The median salary for software developers is $105,590 per year and the field is growing much faster than average at 24% due to a rapid increase in the demand for software. Software developers usually have a bachelor's degree in computer science, software engineering, mathematics or a related field and strong computer programming skills. Some software developers work in contract positions or from remote locations, so this may be a great career possibility for you as a military spouse.
As a software developer, you should have a passion for code and be able to code in several languages. It is important to be able to improve code without changing what it does and be willing to leverage existing code to save time and development effort. You must also create and use quality tests to make sure the code you develop is bug-free.
Other qualities important for a successful software developer include the following:
- Attention to detail
- Business and technical expertise
- People and communication skills
The two main types of software developers are:
- Application software developers design computer applications, such as word processors, games, databases and more.
- Systems software developers create the systems that keep computers functioning properly, including operations systems and systems interfaces.
Education and training
To learn more about software development careers, review the Research Occupations tool on MySECO and investigate your options. Take SECO self-assessments to make sure your skills and interests align with your career choice. Talk to others in the field and get their feedback.
Once you have made the decision to pursue a career as a software developer, you can explore the many tools and resources on MySECO to assist with education planning. College Scorecard is a great starting point for researching and selecting an education institution. You can also use the Scholarship Finder on MySECO to locate funding relevant to the military community to help pay for classes. See if you are eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship to help with education or licensure costs.
If you’re concerned about the cost or time it takes to get a degree, think about completing a two-year associate degree, possibly in computer programming or computer science through a community college, technical school or university. Try to find a program where the credits you earn will transfer toward your bachelor's degree. With an associate degree, you may find employment, earn income and start gaining experience until you're ready to complete your bachelor's degree.
Once you've met the education and experience requirements to become a software developer, it's time to find a job in your occupation. One of the first places to look is the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search. Hundreds of partner employers have made the commitment to recruit, hire, promote and retain military spouses in portable careers. Visit the MSEP Job Search to find open positions with committed employers.
Consider volunteering, if possible, or doing an internship. Tell family, friends, coworkers and all others that you are hoping to work in software development and ask for contacts they might have who can help you build and expand your network.
Professional organizations and networking
Join a professional organization in your chosen field to gain a better understanding of current industry practices and policies. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Network with other professionals in your industry to give you an edge in meeting the right people who may have the connections you need to get an interview at your new location.
Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
Call Military OneSource at 800-342-9647 and speak with a SECO career coach to discuss career or education choices, searching for a job or overcoming challenges. Coaches are available to review your resume, practice interviewing, discuss networking or assist you in understanding employer requirements for this field. For additional help, use the Live Chat feature on the MySECO website.