Software & systems

Software developer

Software developers design, build and test computer programmes for business, education and leisure activities.

Annual Salary

£20,000 to £70,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 40

Future employment

There will be 3% more Software developer jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

You could work in a wide range of businesses and industries, public services, utilities, defence and research.

You'll work closely with project managers, business analysts and graphic designers, to find out what the client wants and the best way to achieve it.

Usually, you’ll work in a team.

You could work on a wide variety of projects, from financial databases to robotics to apps for phones and tablets. You may use a number of programming languages or project management tools.

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • talking through requirements with the client and the development team
  • taking part in technical design and progress meetings
  • writing or amending computer code
  • testing software and fixing problems
  • keeping accurate records of the development process, changes and results
  • carrying out trials and quality checks before release
  • maintaining and supporting systems once they're up and running

As an experienced developer, you may supervise a programming team and provide feedback on coding work.


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree in:

  • computer science
  • information technology
  • software development
  • software engineering for business
  • maths

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels for a degree

The TECH Partnership also has details of the Software Development for Business degree available at some universities.


You may be able to get into this job through an apprenticeship if you've developed some programming skills and can show a strong interest in the subject.

You could do a software developer higher apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship in software engineering.

You could also complete a digital and technology solutions degree apprenticeship.

The TECH Partnership has details of digital apprenticeships at all levels.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

Other Routes

Other suitable qualifications are a foundation degree, HND or degree in computing or a related subject, like:

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

Some companies will accept you onto their graduate training scheme without an IT-related degree if you understand programming languages and frameworks, project management and development methods.

You could also study for a postgraduate IT conversion qualification.

You could build up your skills and knowledge using free online learning resources for programming languages, project management and software development methods.

The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) has information about training and qualifications.

£20,000 to £70,000

Starter salary: £20,000 to £30,000

Experienced salary: £30,000 to £40,000

These figures are a guide.

37 to 40

You'll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. You may need to do overtime and weekend work to meet deadlines or to fit around your client's business.

You'll be office-based but may travel to meet clients and fulfil contracts. You may need a full driving licence.

With experience, you could become a senior developer, with team or project management, planning or research responsibilities. You could move into related areas like systems design, IT architecture and business systems analysis.

You could also set up your own business or work as a consultant.

You can find out more about working and training in computing from The Chartered Institute for IT and Tech Future Careers.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • the ability to understand the development process
  • some programming knowledge
  • the ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • maths skills
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