Online Master's in Software Development

Get Program Details
This will only take a moment.
. What's your highest level of education?
What's your highest level of education?
Next Step

Software 101: What Is Software Development?

What do computers, networks, cell phones, vehicles, apps, and video games have in common? Most Americans use at least two or three of these on a daily basis — and they all require software development to function. As more and more of our daily lives move online and to mobile, the demand for people with knowledge and expertise in the field of software development will continue to grow at a rapid pace. But what is software development?

Software development is the process that relates to the creation of individual software programs by using specialized and specific computer programming languages. This process is extremely comprehensive and varies depending on the type of software being developed; however, software development typically includes the conception, design, programming, testing, and bug fixing of a piece of software, network, or application.

What is Software Development? A Rapidly Growing Field

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of software developers is projected to grow 24 percent from 2016 to 2026 — significantly faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for software developers working in applications in particular is expected to grow 31 percent, more than four times the average projected percent change in employment of 7 percent. If you think of how quickly technology has evolved over the past 20, 10, or even five years, these numbers make sense.

Software development has to keep up with the ever-increasing and changing demands for software, not only in computers and cell phones but in consumer appliances, too. Furthermore, mounting concerns over network security are likely to lead to more demand for software developers in that field, as well as for the software they design. This article will explore how software development impacts our daily lives, how it helps companies grow, and the role it will play in emerging technologies.

Learn More

Software Improves the Lives of the General Public

Let’s walk through an example of a daily routine. You might wake up to an alarm on your phone that reads you the time of day and provides you with the latest headlines. As you enjoy a cup of coffee that was programmed to be ready at 6 a.m., you might casually scroll through an online retail store, such as Amazon, before hailing a ride to the office with Uber. While at work, you might order coffee and snacks for your team through a meal delivery app, communicate with your colleagues through email or an internet chat platform, such as Slack, and then take a ride-sharing service back home. Once you’re home, your programmable thermostat will crank up the heat a degree or two, and you turn on Netflix or HBO to watch TV on demand. As you’re cooking dinner, you confirm the time and location of your first date with a person you met through an online dating app. What is software development? It’s the process that makes all of these things possible.

As you can see, the daily habits of most individuals heavily rely on software. Transportation, food, work, shopping, dating, entertainment — software is revolutionizing nearly every aspect of our lives. That’s great news for software developers, as they’re the ones who build the programs, systems, and applications on which we rely so much.

Companies Need Software Developers

To complete their daily activities, companies across various industries rely on software developers. In business technology, software developers are needed to produce project management, email marketing, and online commerce programs and applications. Developers are in high demand at universities and other educational institutions that require the infrastructure to house large quantities of digital knowledge.

Manufacturers and the automobile industry need software developers to increase and improve automation, while large media companies need developers to help them publish huge amounts of content across multiple platforms. Furthermore, these advances in technology enable companies to make use of custom solutions to solve their individual business problems. Examples of these custom solutions include mobile banking applications tailored to a specific bank or a custom online commerce site, such as eBay — and all of these custom solutions require software development.

Developing Technologies: Keeping Up with Changing Demands

The advancement of technology doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Machine learning, a growing internet of things, and autonomous cars, to name a few, are all dependent on software development. Many software developers and experts in the field predict that machine learning will eventually replace more traditional coding. With machine learning, programmers don’t code instructions to a computer; rather, they train the computer. Machine learning is already taking place — it’s used by Facebook, Google Photos, and Microsoft — but experts expect that it will only become more prevalent. What does that mean for software development?

Machine learning can help developers create better software, improve security, and build better applications. The internet of things, which refers to all of the devices connected to the internet — home appliances, cell phones, vehicles, sensors, etc. — continues to expand, meaning there are ample opportunities for software developers to program these devices and create applications for them. Perhaps the most tangible and exciting developing technology requiring advanced software development is the autonomous car. Developers are already busy working on the programs that will control the car, inform navigation, ensure security, and provide in-car entertainment.

There’s never been a better time to be a software developer. We’re living in a world increasingly reliant on technology and applications to guide us through our daily tasks, and this technology is rapidly changing. There’s always something new to learn in the computer software industry, and if you’re interested in a future career in this field, consider exploring Maryville’s online Master of Science in software development. Now that you can answer the question, “what is software development,” learn more about the various careers in this exciting field.