Software developers design, build and test computer programmes.

What does a software developer do?

Software developers – sometimes called programmers – design, build and test computer programmes. You may work on information databases, programmes that control robotic systems, or cloud and mobile applications. You may write computer programmes from scratch or amend existing 'off-the-shelf' programmes to meet the needs of the project.

What do I need to do to become a software developer?

You will normally need a HND, foundation degree, or degree to become a software developer. You could choose to study a variety of subjects, including:

  • computer science
  • information technology
  • software development
  • software engineering
  • mathematics
  • business information systems

If you don't have an IT-related degree, you may still be able to find a place on a graduate trainee scheme. Many larger employers accept graduates with other subjects, providing they can show enthusiasm for the field and have some understanding of the development process.

To do a degree, you will usually need five GCSEs (A-C) including maths, English and science, plus three A levels or an equivalent level 3 qualification.  You should check with universities for exact entry requirements as vocational courses are acceptable for some degree courses but not all.  

Relevant A levels include maths, physics and computing.

Vocational route: a level 3 qualification in computer science would be most relevant. Entry may be possible without five GCSEs at grade C, with an equivalent level 2 qualification such as BTEC level 2 computer science. 

Related skills

  • Technical ability
  • Problem solving
  • Numeracy
  • Creativity
  • IT

Academic route

  • A levels including maths, physics and computing

Vocational route

  • Level 3 qualification in computer science

Related subjects

  • Computer science
  • Maths
  • Physics

Desirable qualifications

  • IT degree
  • Computing degree

Where could I be working?

You will be working indoors, and could be self-employed, or working for a small, medium or large company.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

Related jobs

Job families