry, Medicine, Architecture, Physics, Biomedical Science, Law, Neuroscience, Fine Arts, Electrical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Economics, Education, Computer Science and Philosophy. Let's dive right in, and look at why these subjects are the hardest degree subjects.

Is learning coding hard? ›

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.

Which computer degree is best? ›

Best tech degrees for high-paying jobs
  1. Information technology. Information technology (IT) is the study of how people use technology and computing systems to manage data and information. ...
  2. Computer science. ...
  3. Web development. ...
  4. Web design. ...
  5. Computer networking. ...
  6. System administration. ...
  7. Database management. ...
  8. Cybersecurity.

How do I become a software developer with no experience? ›

How to get a programming job with no experience
  1. Improve your coding skills. ...
  2. Create a portfolio. ...
  3. Build your online presence. ...
  4. Network with other programmers. ...
  5. Earn certifications. ...
  6. Take part in coding challenges or competitions. ...
  7. Write a strong resume. ...
  8. Build projects.
12 May 2022

What is the job of a software developer? ›

A Software Developer designs and builds computer programs that power mobile devices, desktop computers, and even cars. They not only identify user needs but also create new applications for any given market while making improvements based on feedback from users.

How long does it take to become 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.

How do I become a successful developer? ›

7 Habits of highly successful developers
  1. Writing clean code. The first good habit that has the potential to make you a successful developer is to write a clean code. ...
  2. Learning continuously. ...
  3. Discipline and Persistence. ...
  4. Knowing their forte. ...
  5. Open for new things. ...
  6. Paying attention to details. ...
  7. Having end product in mind all the time.

How can I improve my software skills? ›

How to improve software engineering skills
  1. Attend training courses. It might be worth attending training sessions that help you learn new programming techniques. ...
  2. Strengthen your problem-solving skills. ...
  3. Communicate with the team. ...
  4. Find a mentor. ...
  5. Set weekly goals. ...
  6. Read more about coding.
21 Apr 2022

What skills do you need to be good at coding? ›

9 Hard Skills Programmers Need
  • Data structures and algorithms.
  • Database and SQL.
  • Object-oriented programming (OOP) languages.
  • Integrated development environments (IDEs)
  • Cloud computing.
  • Web development.
  • Containers.
  • Text editors.

How do I know if software engineering is for me? ›

You should consider becoming a software developer if…
  1. You like working with people. ...
  2. You have a knack for problem solving. ...
  3. You're musically inclined. ...
  4. You like to see order in things. ...
  5. Trying new things gives you a thrill. ...
  6. You stay intrinsically motivated. ...
  7. You enjoy puzzles and strategy. ...
  8. You love technology.
20 Jan 2020

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.

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.

How do I sell a pen? ›

How to sell a pen in an interview
  1. Ask the interviewer about their job. ...
  2. Establish a link between the interviewer's job and the product. ...
  3. Highlight the emotional value of the product. ...
  4. Convince them that they need the product. ...
  5. Close the deal by selling them the product.
2 Aug 2021

What is your dream job? ›

Describe a job in general

Example: “My dream job would allow me to make a positive impact on people every day. I would love to work for a company like yours that makes time-saving and life-enriching products that thousands of people use every day.

What are your career goals? ›

Career goals are targets. Things, positions, situations related to your professional life that you have set your mind on achieving. They can be short-term, like getting a promotion or certification, or they can be long-term, like running your own successful business or being an executive at your dream company.

Is being a developer fun? ›

If you're considering software development as a degree choice, the good news is that it can be a great deal of fun for those who love puzzles, problem solving, and technology. Here's a brief look at what a software developer does and the type of person who would be most enjoy working in this profession.

Are software engineers 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.

Does software development require math? ›

Yes. If you look at a list of required coursework for a degree in software engineering, you'll typically see Calculus I-III, Differential Equations, Discrete Mathematics, Linear Algebra, and other advanced math classes.

Can I learn coding by myself? ›

Teach Yourself to Code

It's true that you can learn programming languages on your own, but it won't be easy. Coding is a highly technical job that entails different algorithms and complex data structures. On the flip side, learning by yourself allows you to set the pace of your education.

Does software developer need coding? ›

Software engineering never focuses exclusively on coding. However, you should know at least a couple of languages, and a deeper understanding of how they will function. There is no common agreement on which languages are most useful.

What subjects should I choose for software engineering? ›

Pursue Computer Science Related Fields and Degree

Data Structures, Algorithms, Web Technology, Computer Networks, Mathematics, Database System, Programming Languages and a lot of major subjects help students to have a comprehensive understanding of software engineering and modern approaches of software development.

What code should I learn first? ›

Python is always recommended if you're looking for an easy and even fun programming language to learn first. Rather than having to jump into strict syntax rules, Python reads like English and is simple to understand for someone who's new to programming.

Which software is used for coding? ›

Comparison of the best Coding Software
Tool NameProgramming LanguagesCost
Notepad++PHP JavaScript HTML CSSFree
BracketsJavaScript HTML CSSFree
Visual Studio CodeSupports many languages like C++, Java, TypeScript, JSON and many more.Free
VimSupports many programming languages.Free
6 more rows
24 Sept 2022

What is the hardest programming language? ›

Haskell. The language is named after a mathematician and is usually described to be one of the hardest programming languages to learn. It is a completely functional language built on lambda calculus.

How long does it take to become 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.

How can I become a Software Developer after 12th? ›

  1. B. Tech Computer Science is a very popular course at the undergraduate level. ...
  2. B. Tech in Software Engineering is a popular choice for those who want to go into the Engineering field. ...
  3. Bachelor of Computer Applications , also known as BCA, is one of the more popular three-year software developer courses after 12th.
8 Jul 2022

What is a Software Developer salary? ›

ZAR 28KZAR 139K. Most Likely Range. Possible Range. The estimated total pay for a Software Developer is ZAR 72,417 per month in the Johannesburg, South Africa Area area, with an average salary of ZAR 32,417 per month.

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.

Is becoming a software developer hard? ›

Software engineering is challenging to learn from scratch — but with a bootcamp, even industry newcomers can build a strong knowledge base and ready themselves for an entry-level role quickly if they are willing to put in the time, hard work, and dedication.

Is software engineer 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.

Does software developer need coding? ›

Software engineering never focuses exclusively on coding. However, you should know at least a couple of languages, and a deeper understanding of how they will function. There is no common agreement on which languages are most useful.

What subjects do you need for software developer? ›

Subjects to consider include:
  • Maths.
  • Computer science.
  • Physics.
  • Engineering.
  • Chemistry.

Which course is best for software jobs? ›

Top 10 Software Development Courses to Learn in 2022
  • Mobile App Development.
  • Web Programming/Web Design.
  • Artificial Intelligence.
  • Data Analytics.
  • DevOps.
  • UI/UX Development.
  • Database Administration.
  • Cyber Security.

Can I become a software engineer without maths? ›

Yes you can become a software engineer if you have not taken maths in your class 12th. But you must understand that without maths you will not be able to pursue Bachelor of technology course as this course requires physics, chemistry and mainly mathematics. So, mathematics is a must subject.

Which job has highest salary? ›

  1. Medical Professionals (Doctors and Surgeons) Healthcare offers one of the highest salary jobs in India. ...
  2. Data Scientist. ...
  3. Machine Learning Experts. ...
  4. Blockchain Developer. ...
  5. Full Stack Software Developer. ...
  6. Product Management. ...
  7. Management Consultant. ...
  8. Investment Banker.
3 days ago

Which developer has highest salary? ›

Highest Paying Programming Jobs
  • Full-Stack Developer. Source: QAwithExperts. ...
  • Cloud Architect. Source: TechTarget. ...
  • Data Scientist. ...
  • Machine Learning Engineer. ...
  • Database Developer. ...
  • IT Specialist. ...
  • DevOps Engineer. ...
  • AI Engineer.
5 Aug 2022

What do software developers study? ›

Computer science is the most common degree that software developers choose when starting their career. When you get a degree in computer science, you will primarily study the exact skills that you will use on a daily basis as a developer.

What skills do software engineers need? ›

You'll want to focus on developing these core skills.
  • Computer Programming and Coding. ...
  • Software Development. ...
  • Object-Oriented Design (OOD) ...
  • Software Testing and Debugging. ...
  • Problem Solving and Logical Thinking. ...
  • Written and Verbal Communication. ...
  • Teamwork. ...
  • Find a Home for Your Software Engineering Skills.

Why is coding so hard? ›

What Makes Programming Difficult To Learn? The major reason why programming is considered difficult to learn is primarily due to the complexity of the instructions that computers comprehend. You can't give computers instructions in English or any other human language.


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