It’s no secret that software engineering is a booming field. As demand grows for mobile, healthcare and security software, and IoT devices proliferate in homes and offices, software developers are needed more than ever. As the laws of supply and demand would dictate, this demand has blown salaries through the roof.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects software engineering jobs will have grown 21% from 2018-2028, compared to 11% for all other occupations combined.
What types of jobs can I get as a software engineer?
Any company with a presence on the web or mobile needs a software developer. You can work for a company specializing in software engineering or other areas of IT, such as app or website development (think Microsoft or Squarespace). Or, you could be an in-house developer for companies across a range of sectors, including IT, financial services, utilities, healthcare, manufacturing and so on.
There are four main types of software developers:
1. APPLICATIONS DEVELOPER
App developers create, test and program non web-based software, such as apps for computers and smartphones. They may work alongside graphic artists, UX designers and data scientists, all of whom are instrumental in the backend and frontend development of the app. Native mobile apps are built for specific platforms, such as Android or iOS.
For a mobile-first Saas company like Uber or Slack, the developer is responsible for building the flagship product. It’s their job to synthesize a business idea and user research into a usable, saleable product. Developers employed by a non-Saas company(such as a retailer) are tasked with designing apps to help the business offer mobile services such as online purchases, customer service and other interactions.
They must also test and fix bugs before the product is launched. Once the app goes into production, the developer works on patches (upgrades) that are periodically released to the public.
Building digital experiences that enable people to complete tasks (eg: project management or mobile banking apps), consume content (video streaming or news apps) or interact with brands and other people (social networking).
Salary: $93,000 average base pay (Source: Glassdoor.com)
Job growth: 30.7% (Source: Burning Glass)
2. WEB DEVELOPER
Web developers design software that runs in a browser. Most web software today has a mobile version, but there are huge differences in how web and mobile apps are built. Firstly, mobile apps are typically designed for a specific operating system, while web apps conform to various devices, such as PCs and tablets. For instance, Pandora launched in 2005 as an Internet radio app, before launching an iPhone version in 2008.
A web developer is responsible for the frontend (how a site looks) and backend, which consists of technical aspects such as performance and capacity that determine a site’s speed and how much web traffic it can sustain.
Similar to an app developer, a web developer builds websites offering services such as e-commerce, news or gaming to fit the client’s needs.
Salary: $68,524 (Source: Glassdoor)
Job growth: 27% (Source: Balance Careers)
Interested in becoming a web developer? Our Software Engineering Career Track comes with a deferred tuition and a job guarantee, meaning if you don’t get a job within six months, you get a full refund.*
*Click here to see Springboard’s job guarantee eligibility terms.
Web developers can be employed in a range of fields, with job titles as varied as:
- Software Engineer
- Full Stack Software Engineer
- Front End Software Engineer
- Back End Software Engineer
- Full Stack Software Developer
- Front End Developer
- Back End Developer
- QA Engineer
3. SYSTEMS DEVELOPER
Systems developers design and code the background processing systems that undergird web and mobile applications. Examples include databases, servers, network management systems, and messaging systems. These form the skeleton of the software, but they don’t have a user interface, except for admin purposes (in other words, they are never seen by the end user).
Databases are used a lot in online banking and HR systems.
Call centers also use a system called a Customer Relationship Management system, which they use to look up customer data, record information about the call and save it to a database. The more sophisticated systems applications integrate with other systems and even initiate activity on their own through machine learning and robotic process automation.
Like any other developer, a systems developer is responsible for the entire life cycle of a software product, from initial concept to maintenance and updates.
Designing systems and providing IT support to keep web and mobile applications running the way they should be.
Salary: $98,300 (Source: Recruiter.com)
4. EMBEDDED SYSTEMS DEVELOPER
Embedded systems developers work on — you guessed it — embedded systems. These are computing systems and software for non-computing devices, such as auto lane-keeping technology in modern cars or aircraft autopilot systems.
These computer systems have a dedicated function and are embedded within a larger mechanical or electrical system, unlike a general-purpose computer which handles multiple tasks.
Salary: $105,000 (Source: Neuvoo.com)