Software developers are the masterminds behind the technologies we cannot live without. They create software programs that enable people to play games, build spreadsheets, write emails, or watch movies on computers and mobile devices.
According to a U.S. News ranking, software development is one of the most sought-after jobs on the market, ranking second-best in technology and fifth-best in the STEM fields. Many software developers pursue a degree in Computer Science. However, having a degree in software engineering or computer science isn’t enough. What employers look for are relevant skills and practical experience.
Whether you are an application software engineer or a systems software engineer, college-educated or self-taught, there are technical skills every programmer must-have. This article will discuss the top five software developer skills companies are looking for in software development professionals.
Software Developer Definition
Software developers create, design, and implement computer programmes. The responsibilities of a software developer may vary. Some may create new mobile or desktop applications, while others create underlying operating systems.
In either case, software developers identify user needs, create programmes, test new software, and improve it.
Cloud computing is the use of the internet to store, process, and manage data. Rather than owning their own IT infrastructure, organizations pay cloud service providers for access to servers, storage, web databases, networking, software, and artificial intelligence. When people back up photos to Google Drive, they use cloud storage technology.
Cloud computing allows companies to avoid or minimize the costs of owning and maintaining their own IT infrastructure. For this reason, companies of all sizes are migrating toward cloud services. Furthermore, with the switch to subscription models, more and more software applications are offered online rather than as standalone products.
The rate of cloud adoption growth is rising steadily. That means any company you apply to either has or will have cloud-based applications. Having hands-on experience with cloud platforms gives you an advantage over the competition. It is one of the essential software developer skills in machine learning operations (MLops) and artificial intelligence.
Know a Scripting Language
To become a software developer, knowing a scripting language is as important as knowing any language. Not only will it greatly enhance your software developer portfolio, but also your communication skills.
A scripting language is one of the most in-demand software developer skills. It is a programming language that delivers instructions to web servers, internet pages, and other applications to perform specific actions like data extraction, configuration, and task automation, to name a few. For example, the scripting language in cold email software applications helps automate repetitive tasks like copying and pasting the same email to multiple recipients.
You’ve probably heard of HTML, CSS, JavaScipt, or Python. These are some of the scripting languages that create dynamic web pages and power web applications like YouTube.
There are two primary types of scripting languages:
- Server-side scripting language runs code off a web server and is executed from the back-end. PHP, Python, and Perl are examples of server-side scripts.
All scripting languages are programming languages. However, not all programming languages are scripting languages. A basic understanding of hybrid program languages kills two birds with one stone. Python, for example, can be used for both OOP coding and scripting.
Given the migration to cloud-based services and the increase of software subscription services, any application you develop cannot be standalone. The world is connected to the internet through networks like WIFI or Local Area Network (LAN). That allows people to access different applications from anywhere in the world.
Computer networking is the exchanging of data between connection points (nodes) on devices like routers, printers, etc., over a network. Networking also deals with the use, operation, and maintenance of network infrastructure and software.
You will need to understand networking basics to develop the right software for network support. For example, wide area networks (WAN) require thousands of nodes and rigorous security protocols. The software developer skills required for this complex network will differ from those of a home WIFI network.
Know Version Control Tools
Version or source control is the tracking and managing of changes to software codes. Let’s say there’s an error in a data compression code. Software engineers can look back at earlier versions of the code to find and fix the mistake. Version control keeps track of every modification to a code, minimizing disruptions.
As part of your software developer skills arsenal, you will need to know at least one of the top source control management tools like SVN or GitHub, a cloud-based platform with a 30% market share.
This type of version control is called branching. It allows multiple members of a software development team to work on different parts of a program at the same time. For example, one person works on fixing a bug while another works on adding a new feature without disrupting each other’s work.
Version control isn’t only used to track errors. Web developers use version control tools to A/B test web pages. A/B testing is a user experience experiment. It presents customers with two versions of the same page to see which version customers respond to best. With version control, web developers can keep track of the changes in code branches.
Data Structure and Algorithms
The required skills of a software developer also stretch into data structures and algorithms. These must-have programming skills for software developers are directly related to coding and problem-solving. Data structures hold data (coding), while algorithms solve problems using that data (problem-solving).
A data structure is a way of efficiently organizing and storing data. As software applications become more complex, data structures are needed to help software applications with data search, processing speed, and multiple requests.
There are two types of data structures:
- Linear data structures like arrays, queues, and stack structures organize data in sequential order, such as song playlists or phone contacts.
- Non-linear data structures like graphs, maps, and tree structures organize data in hierarchical order—for example, dropdown menus or brainstorming mind maps.
In an inventory of millions of data, data structures make it so that not all inventory items are searched.
An algorithm is a set of instructions used to solve a particular problem. For example, an algorithm can be written to search for an item in a data structure or update an item from a data structure.
Algorithms can be applied in many ways. In social media, algorithms are used to sort content by its relevance to the user. In business applications, algorithms help create customer persona profiles that help marketers understand their target audience and create effective marketing campaigns.
Software developers are a highly sought-after group of professionals. They create the programs our daily lives are built on. As a result, they are paid handsomely. Competition among software development professionals to land jobs with big tech companies is fierce. To keep yourself ahead of the competition or take your career in software engineering to the next level, you need the software developer skills companies are looking for.
The days of standalone software programs are gone. Cloud computing and online networking skills are two essential skills employers are looking for in online access. Knowing scripting languages, version control, data structures, and algorithms gives the flexibility to create innovative and scalable programs.
The list I’ve shared is by no means exhaustive, but it is a good starting point, and they don’t require an advanced degree. They will make you stand out to employers looking for well-rounded and dynamic professionals.
Article by Sam Molony
Sam is part of the marketing team at Mailshake. Sam’s goal is to inspire people to not just “hang in there” but to thrive. When Sam’s not publishing or promoting new content, you can find him playing sports and cooking up a storm in the kitchen.