Is software development a good career?

As our world gathers more apps, programs and technology, we can see just how essential software developers are to how our society functions. Want to buy something from your local corner shop? There are a thousand networks, individual scripts and a multitude of databases checked against each other just to make sure that you can buy that donut.

Everything we do these days has a program behind it. Our entertainment. Our trains. Our restaurants. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single example that isn’t touched in some way by a program, somewhere along the process.

So is software development a good career? We’d have to say yes. It’s hard work: you need to learn how to program and think logically, but ultimately it’s a stable, well-paid career. One that isn’t going anywhere soon.

It’s in high demand

Back in February, we wrote about how the number of jobs has been increasing every year. Python alone has rocketed up from 41,000 jobs in 2017 to over 73,000 in 2020. This is a trend that’s true for all the top languages: they’re consistently growing.

The number of total jobs in 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, was around 1.5 million. And they expect that this will grow by 22% by 2029, which is huge compared to the average rate of 4% across all industries. As a career, it’s a safe bet to say that software development is one that’s got opportunities around every corner. You can go into any industry, live pretty much anywhere (although salaries are naturally higher in places like California), and the barrier to entry is relatively low.

The salaries are higher than most

The median pay, once again from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is around $107,000 a year. Meanwhile, Dice found that languages like Python earn an average of about $112,000 a year. This is over double what the Social Security Administration reported as the average in 2018: $50,000. So salaries for software development are much higher than the national average, making it a lucrative industry to enter.

It’s a stable career

The pandemic has obviously hurt many people. Businesses are struggling to stay open, as people are staying indoors. But while other industries have been hit hard (4.1% unemployment to 13.5%, according to Forbes), careers in computers have actually dropped in unemployment. They’ve gone from 3% to 2.5%.

Why? Most likely because it’s easy to work remotely when you’re a software developer, along with the fact that companies are being forced to develop new ways to engage with their customers. We need technology now more than ever to stay connected. Even doing our weekly shop needs a program in the current climate.

Software development is all about solving problems. So when natural disasters strike, the industry actually becomes more in demand than before. This makes it a very stable career.

You can choose your industry

We’ve mentioned this already, but software development is needed in every industry. That means that you can choose what kind of work you’ll enter. Enjoy finance? They need developers. Enjoy games? You can program them. Enjoy fashion? Sports? They all need booking systems, websites, apps, internal software.
Every industry needs software developers. Look at how Oral-B has an app that helps children brush their teeth for the right amount of time. Branded apps are all the rage as companies look to build trust with their customers and keep them loyal.

Sometimes it’s less direct than Oral-B. Back in 2012, Metro trains in Australia released a game called Dumb Ways to Die. The entire point was to raise awareness about train safety. An odd solution to a problem? Sure. But it went viral and would’ve been impossible without software developers. And none of this is taking into account the myriad internal programs that companies need to run their unique day-to-day tasks.

You can work for yourself

Finally, it’s worth bearing in mind that software development isn’t just for corporations. Once you’ve built up your experience, you can start creating your own software and apps. You can start up your own company or become a freelance developer.

For some people, the goal of being your own boss is the holy grail. And with software development, all you need is a clever idea, experience and a bit of time and you can start to create your own business.

Start your career

If you’d like to take the first step and get into software development, the fastest way is to get onto a bootcamp. Read our full curriculum and how we teach three full stacks (as well as help with your job hunt).

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