“I am not the only person who uses his computer mainly for the purpose of diddling with his computer.” - Dave Barry

Jobs in IT are hugely popular. There are a few IT-related jobs that feature in the most-searched jobs on LinkedIn.

Do you need a better reason to look for work in IT? Why not give it a go?

Whether it’s making computer games, working in VR, or web development, there are a lot of ways you can work in IT or software development.

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What Do You Need to Study to Become a Developer?

Before you dive straight in, you need to be trained. When it comes to IT or development roles, most will have studied a degree in computer science, computer engineering, or web development.

What do you need to study to work in software development?
It's very common for software developers to have studied computing, computer science, or computer engineering at university. (Source: Pexels)

Generally, a bachelor’s degree will be enough to get your foot in the door, which means you can start working in IT or development after 3 years of higher education.

There are a few universities that rank highly for IT and software development. A lot of them would probably be the big ones you think of including Oxford and Cambridge as well as many of the UK’s top red-brick university. Of course, there are also some newer universities offering excellent degrees. It also depends heavily on the type of IT or development your want to study.

Some universities are better than others in certain fields. Don’t forget that you can’t learn everything in a university and that some courses may be useful for teaching you the theory, but can’t fully prepare you for what life is like in the working world once you’ve finished.

But do you need to study a university degree?

Some developers are quite capable of proving their worth without a degree certificate. Those who’ve taught themselves how to code, for example, will have a portfolio of completed projects, apps, websites, etc. to show off what they’re capable of. In many cases, this will be what draws in clients and self-taught professionals are often driven and passionate about their work, which employers and clients will probably be looking for.

Experience is probably more important than your qualifications for certain jobs so don’t hesitate to show potential employers and customers your past projects. Just make sure you highlight projects that will let them know what you’re capable of.

Find out more about training and courses for software developers

Average Earnings and Career Prospects

Once they’ve finished their studies, a lot of developers will dive straight into work. The world of IT and software development is broad and there are many different sectors you can work in. For some, you may only be able to work in certain sectors with your qualifications, but there are options to retrain or transition into other fields.

Each developer should work on what they’re passionate about.

How much do software developers earn?
Like with other careers, your earning potential will increase with experience. (Source: KelvinStuttard)

Here are a few of the fields you could work in:

  • Video games
  • AI
  • Machine Learning
  • Cybersecurity
  • Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality
  • Embedded Systems
  • Web Development
  • Etc.

IT professionals and software developers can work in the heart of a larger company or work for themselves as freelancers.

Each option comes with its pros and cons. For many, the promise of a regular wage will put them off the idea of working for themselves. The average software developer in the UK earns £31k/year or around £2,500 a month.

Working at a company means that you’ll probably work regularly with the same people and get into a routine.

Developers can also choose to work for themselves. In this case, they’ll probably need to register as a sole trader. This will allow you to be the boss, but it’ll also mean finding customers. A freelance developer may work with several different clients on a range of different projects. The different projects will help keep your work interesting.

However, you mightn’t have a stable income as a freelancer. In some cases, you may be out of work for weeks at a time. As a freelancer, you need to be incredibly organised.

once you’ve got started, you will have the potential to earn more than a developer working for a company.

Find out more about becoming a software developer

What Qualities Do You Need to Become a Developer?

A good software developer needs a specific set of skills, whether working at a company or as a freelancer.

What skills do you need to become a software developer?
In addition to programming skills, you'll also need several soft skills to be successful at software development. (Source: fancycrave1)

Firstly, they’ll need programming skills. Knowing one or several programming languages is essential and you need to master at least one. It’s pointless being vaguely familiar with several but lacking specialisation.

A software developer also needs to be versatile to meet their clients’ demands. They may need to come up with ideas, analyse performance, and even offer to consult their client. They’ll need to be good at wearing different hats as well as rigorous in their work. You can’t just throw together code and hope that it works.

Software developers also need to be reactive and ready to solve problems as they arise. Some problems can cost companies a lot of money so you’ll want to avoid or minimise them.

You also need to be driven as you may be expected to regularly work independently, especially as a freelancer. As the specialist, you probably won’t be able to ask your boss or superior for help. A developer will regularly run into problems in their code and they’ll need to be able to solve them without outside help.

This means that developers need to know a lot about programming while also being resourceful. They need to keep up-to-date with their field as their clients will expect them to be the expert. A developer needs to adapt quickly as IT and software development is a field that continually evolves.

You need to be curious and always willing to learn.

A developer also needs to have social skills as they’ll need to liaise with clients and those in the company who mightn’t have as deep an understanding of software development. They also need to listen and understand what their client is after, especially since the client mightn’t be able to express it using the right computer jargon.

In some cases, it may feel like you’ve mastered a foreign language! You’ll need to know all the lingo and also how to explain to those who don’t speak IT.

Check out what makes a good software developer

How Can You Find Work as a Software Developer

If you want to work for a company, you’ll either want to work in software companies or a company large enough to require a software department. The quickest way to find these kinds of jobs is online as companies will regularly advertise software development roles on the biggest recruitment sites or through specialist recruiters.

How can you find work in software development?
Software developers can find work through large tech companies, agencies, and job sites. (Source: LoboStudioHamburg)

Some companies may be looking to put together an IT or software development team and require several developers. This might be true for e-commerce sites or companies that need an app.

There may also be jobs at marketing firms. They’ll be looking for clients who need things like apps or websites and will task their software team or specialist with completing these jobs. These are good roles for creative types as there’ll be several different projects.

There are also software firms that offer software development as a service to other companies and clients across many different fields.

Why not become a teacher or lecturer?

You can also teach your IT and software development skills to the next generation of programmers and specialists or start a career as a private tutor, and, much like freelancing, find students.

Whatever you want to do with your career, you shouldn’t struggle to find work in software development. Just look on job websites and social networks like LinkedIn and you’ll be bound to find something. Make sure that your CV is always up-to-date, though, as this field regularly changes!

Find out more about careers in software development

If you'd like to learn more about software engineering, web development, or computer programming, consider getting help from a private tutor on the Sueprprof website.

There are plenty of tutors around the UK and all over the world who can help you with face-to-face tutoring, online tutoring, or group tutorials. Each type of tutoring comes with pros and cons so think carefully about which will work for you and your budget.

Don't forget that a lot of the tutors on the Superprof website offer the first session or lesson for free so you can try out several different tutors before choosing which one is right for you. It's a good idea to make a list of criteria before you start searching for tutors and then shortlist a few before you start contacting them and arranging taster sessions or free lessons.

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Joseph

Joseph is a French and Spanish to English translator, language enthusiast, and blogger.