Software developers might get to work on the creation of an entirely new system, but more often than not they’ll be required to modify or re-work ‘off the shelf’ software, writing code that can link previously incompatible systems.
Responsibilities include providing code and cost proposals for system work, liaising with designers and analysts, pre-launch system testing, preparing training manuals and working on the maintenance of a system once it’s live.
Team working, computer and business skills and an analytical mind-set are all required attributes. And expertise in languages such as Java, C++, Visual Basic, Linux etc is a must.
Most employers look for BTEC/HND qualifications as a bare minimum, and graduates in IT, science or maths subjects are often preferred. But there are trainee programmes available for AS level candidates.
On-the-job training is common and includes courses run by the British Computer Society, e-Skills, the Institute of Analysts and Programmers and a number of the larger software companies.
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Other recommended resources:
British Computer Society (BCS)
Offering a chartered status for IT professionals, the BCS provides a number of qualifications towards continuing professional development. They also strongly support exchange of knowledge and expertise, and membership can get you access to this community of information.
Institute of Analysts and Programmers
An organisation for those involved in the development of software and computer systems. Membership gets you access to an enterprising network of professionals, a number of professional services and advice and if you’re a consultant, or considering becoming one, your name goes on their register of consultants which can direct clients to you.
The UK Sector Skills Council for IT, connecting you with the training and qualifications you need to get ahead in the industry.
National Skills Academy for IT
A portal to short and long courses, apprenticeship schemes and information about careers, standards and systems. Great for figuring out if software development is the job for you and how you can get there.
A digital magazine aimed at software developers of all breeds bringing the latest news and information as well as a series of useful videos to help update your skills.