Each month we take a look at one of the 650 career pathways featured within Indigo. This month, we explore the role of a software developer.

Developer Cristian Olteanu shares his insights with this video career profile from the Indigo Careers module.

So what is a software developer?

Improving productivity and efficiency, developers design and test computer software for clients.

Your clients could be companies from the finance, insurance, retail or building industries.

You will write the programming code for the new software from scratch or adapt an existing code.

You will then be responsible for testing and maintaining the software, and making sure your client is happy with the new system.


Most software developers/programmers work normal office hours. If there is a deadline to meet you might work overtime or at the weekend.


Software developers/programmers are employed by a variety of industries; these include retail, finance, engineering and government bodies.

You will be based in an office, but you might need to travel around the country when meeting clients.

Type of work

You will collaborate with programmers and designers to create software specifications.

You will work with the client to design and develop software that caters to their business needs and you will be required to communicate with them regularly over the course of the project.

Things to consider

Good progression
There are great opportunities for promotion, leading to senior management roles and consultancy.

Can specialise
Software developers are employed across a variety of industries such as retail, finance or with the government. There are plenty opportunities to specialise in one of these fields as you gain experience. 

Exciting projects/opportunities
Each software program will be unique to the client and the job that it needs to do. You may also have the opportunity to improve existing software.

Short-lived career
You will need to continuously keep up to date with new and developing IT techniques in order to avoid your knowledge becoming obsolete; this could prove difficult if you wanted a career break.

Most people have an undergraduate degree and you will need previous experience/passion for the field

Entry without a degree, Foundation degree or HNC/HND is unusual unless you have substantial experience in programming work and experience of designing or programming websites using new media. A strong portfolio will be required.

Further study is available, from in-house training to professional qualifications. These include the BCS Professional Certification, Diploma and Professional Graduate Diploma in IT and the Institute for the Management of Information Systems (IMIS) Foundation Diploma, Diploma and Higher Diploma. Software companies also offer training courses, such as the Certified Solution Developer (MCSD) and Certified Applications Developer (MCAD) certifications from Microsoft and Oracle’s Java SE and EE certificates, which run up to Master level.

Salary progression
Starting salaries may be around £20,000–£30,000.

This can increase to £30,000–£40,000 once you have gained several years’ experience.

Senior and management roles can pay over £50,000.

Top Tip

Look for a Software Development for Business (BSc) degree accredited by the Tech Partnership. The syllabus is led by industry employers and offers students the opportunity to learn both technical programming and development skills in conjunction with project management and communication.

Click here to explore the full library of over 650 career profiles, including multimedia content and LMI data for students to interpret and discuss.