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A developer working late at night, typing on a keyboard with a focus on coding and system architecture, illuminated by the glow of multiple screens.

A day in the life of a software developer

If you’re wondering ‘what exactly does a software developer even do?’, then you’re certainly not alone. Software developers have grown in popularity and demand over recent years. Yet it’s still a relatively new field within a rapidly evolving industry.

We’ll take you behind the scenes to unveil the mystery behind this growing career choice and explore a typical day in this role.

So, what is a software developer?

Believe it or not, we all rely on software developers. Your smartphone, that new fitness app, and that budget tracker you can’t live without, were all created by software developers.

They are the true masterminds behind the creation and execution of computer software programs and systems. There are so many complex intricacies that make up this profession, but to put it simply, their job is to design, write, and test code.

What are the daily tasks of a software developer?
  • Coding. Generally, the bulk of a typical day is spent reading and writing code.

  • Creating and launching new software programs.

  • Testing programs, troubleshooting, and finding creative ways to solve problems.

  • Modifying and updating existing software programs to enhance the user experience.

  • Communicating and collaborating on projects with other developers and programmers.

  • Creating system specifications and in-depth operation manuals.

  • Reporting project updates and progress to management.

What skills are needed to be a successful software developer?
  • Problem Solving Aptitude - Software developers typically thrive when solving puzzles and problems. They need to think outside the box and tackle design issues, understand algorithms, manage debugging, and make continuous improvements and updates to programs. If you’re passionate about cracking codes, you’ll be well-suited to a career in software development.

  • Technical knowledge – Employers expect software developers to have extensive technical skills. This means they're proficient in understanding and using computer languages. The five most used programming languages among developers worldwide include:

    • Javascript

    • HTML

    • SQL

    • Python

    • Java

  • Teamwork skills – This skill is often overlooked. People tend to assume software developers spend their days glued to their desks with very little interaction with the outside world. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Collaboration, communication, and teamwork make up a huge part of a software developers’ typical day. They interact with others throughout each stage of their project to deliver the best possible product to end-users.

  • Self-development skills – With newly emerging programming languages and evolving technology, software developers are required to be self-motivated to keep up to date with rapidly changing trends. They need to continually refine their skills as different projects often require different computer languages. Innovation and curiosity will help you thrive in this profession.

  • Attention to detail – No stone can be left unturned in the life of a software developer. They delve into critical analysis of algorithms and data structure and perform in-depth QA testing. You’ll need to demonstrate attentiveness through extensive screening of your work. Even the tiniest error in coding can cause significant issues with the functioning of a program or software. 

    We asked Jordan Ricketts, Paxus Digital & IT Recruitment Consultant what other attributes and qualities he commonly looks for when meeting candidates for software development roles. He listed the below points:

    • Adaptability. The ability to juggle multiple projects and priorities at the same time.

    • Willingness and desire to want to learn.

    • The ability to recognise accomplishments whilst remaining humble.

    • Passion. When someone is passionate about what they do, it becomes clear very quickly, whatever that is. They do it better and with quality results.

The importance of ‘Tech Stacks’

As technology evolves and advances, so do tech stacks. Software developers need to understand and select the best tech stacks to make their project successful and give their software a competitive edge. Jordan Ricketts explains that a tech stack is “A data ecosystem that enlists the underlying tools, frameworks, and libraries used to build and run an application. For instance, Facebook’s comprehensive application stack includes PHP, React, GraphQL, Cassandra, Hadoop, Swift, and a host of other frameworks.

A tech stack is broadly divided into two segments. The customer facing side (frontend) and the server-side (backend). Backend technologies include web frameworks, programming languages, servers, and operating systems. While frontend technologies include HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and UI frameworks and libraries.”

Based on actual job requirements that Jordan has seen requested by employers in the past year, the most in demand tech stacks have included:

  • Node.js, React.js/TypeScript and AWS

  • .NET Core, React.js OR Angular v2+ and Azure

  • Java, React.js and AWS

  • PHP, Laravel, and Vue.js

“Hone your craft in one of these, and you’ll land yourself a job in no time!” Jordan advises.

Why should I opt for a career in software development?

There are so many reasons why individuals are opting for a career in software development.

  • For one, projected job growth is expected to increase by 23.4% over the next five years in Australia. This is significant and highlights the uncapped potential and opportunity when entering this profession. Software developers are already considered a hot commodity. As the world becomes more technologically advanced, the demand for software developers will continue to grow.

  • Although the work is challenging, software developers are recognised and rewarded for their unique skills. The most common annual salary in Australia for this profession is between $100k and $120k.

  • A variety of industries rely heavily on the skills of software developers. From computing, engineering, manufacturing to finance, the sky is the limit in terms of the industries you can enter and excel in.

  • It’s a versatile and dynamic career choice. With newly emerging computer languages and endless self-development opportunities, you’ll never get bored.

So, to summarise, the life of a software developer is certainly challenging, but it’s also invigorating and worthwhile. You’ll code every day, without exception, but feel rewarded every time you solve a difficult problem or complete a project.

Want more?

If you're interested in Software Development but are not sure if it's the career for you, read our article on finding the career that is right for you here.

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