Software developers oversee the whole software development process. They may begin by asking the customer how they plan to use the software. Next, they must identify the important features that software users need. Software developers must also establish user requirements unrelated to the product’s function, such as the degree of security and performance requirements. Finally, they build software and provide instructions to programmers, who generate and test computer code.
If the programme fails to work as expected or testers find it difficult to use, software developers, return to the design phase to alter or improve the product. After the programme has been given to the customer, a developer may do updates and maintenance on it.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- find out what the client and the development team want
- take part in technical design meetings
- write or amend computer code
- test software to find and fix problems
- keep accurate records of the changes you’ve made
- check software before it’s released
- maintain and support systems once they’re up and running.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £24,000 per year.
- Experienced software developers can earn up to £70,000 per year.
You will typically work 37 to 40 hours per week. Occasional evening and weekend work will be needed.
You could work in an office, from home, remotely or at a client’s business.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice software developer include:
- Level 4 Software Developer – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification takes 24 months to complete.
On a software developer apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- analytical thinking skills
- maths knowledge for understanding programming
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
- complex problem-solving skills
- excellent verbal communication skills for sharing ideas
- persistence and determination
- the ability to write computer programs
- to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications.
Software developers are employed in a range of sectors.
- specialist IT firms – such as IT consultancies, large IT providers, internet providers and training firms; organisations that use IT software, systems and equipment, including retailers, law firms, business intelligence and market research organisations, education providers, the armed forces, the public sector and voluntary sector organisations.
- manufacturing industry – including automotive, navigation, telecommunications, manufacturing and construction companies.
- financial services – including global investment banks, financial/banking organisations, security market specialists and the pensions sector.
- public utilities – covering energy and water supply, energy extraction and transport.
It is critical to stay current on industry advances and breakthroughs, which may require you to take the initiative and responsibility for upgrading your technical abilities and experience. Software developers often handle their training requirements, especially in smaller organisations where someone with technical IT skills only sometimes monitors them.
Large organisations often provide a structured curriculum that enables you to gain experience in various team-related activities in different professional disciplines. In addition, most firms offer ongoing training, either in-house or via external courses.
If you work as a freelancer or for a small business, consider the financial and time consequences of organising your training.
With experience, you could:
- become a senior developer
- take responsibility for your team or a project
- move into related areas, such as systems design, IT architecture and business
- systems analysis
- set up your own business
- work as a consultant.