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How much demand is there for new software developers?

Introduction

One of the main reasons for the rise in coding bootcamps over the last decade has been the skills gap in the software industry for skilled programmers and developers. Traditional education paths have been unable to close that gap for a variety of reasons. As you consider a career in tech, one question that is probably on your mind is – will there be job opportunities to pursue on the other side of my training? And will those opportunities continue to grow as I grow? 

We’ll take a look at these questions in this article. 

First, we’ll set the stage. What is a software developer?

A software developer is a professional who designs, creates, tests, and maintains software applications, systems, or platforms. These professionals are involved in various stages of the software development life cycle, including analyzing user requirements, designing software architecture, coding, testing, debugging, and maintaining the software.

Software developers can specialize in different areas such as web development, mobile app development, desktop applications, database management, and more. They use programming languages, frameworks, and tools to write code and develop software solutions that meet the needs of users or businesses.

Key responsibilities of a software developer include:

  • Analysis and Planning:
    • Understanding the requirements of a project
    • Creating a plan for the software development process
  • Coding:
    • Writing code in programming languages to implement the software design and functionality
  • Testing:
    • Conducting tests to identify and fix bugs or errors in the software, ensuring it meets quality standards
  • Documentation:
    • Creating documentation for code, algorithms, and processes to facilitate future development and maintenance
  • Collaboration:
    • Working in collaboration with other team members, such as designers, analysts, and testers, to achieve project goals
  • Continuous Learning:
    • Keeping up-to-date with the latest technologies, programming languages, and industry trends to enhance skills and knowledge

Software developers may work in various environments, including software companies, IT departments of organizations, or as freelancers. They play a crucial role in the creation and advancement of software that powers a wide range of applications and services in today’s digital world.

Software is becoming increasingly integrated into every facet of our lives. No longer just the domain of personal computers and server farms, you can find a computer in almost every type of device imaginable, from cars to refrigerators, and electrical outlets to home security systems. As software becomes more prevalent in all of these different domains, the need for qualified professionals to develop that software increases. 

What is the existing demand for software developers?

As of 2022, there are 1,795,300 software developer, quality assurance analysts, and tester jobs both filled and unfilled in the United States. 

That’s a huge number of jobs. 

The May 2022 median annual wage for software developers was $127, 260. Top industries they were found in were software publishers, manufacturing, finance, insurance, business management, and computer systems design with related services. 

What about the layoffs?

Now, if you’ve paid attention to the news cycles in 2023, you’ll have no doubt heard about the rash of tech layoffs from major companies. 

This has caused many to cast doubt around whether they will be able to find a job given the flood of talent into the job market from those larger companies. 

There are a few key things to remember about these boom/bust cycles:

  • The economy is a series of ups and downs, like watching your pulse on a heart monitor. Every period of growth is followed by a slow down, and vice versa. Hearing about layoffs is never easy, but it’s a natural part of how growth in all industries fluctuate.
  • News cycles thrive on keeping your attention using scarcity and negativity. It’s a lot easier to attract viewers who are wired to scan their environments for threats by showing the bad news. That means there’s a whole other side to the story you usually aren’t seeing.
  • Larger technology companies have such a significant influence on the global economy that their layoff news tends to make a big splash. Smaller technology companies (relatively speaking) will fly under the radar even if they are adding positions.
  • While it’s true that existing technology talent from those large companies are usually more skilled and experienced, they also expect and demand higher salaries, meaning they are more expensive to take on board another company if they can’t justify the return on investment.

The main thing to remember is that while competition is always fierce for entry level positions, that won’t stop them from becoming available and even continuing to grow. The best response to that competition is to become more skilled at your craft and visible to others through networking. That combination will serve you well no matter what profession you are in.

To wrap up, it’s easy to look at the data and see a clear picture: there is a need for software developers, and new ones are being hired all the time.

What is the future demand for software developers?

According to the same Bureau of Labor article cited above, growth in the software development field is expected to be much higher than normal, with growth between 2022 and 2032 predicted to be 25%. The average growth in industries across the United States is 3%, for comparison.

That means that where current employment of software developers, QA analysts, and testers is about 1,795,300, the projected employment in 2032 is 2,246,500.

Will I need a four year degree to be qualified?

Something to note in this equation is the requirement for a four year degree. While typical job postings for a software developer will include a requirement for a bachelor’s degree or higher, it’s becoming clear that there will not be nearly enough degrees awarded to keep pace with the total job openings for software engineers. More and more companies are realizing this and are opening up to candidates without that degree qualification – especially in smaller companies and startups that have less attachment to historical hiring precedents.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the outlook for aspiring software developers is undeniably promising. The dynamic landscape of technology, coupled with the ever-expanding integration of software into various aspects of our lives, continues to drive a robust demand for skilled professionals. Despite occasional fluctuations in the industry, the sheer number of job opportunities in the United States alone, reaching 1,795,300 as of 2022, paints a vivid picture of a field ripe with potential.

Looking ahead, the projected 25% growth in the software development field from 2022 to 2032 only solidifies the notion that opportunities will keep flourishing. It’s worth noting that while news headlines may highlight the challenges, the reality is that smaller tech companies, often unnoticed, are quietly adding positions.

To those considering a journey into software development, the call to action is clear: seize the chance to enhance your skills and visibility.

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