The median salary for software developers is $102,280 per year and the field is growing much faster than average at 24 percent 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 be a stickler for creating and using 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 to locate funding relevant to the military community to pay for classes. See if you are eligible for the My Career Advancement Account Scholarship to help with education or licensure costs.
If time to earn a degree and money to pay for your education are concerns, think about completing a two-year associate degree, possibly in computer programming or computer science through a community college, technical school or university, particularly if you are eligible for My Career Advancement Account assistance. 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. A recent search of the Military Spouse Employment Partnership Job Search provided job listings with the following companies:
Consider volunteering, if possible, or doing an internship. Tell family, friends, co-workers 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
You may wish to consider joining a professional organization in your career field to gain a better understanding of current industry trends in computer software. Professional organizations are great ways to continue your education through workshops and conferences, which will add to your transferable skill set as you move. Networking with other professionals will give you an edge in meeting people who may have the connections you need to obtain an interview or restart your career at your new location. They may provide important information about available internships and jobs, additional learning opportunities, seminars, networking events, hiring fairs and more. Remember, networking is the most effective job search method. Read The Value of Professional Associations for more information on how becoming a member can help enhance your career.
Call 800-342-9647 and speak with a 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.