The worldwide population of software developers stood at more than 25 million in 2021, according to market intelligence firm Evans Data Corporation, and it will likely exceed 29 million by 2026. The individuals who work in software development know the profession offers many benefits — not the least of which is the potential for career development and job growth.
Software development has become a vital part of our lives, affecting things we use each day, such as our appliances and cars; what’s more, the Internet of Things (IoT) is forging new connections among many of the devices we use regularly. As software continues to expand its reach into more aspects of daily living, the field of software development will offer additional opportunities for individuals who want to work in a dynamic profession that offers good prospects for advancement.
The potential for software development job growth is an attractive reason to explore a career in the field. If you’ve been considering pursuing an online master’s degree in software development, it can be helpful to know about software development’s capacity for career advancement and how to advance your career in software development.
How to Grow Your Career in Software Development
Entering the field of software development requires a sound educational foundation. After you’ve built that foundation, you can advance your career through obtaining experience, networking with others in the field, and pursuing certifications and continuing education to stay up to date on advances in technology.
Build Your Educational Foundation
Acquiring skills and expertise in areas such as software architecture, web development, and databases helps individuals build the educational foundation they need to launch a career in software development.
Earning a degree related to information technology is how the majority of software developers build their educational foundation. A 2020 Stack Overflow survey of software developers found that about 62% of respondents had a degree in computer science, software engineering, or computer engineering; slightly less than 10% had an engineering degree in another field.
Building on undergraduate education by earning a Master of Science in Software Development can strengthen individuals’ expertise and make them more competitive in the job market. In working toward a graduate degree, students can learn about the latest developments in areas such as application development, interface design, and agile systems.
Gain Experience and Cultivate Your Network
Acquiring practical experience is crucial in pursuing job growth in software development. While internships and entry-level developer jobs might be what first come to mind when you think about gaining experience, programmer platform Geeks for Geeks suggests additional ways for software developers to gain experience, such as:
- Learning new programming languages and studying data structures and algorithms in your spare time
- Building a portfolio of projects you have done on your own
- Entering coding competitions to earn badges that demonstrate your expertise
While individuals are gaining experience, they also can build networks of associates and other professionals in the industry. These networks are valuable in establishing the connections that can help spur career advancement in software development.
Obtain Certifications and Take Advantage of Continuing Education
Obtaining specialized certifications and pursuing continuing education can help you stay up to date on trends and innovations in technology and put you on the path to job growth.
Examples of the top certifications for software developers, according to career website Indeed, include:
- Certifications in C programming language, such as C Certified Professional Programmer (CLP) and C++ Certified Associate Programmer (CPA)
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications, such as AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified Solutions Architect
- Certifications in customer relationship management software Salesforce, such as Salesforce B2C Commerce Developer and Platform Developer I and II
Individuals can pursue continuing education by taking online courses or attending conferences or meetups where developers share their expertise and learn about advances in technology.
Benefits of Career Advancement in Software Development
As you advance your career in software development, you can accrue a host of benefits. For example, Indeed notes that software developers enjoy:
- A robust job market with relatively high demand in an increasingly digital world
- A broad spectrum of diverse career options in an array of industries and work environments
- Relatively high compensation levels that can increase with experience
- Opportunities to continue to learn about new tools of the trade and developments in technology
Earning an advanced degree to further refine your skills and expertise is one way to more easily take advantage of the benefits that a career in software development offers.
Advanced Software Development Jobs
The jobs that become available as your software development career grows make the field attractive to people with an array of interests. For example, with software development expertise, you can pursue opportunities in the following roles:
- Software developer. Designing and creating software to meet user needs is the primary responsibility of software developers. Skills in programming languages, databases, software testing, and operating systems are among the skills software developers need to have.
- Network security engineer. Network security engineers monitor and ensure the security of the information technology infrastructure that organizations use. To do that, they need skills in areas such as cybersecurity, intrusion detection, firewall assessment, and network security controls.
- Data scientist. Data scientists use their technical expertise in working with big data to solve complex problems. They develop skills in several areas, such as statistical testing, machine learning, text analytics, and data visualization.
- Computer and information systems manager. Computer and information systems managers are responsible for directing an organization’s computer-related activities. While their technical and analytical skills are important, computer and information systems managers also need to develop skills in areas such as leadership, communication, and decision-making.
Build a Bright, Connected Future
The prospects for career growth in software development make the field an attractive option. With a variety of jobs to pursue and the opportunity to continue learning as technology advances, software development could be the career you’ve been seeking. If working in software development interests you, explore Maryville University’s online Master of Science in Software Development to learn how the program can help you achieve your career ambitions. Start advancing on the software development career path today.