How to Become a Professional Software Developer


What is a Professional Software Developer?

Software engineering has become an increasingly popular profession over the years. From how rewarding the role can be to the attractive salary, it’s easy to see why this is a career path that many computer-savvy people are considering pursuing.

Plus, there’s been a real push towards computer-related work. For almost a decade, the National Curriculum has incorporated coding and computing skills for children as early as Key Stage 1, while contests and competitions are actively drawing young people into this industry.

If you’ve been thinking of becoming a software engineer for a while, here’s everything you need to know to get into the profession.

A professional software developer is a programmer who designs, tests, and maintains the source code of software programs. They are responsible for the entire software development process from start to finish.

A professional software developer typically has a four-year degree in computer science or a related field, and they often have several years of experience working in the industry.

Technical knowledge

The starting point is having a solid understanding of coding. Knowing how to build code and iron out issues at a glance is a key skill that forms the foundations of any software engineering work.

You’ll learn the fundamentals of coding if you opt for a relevant university degree. Computer science is the most common choice for software engineers. But there are other routes into this area of work, such as a college course or apprenticeship, and these offer opportunities to develop coding skills.

Put in the practice

As the equipment used by software engineers is always evolving and coding must move in line with these changes, it’s important that budding software engineers put in the practice – even outside of work hours. This will keep skills sharp and build on existing knowledge.

Look at the different components and equipment you’ll need and try doing trial runs on open-source development platforms like beagleboards, for example. By tinkering in this way, you’ll learn to speed up and quickly spot areas for improvement.

Keep motivated

Software engineering can be an intensive job. Coding all day can be intellectually tiring, and once you start to flag it can cause your code to have bugs or not be set out properly.

However, while it’s advisable not to code if you’re tired, it’s also important to accept that mistakes will happen. If you find yourself in a rut, take the leap and ask for help. A fresh pair of eyes will help you iron out any issues and sharing with someone who’s like-minded can mean you feel motivated about your role again.

Build soft skills

As well as honing technical skills, software engineers have to build a lot of soft skills as a by-product of their job. Creativity is essential for this type of work, while being a good communicator is key to getting through everything from the simple tasks to the more intensive points.


Being detail-orientated is another skill that you’ll naturally develop as you grow into this career. However, this is something that forms the basis of every piece of coding you work on. This is a career that’s all about the details, after all, so spotting a bug or a bad structure is important.


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