Schools these days are teaching elementary students the beginnings of coding and robot programming as if they were regular math or history subjects. As the world of technology booms, the demand for tech-savvy professionals is skyrocketing. Among the list of fastest-growing tech jobs are software developers.
Software development jobs are expected to increase at the much-faster-than-average rate of 19 percent through 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Nearly every company relies on computer programs, applications or other underlying systems in some way.
You know the employment opportunities are out there. But how do you know if you have what it takes for becoming a software developer? We enlisted the experts to share some characteristics many successful software developers share. Can you relate to this list?
You should consider becoming a software developer if …
1. You like working with people
Contrary to popular belief, software developers don’t spend all of their time holed up in a dark room while their eyes glaze over from prolonged screen staring. While there are certainly times when developers work alone to create their part of a project, there is a lot of time spent collaborating with others on the team, communicating about goals and strategies, and working with others to solve a problem.
“In my company, junior developers often fix senior developers' code and that's totally okay,” says Mark Tinnelly, software developer at CardioTech. “Nobody knows everything, and we work together to share and learn from each other.” Critiquing and bettering each other’s work is a key component to making sure the technology you’re developing meets the user’s needs.
2. You have a knack for problem solving
A big part of coding is creating technology that solves a user’s problem. There’s also a lot of problem solving involved in the nitty gritty of the actual work. If you get a thrill from looking at an issue, trying to figure out which angle to approach it from, and you don’t get discouraged along the way, software development might be a great career fit for you.
“[You need a] problem-solving attitude with a never-ending eagerness to achieve the solution,” says former software developer, Alessandro Marianantoni. “To understand this, you only need to do it once. If you make your script work the first time, and you feel a great pleasure [about it], then you are already hooked, and you know what I'm talking about.”
3. You’re musically inclined
Scientists have continuously drawn connections between those who love music and those who have a talent for math. While this link is still up for debate, the fact of the matter is that reading musical notes is very similar to coding.
“If you like to play an instrument and read notes, you are already halfway there,” says Marianantoni. So if you compose music, play an instrument, or even sing—consider developing software. You might be surprised at how similar the two feel.
4. You like to see order in things
Do you arrange the dishes in your cupboards just so? Do you like the feeling of a clean, tidy, structured room? Good news! Software development is all about creating an order of code and particular recipes to give way to particular actions the computer will take.
Whether your crayons were arranged in rainbow order as a child, or you get a little annoyed by your sister’s messy craft drawer, if you like organization, you might find success in software development.
5. Trying new things gives you a thrill
“Technology moves at an incredibly fast pace, and a software developer must stay on top of things and adapt to these changes,” explains Tinnelly.
From changes in coding to company requirements to particulars users want in their software, developers are constantly adapting and melding into new ways of doing things. Applying your personal theories of organization and order still works as long as you’re able to go with the flow and adapt to an ever-evolving landscape of change.
6. You stay intrinsically motivated
There’s no doubt about it—coding can be tricky work. Not only are you continuously solving problems and adapting to new changes, but you’re also memorizing code, remembering company protocol, and backtracking to fix mistakes you made.
“[It’s having the] willpower to stay motivated even when the going gets tough,” says Tinnelly. “When you learn to code, there will be a point where you'll feel discouraged because of all the mistakes you make. But you have to stay focused…it’s a game of patience.”
7. You enjoy puzzles and strategy
Were you the one who spent hours at the kitchen table mulling over that 10,000-piece puzzle? Coding is all about putting together the pieces of an enigma—creating a brand new program or solving problems from an old one.
“A programmer will spend all day trying to make the computer do something that would take five seconds to do by hand, just so that they never have to do it by hand again,” says Chase Kaufenberg, a software engineer at Be the Match.
If you like coming up with strategic solutions and enjoy the mystery of the game, becoming a software developer could be a perfect fit for you.
8. You love the world of technology
It may seem like a no brainer, but loving technology is a must for software developers. If new games, new programs, and cutting-edge tech gives you a little shiver, working from the inside of these new programs will be a thrill for you. Admit it—you were the one standing in line at Best Buy at midnight to get that new gaming system or that new cell phone the day it came out.
If that was you, it’s time to get yourself into a career in the technology field. Software developers live on the cutting edge of new tech, so depending on your job, you won’t have to stand in line to get the latest and greatest!
Will you thrive?
Will you flourish as a software developer? Do you have any of the aforementioned qualities? If so, you may be a natural fit for working in software development. Of course, it takes more than natural tendencies to make it as a software developer — you'll need formal training as well. To learn more about how Rasmussen College can help you get there, visit the Software Application Development program page.