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All of us use appliances, gadgets, computers, tablets and mobile phones on an almost daily basis, and yet we never really think about the inner mechanics - or software - which drive and control these devices which have such a huge impact in our lives. That is, of course, until things go wrong, or the program we are using ceases to function, crashes or begins to cause problems. We depend on computer programs to gather, utilize and store information, streamline and speed up our working day, communicate electronically with one another and to give us enjoyment and relaxation with online games and entertainment. Our households are serviced by appliances which have inbuilt software programs which control their operation and do much of our thinking for us. Yet these programs - or apps - need to be devised, created, tested, implemented and maintained by some highly knowledgeable and skilled people, known as software developers.
A software developer has a number of different responsibilities, and the scope of his duties depends largely on the organization for which he works. Duties will mainly center around building software programs to fulfill specific functions as required. This may be done by investigating the actual end requirements of the program, forming a theoretical outline of the functionality of the new program, creating the software, testing this for errors and bugs, and implementation and maintenance of the final program. This may involve making necessary adaptations to the software once it is up and running to iron out areas which are not performing to expectations or producing the required results, or to make the software more user-friendly to the people using it. Software developers have to be aware that there is a fine balance between performance and usability of the software by the end users who may not be particularly skilled, knowledgeable or even technically-minded. Training and familiarizing these users with the software and its purpose is an essential factor in incorporating the software into the office routine, and this responsibility may, in a smaller business, depend on the skills of the software developer. On an ongoing basis, a software developer is responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the software and pro-active upgrading and updating before problems occur. In some cases, the developer may be tasked with adapting existing or even “off-the-shelf” software to work on new hardware, enhance its functionality or generally improve its overall performance.
A successful software developer must have extensive knowledge of programming languages and the Software Development Life Cycle or SDLC. Simplified, this cycle consists of planning, defining, designing, building, testing and deployment of the new software. Ideally, a Bachelor’s degree in computer science or a related degree in an area such as information systems, electronics, and civil engineering is required, and specifically-tailored online or college courses have opened the way for non-degreed persons to enter this field. A software developer must also have exceptional mathematical, creative and analytical skills. He - or she - will also liaise with senior management and customers or end-users, so must have good communication skills. Software developers are able to work in a large number of different industries, as the need for software is necessary across all spheres of business, including healthcare, hospitality, industrial, retail, finance, transport, commercial, corporate and entertainment, amongst others. Place of work may range from the organization’s office, clients’ premises, or even remotely from your own home for some periods. A software developer may forge a career with steady progression opportunities within the same or different organizations, or choose to work as a freelancer or consultant which, although not offering the same level of steady income security, may offer higher income benefits. This option would suit those who wish to work independently on their own terms, or who may prefer to travel internationally.
Software developers and engineers are amongst the most sought-after specialists in any field. They may easily be found through online searches and through internet business portals such as linkedin.com, offerzen.com, and many others. Internet search sites such as Uptasker are a valuable aid in finding these specialists, particularly as it provides ‘one-click’ links to websites of listed software development companies. It is also useful in that the site lists specialists according to geographical location, so if you need a developer to work on site at your premises for the duration of the job, you will be able to source a local specialist and thus save on the travel and accommodation costs of bringing in someone from another part of the country. You will also be able to find software developers through business magazines, IT publications, specific advertisements and the Yellow Pages. Always check their online ratings and customer reviews, and employ a specialist who is not afraid of a challenge and has clear evidence of previous successful software program applications.
In order for your business or organization to work effectively and be able to produce fast and accurate service to customers, it is probable that you will need software applications which are customized to your unique needs. Whilst it is possible to use off-the-shelf software programs, many of these are simply too generalized to provide everything you need or do not have the capabilities to meet your requirements. Invest in the services of a software developer who can identify with and understand your requirements, develop, test and implement software applications to produce the results you want, and provide on-going maintenance and upgrades as required and as your business demands them. One way to stay ahead in business is by providing excellence of service in all areas, and a software developer is your best ally in producing the programs to enable you to do this effectively. For more tips, see our software developer articles.
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