A bachelor’s in software development can be a good choice for people who love the high tech lifestyle, and who want to design or maintain applications or systems that people use on a daily basis for work or pleasure. As a software developer, you probably won’t create embedded software – at least not the type that goes in cars, airplanes, or missile systems – and you won’t need to get an engineering degree. You will, though, learn multiple computer languages and create some fascinating applications.
"Designing or maintaining applications or systems that people use on a daily basis for work or pleasure." ~ K. Weil
A software development baccalaureate program can give you a broader education than a more traditional programming curriculum. You may have the opportunity to tailor your curriculum to focus on your interests, for example, database management, website creation, or design of computer games, open source software, and apps. Here’s a look at some hot careers in software development.
Game Developer or Mobile App Developer
If you decide to specialize in gaming, you’ll learn about artificial intelligence. As a game developer, you’ll also need a sound understanding of computer security – particularly if you are involved in developing platforms that are used by minors. Companies like Disney Interactive hire software developers who are knowledgeable about all stages of the software development cycle, from needs analysis to maintenance. Bachelor’s level programs may also emphasize business principles and design. Among the many things graduates may find themselves doing: helping companies grow their brand through free-to-play games.
Webmasters are responsible for the technical aspects of website creation. This can include coding, setting up email and communications, and creating different versions of the site – i.e. simplified versions for iPad or mobile users. They collect data about website usage, troubleshoot problems, and make the site more efficient. Webmasters may also have a hand in design and content evaluation. In short, they need both strong computer skills and strong English language skills. The BLS notes that it is possible to get a position as webmaster with an associate’s degree, but that the bachelor’s may be preferred for more complicated (and lucrative) positions.
Database Administrator or Architect
Database designers create data management systems. Database administrators, meanwhile, modify and troubleshoot databases and transfer data from system to system. They are involved in security, data integrity, and backup. Administrators can get certified in different systems like Oracle or SQL Server. Duties can include analyzing configurations, applying database security patches, testing recovery procedures, monitoring capacity, and trending usage. Administrators can get certified in different systems like Oracle or SQL Server. Scripting expertise is also useful for database positions.
Software Developer (Business Applications)
Software developers may combine their coding and database expertise to design business solutions for everything from search engine optimization to asset management. An attractive candidate uses many languages fluently and is familiar with multiple environments. It’s not uncommon for an employer to reference half a dozen languages in a job ad. Developers may, for example, be asked to create user interfaces in AJAX and modules in PHP or Python.
Business application developers should also know how to create attractive and user-friendly interfaces and have strong knowledge of security principles. Some companies look for candidates with business knowledge or familiarity with startups.