Software development is an undeniably exciting field, but it’s also a field that raises a lot of questions. What does a software developer do on a day-to-day basis? And what’s the best course for aspiring software developers? These two questions are at the very heart of software development. But to find an answer we need to delve a little deeper into the profession. We can begin by looking at software development as a whole.
What Do Software Developers Do?
The simple answer is that a software developer will write computer code to accomplish a set task. In a group environment this will also include working with others to coordinate design responsibilities according to set prototypes. The development is done through an integrated development environment (IDE) tailored for a specific programming language. You will also see some form of versioning control to keep source code up to date between all team members.
The development process will involve a lot of testing as well. For example, a software developer working with hardware sensors might interface their work with a sensor box to test the code’s effectiveness. In fact, software developers might even write one program to aid in testing work that’s still under development.
Software developers might also be responsible for something known as an application programming interface or API. An API is essentially a library of functions that other team members, or even the public, can use to interface with a standalone system. Developers might also spend time writing documentation to help others use any of these creations. On top of this, a software developer will use different programming languages to meet the challenges of any given development project.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Software Developer?
This might seem like a lot to learn, and it’s true that learning to become a software developer will require some efficient study. However, it’s a faster process than most people would assume. In fact, it only takes nine months for a diploma, attending full-time. Earning a full degree will only take an additional six months.
What’s the Best Course to Learn Software Development?
The best way to learn software development is through a trade school program. You have seen just how important a properly designed and efficient course is when learning software development. And that’s exactly what a trade school program provides. It divides the complex field of software development into more easily understood components that build upon themselves. This makes it easy to master software development in a short amount of time.
What Subjects Are Covered in a Software Developer Program?
Trade schools teach project management during a general introduction to software development. Project management refers to aspects of development related to design and deployment. Software developers attend meetings as part of their job. This is where project management fits into the larger picture. Project management teaches software developers how to work together to create a larger plan that everyone can follow. A well-designed project will allow software developers to work on a smaller piece of the greater whole.
We can think of this as somewhat akin to a team working on a bike. Someone working on the wheels wouldn’t need to talk to the person creating the frame if all the specs have been properly defined. Likewise, the person creating the handles should be able to create them with full expectation that it will fit into the frame.
When you write computer code, you should be able to write specific functions that take in one value or command and output a result. These functions can then be used within the larger program. You don’t need to know how the initial process creates the data sent to your function. You simply need to ensure the person writing that code knows how it’ll fit into your function. Similarly, in a well-managed project, you don’t need to know exactly what the next function will do with your data. You simply need to know how the person working on it expects you to format outputted data for their function.
Introduction to Programming
The basic introduction to programming will teach some of the core concepts involved with coding. This is a useful concept while learning project management, but it also acts as a stepping-stone to real world programming. In this step, you learn some of the basic program logic that remains consistent among all programming languages. To go back to the example of functions, you tend to find them in almost every programming language.
Languages might use different terms to refer to a function, but the basic concept of a code block that takes in one value, processes it, and returns another piece of data is nearly universal within programming languages. The introduction to programming covers some of these basics which is used with most of the programming languages covered during a software developer program. Once the course completes an introduction to software development and project management it is time to use a full programming language.
Python Programming Language
The initial step into practical development comes through a high-level language called Python. Higher-level languages (HLL) produce programs that run slower than lower-level languages. However, higher-level languages have an advantage in being somewhat similar to written English. They’re known as high-level because they’re so far removed from the ones and zeroes of binary.
A non-programmer wouldn’t be able to write computer code in Python, but they might be able to decipher some of the program’s functionality by recognizing common English words within Python. Likewise, the math used in Python isn’t too dissimilar from what you would see in your own day-to-day life. Python’s easy to recognize syntax makes it one of the best starter languages to learn.
Object Oriented Languages
The next step in the software development program will focus on object-oriented programming languages. Object-oriented languages are more complex than high-level languages like Python. The biggest change is that object-oriented languages are designed around a more compartmentalized model. These compartmentalized elements are the objects in object-oriented programming. Working with objects makes it easy to share and repurpose parts of your source code.
C++ – the breakout stars of the object-oriented programming model. C++ is especially notable for its longevity. The first C++ language reference was released in 1985. This marked many people’s initial introduction to object-oriented programming. C++ has retained its popularity to this very day. It’s a useful language when you need to get the best possible speed out of an application.
C# – branched out from C++ to add some of the best features found in other programming languages. This has made it a “best of all possible worlds” language. C# can be easier to write in than C++. But at the same time C# can produce fast and efficient executables. It can even use just in time (JIT) compilation to gain instant cross-platform compatibly through a variety of operating systems and processor types.
Java – an object-oriented language taught in trade programs which is similar in many ways to C#. Java is popularized the concept of JIT compilation well before C# was first released. Java is having an impressive level of cross-platform compatibility, it was also one of the first languages developed around the needs of Internet enabled devices. Java is also the language of choice for Android development. The fact that this language can produce excellent programs for desktop, server, and mobile platforms make it an impressive addition to any software development program.
Supplemental Programming Subjects
The next set of subjects taught in a software development program is supplemental to programming languages. Programming languages are instructions that tell a computer what to do. The supplemental subjects can be thought of as the tools a computer uses to enact those commands.
SQL & Databases – one of the most important examples of these supplemental programming subjects. Databases are large collections of data that a computer can easily sort through. You may work with databases by writing computer code that generates a request in SQL. SQL commands are then processed by the database system you are communicating with. The end result is a list of information that moves from the database to your computer code. Many modern websites also operate through this method. Website data is stored in a database. When web browsers ask for information, the request is sent to the database, processed for a particular web framework, and then rendered by the browser. Therefore, it’s often tied in with web development.
Client-Side Web Scripting
Mobile Application Development
Finally, a software development program will cover mobile application development. This includes the use of specialized development environments to create executables for a smartphone, deploy it to a test device and debug the results.
Are Software Developers in Demand?
This raises the question of what you can do after finishing the software development program. Are software developers in demand? Yes, they are. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the growth of software development jobs to 22 percent through the next decade. As the Internet expands and even more computers and devices are used, software developers will be even more in demand.
Interested in learning more about becoming a software developer? ATA College offers a diploma program in software development that can teach you what you need to start an entry-level software development job in as little as 9 months. Invest some time in learning software development, you will be happy you did.
Want to Learn More?
After completing the diploma program at our El Cajon | San Diego software developer school, students have the option to continue in the Software Development & Programming, Associate of Applied Technology program. The associate degree can be completed in an additional 6 months and contains general education courses, along with advanced Microsoft certifications.
Contact us today to learn more about software developer career opportunities offered at ATA College.