How to become a Software Developer

A software developer designs, tests and programs computer software. They are traditionally a member of the IT department within an organisation and, depending on the size of the company, may work individually or as part of a team. They are responsible for writing, monitoring and modifying software to ensure that computer systems are functioning correctly.

Personal requirements of a Software Developer

  • Analytical and methodical
  • Good concentration
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Able to work independently
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Good customer service skills
  • Ability to solve problems and make informed decisions
  • Interested in coding
  • Passion for computers

Education & Training for a Software Developer

A software developer will normally require a degree or diploma in computer systems or software engineering. The majority of these courses would usually entail gaining your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, chemistry and physics is normally needed. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Software Developer

Software developers:

  • modify software to fix errors and upgrade interfaces
  • develop system testing or validation protocols
  • liaise with clients and colleagues on system design and maintenance issues
  • analyse data in order to recommend, plan and implement a new system or adjust a current system
  • program software with relevant documentation.

Working conditions for a Software Developer

A software developer is ordinarily an in-house employee, often at an IT-specific company or as part of the IT team within a business. They can also be self-employed via a start-up, depending on sufficient funding.

Employment Opportunities for a Software Developer

Software developers work in a range of sectors and industries. They may make programs for a single company as an in-house developer, or on a range of programs for an agency. Developers are highly sought after and often work on a contractual basis. Some software developers are self-taught and have learnt via instructional books and online videos. As there are no industry standard certifications for web developers, this path relies on building a strong portfolio of work.

Future growth:

Very strong

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 6.1%

NSW NSW 37.3%

NT NT 1%

QLD QLD 14.7%

SA SA 2.4%

TAS TAS 0.5%

VIC VIC 32.3%

WA WA 5.7%

Hours worked:



Higher unemployment

Gender split:

Male 72.4%

Female 27.6%

Education level:

Not completed Year 12: 13.6%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 10.4%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 31.2%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 44.8%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0%

20-24 - 8.4%

25-34 - 50.6%

35-44 - 27.7%

45-54 - 8.1%

55-59 - 0.3%

60-64 - 2.6%

65 and Over - 2.3%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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