Software Developer Job Description

Software Developer/Engineer (Computer Programmer)

The life of a developer is consumed with the desire and need to build and innovate solutions.  Perhaps this profession is not for those lacking fortitudes to see a project from inception to completion.  It is rather tailored to an individual possessing steadfast patience, with the ability to see his or her masterpiece to conclusion.

These are the creators of complete, complex business, industrial, prototype and consumer software systems. They may also be responsible for code that links smaller subsystems together, or for separate systems that work together as a whole. Most developers work from project specifications dictated from the needs of a job obtained from other specialists known as IT analysts. Developers present unique ideas to improve systems and workflow and form up cost proposals for their work. Comprehensive testing is crucial to the accurate deployment of software. There are after all mission critical tasks and in certain situations, a company’s reputation at stake. Updates and the development of code that evolves along with ongoing security and maintenance implementations are important aspects of a developer’s work. 

These individuals are not always isolated, antisocial computer nerds as portrayed by popular media, but rather highly intelligent and dynamic individuals who work closely with other developers, analysts, designers and managers to meet specific business, product or factory intelligence and functionality needs. They typically work within a corporate office environment or in factories and research and development centers. Due to intellectual property rights, the strict adherence to confidentiality is expected of the systems software developers create.

Typical Job Duties

  • Assures the proper implementations of a project’s aspects by working alongside the client, analyst and project manager or supervisor.
  • Determines a project’s development sequence by studying its desired workflow and functionality. This may include creating a flowchart of a project as determined by workflow, the programming language and other considerations.
  • Perform computer encoding using a module-based and framework methodology to accomplish the requested functionality.
  • Perform extensive testing of all program code modules for compliance with the client’s required functionality. Ensure that a program effectively interfaces with peripheral input, output and display devices.
  • Troubleshoot and repair or update code related to a client’s glitches that initial went unrealized now that the program exists in real world conditions.
  • Update code for security issues and new functionality considerations. Maintain version control of previous iterations.
  • Maintain proficiency in new and evolving program languages, participate in ongoing and continuous knowledgebase growth through seminars, workshops, trade magazines, podcasts, and blogs in addition to online or in-person classes.
  • As a contributing team member, assist in developing code-shop processes and standards that streamline and result in more efficient operational practices.


In today’s automated and highly computerized world, almost all industries from aviation to zookeeping require developers. If a person has an interest in a certain industry, then the developer can follow that appetite and possibly shine even greater. The typical job advancement progression would be from apprentice, developer, to senior, principal, or project manager. At the upper levels of the profession as senior developers or project managers, these individuals may oversee and be responsible for entire systems.  Other related fields of interest may include IT architecture and business systems analyst and big data analyst. 

Many developers choose to work for themselves as independent developers or private consultants after obtaining a high degree of confidence working within a team environment. While a high degree of discipline is required for this undertaking, this allows a person to have much more flexibility by enabling a self-directed work schedule. Work in foreign companies and for multinational entities is also available to high caliber developers allowing curious and restless individuals the opportunity to travel the world.

Education and Skills

It goes without saying that programming skills in current computer programming languages is a requirement for a developer. While a traditional bachelor or master’s degree from a college or university in computer science is still a highly sought after credential for a software developers, it is not always a requirement today. This is a rather unique field where individuals can be self-taught. Many developers today can demonstrate a level of proficiency at various computer languages and prove their abilities by presenting a portfolio of projects they have created to a prospective employer and land jobs without formal schooling. Polyglot development is a term that means a person is adept in a multitude of programming languages.  This has become an absolute necessity in today’s complex evolving, multi-language world. Today’s top developer languages include C++, C#, Python, Perl, Java, SQL, PHP, ASP, HTML, Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Node.js, JavaScript and more. Expert familiarity with software tools and frameworks including the latest text editors such as Sublime Text is a requirement for essential programming qualifications. Developers should be analytical by nature with an ingrained ability to troubleshoot problems and an eye for detail and maintain an organized work ethos.  While some individuals can learn these habits, the most successful developers have these qualities ingrained. The ability to understand the way business is transacted and business systems makes for an agile developer. If a developer is to be effective and progress at his or her job, being a team player with strong communication skills is crucial.