Software Development: 2014's Trendiest Tech Job

Software development has been on our radar as a promising career for the past several years. But as the world of technology rapidly evolves there is a particular facet of this field that is currently skyrocketing: software application development.

If you consider yourself tech savvy and like the idea of joining a cutting edge industry that is on the rise, you are perfectly suited to be a software application developer. You basically live on your smartphone or tablet already, so why not make a career out of it?

You know all of those handy resources you find in your app store? They didn’t create themselves. These days there’s an app for everything, which is why the number of software applications developers is projected to increase by 28 percent through 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The estimated growth percentage isn’t the only impressive stat associated with this career—the salary potential is equally exciting! The entry-level salary for software application developers is around $55,190 annually, with senior developers making up to $138,000 a year!*

Now what if we told you that you don’t even have to wait four years to get your start in this up-and-coming field? It sounds too good to be true, right? WRONG! If we’ve piqued your interest, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this exciting area of software development.

software application development facts

What does a software application developer do?

Before we get too deep in the data, it’s important to have a good grasp on what the position entails. This particular kind of software development specialist develops, creates and modifies general computer applications software, including mobile applications for Android, Blackberry, iOS and Windows Mobile devices.

Daily responsibilities may include:

  • Coding, testing, debugging & monitoring software applications
  • Modifying existing software to optimize operational efficiency or correct errors
  • Evaluating software requirements & user needs to determine software feasibility
  • Developing & employing software system testing & validation procedures

What skills do you need to become a software application developer?

Now that you’re familiar with the responsibilities of a software application developer, let’s switch gears and focus on the skills needed to succeed in the industry. We used real-time employment data from to analyze more than 600,000 software application developer job postings over the past year. In doing so, we isolated the top hard and soft skills employers are seeking right now!

Soft skills tend to be natural characteristics that are difficult to teach. They play a pivotal role in the day-to-day performance of one’s job. But in such a technical profession, those inherent qualities are essentially useless if not accompanied by the necessary hard skills. Here’s what we found:

    Soft skills in demand:

  • Programming & development
  • Communication & coordination
  • Tech development & design
  • Databases & data warehousing
  • Problem solving

    Hard skills in demand:

  • Java
  • SQL
  • JavaScript
  • Microsoft C#
  • C++

Not familiar with some of the technical skills you see above? Don’t worry! That’s precisely the type of training and expertise you can expect to gain by earning a degree in software application development.

How much education is needed to become a network administrator?

You’ll be happy to hear that software application development positions are available for individuals of all education levels. That means you don’t necessarily need to spend four years in school before getting your hands dirty in the industry.

Many schools offer an associate degree in software application development that provides a comprehensive knowledge of computer software programming. A majority of these programs place a heavy emphasis on programming. The best part is that you can earn your degree in just two years!

Some schools also provide options to advance your education further after acquiring your associate degree. For example, Rasmussen College offers its students a unique laddering structure. This allows students to earn one credential at a time while building their way up to a higher degree.

So if you acquire your associate degree in software application development and later decide you’d like to advance your career, the credits you accumulated would seamlessly transfer towards a bachelor’s degree in computer science. As a general rule of thumb, job opportunities and earning potential increase with education level.

Are you convinced yet?

With such a promising job outlook, an impressive earning potential and fast-track training options, it’s not surprising that this specialization of software development is one of the top jobs for 2014. Those three facts alone should be enough to convince you that there is no better time than now to pursue a career in this cutting-edge field.

So don’t let another New Year’s resolution fall by the wayside. Make this be the year you follow through with your aspirations and prepare yourself to land your dream job. Just imagine, in two short years you could be working for a mobile mogul such as Apple or Microsoft!

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in software application development, explore the degree options that can help equip you with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in the industry!

*Median annual salaries came from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.

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Callie Malvik

Callie is the Content Manager at Collegis Education, overseeing blog content on behalf of Rasmussen College. She is passionate about creating quality resources that empower others to improve their lives through education.

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