What Does a Software Developer Do?

What is a software developer? What does this expert do in the context of their job position? What are the main requirements for such experts?

What Does a Software Developer Do?

How Does Software Development Work?

Software developers play a key role in creating and updating applications, web services, websites, and whole IT systems. They are responsible for building the architecture of the future solution, choosing the right teddchnical tools, writing program code, as well as its revision and optimization. However, after such a basic description, we would like to consider this profession in detail. All the specifics of the software developer job position will be discussed below.

What Is a Software Developer?

So, what does a software developer do? A software developer is an IT specialist who creates digital products for various purposes for desktop, web, and mobile platforms, for example:

  • text, graphic, and visual content editors;
  • data processing applications – spreadsheets, analytical systems;
  • instant messengers, video conferencing platforms;
  • drivers, utilities, archivers, antiviruses;
  • operating systems, browsers, etc.

If we delve deeper and define a software developer in more detail, we will conclude that they are experts in researching, analyzing, and evaluating existing or new software requirements. Also, they design, develop, test, and maintain this software in accordance with those requirements. To become a software developer, you need not only to know programming languages, libraries, and environments but also understand standard development patterns and programming principles specific to certain types of software.

What applications do software developers do?

According to the definition we wrote above when answering the question: “What is a software developer?”, they design, code, deploy, update, and maintain applications using their technical skills and relevant tools. At the same time, applications are divided into desktop, web, and mobile. Accordingly, your applicant must have the relevant technology stack to bring your business idea to life.

What do systems software developers do?

The software system developer creates and implements applications and programs for server-side (backend) processing systems. They lack a standard user interface and can only be used to administer systems. Note that a system software developer is included in a general software developer meaning, so if you are looking for just such a specialist, you need to pay attention to applicants with a strong background in backend development.

What Are Common Job Duties for a Software Developer?

How Does Software Development Work?

Now you may ask: “How does software development work?” Therefore, to not keep you waiting, we propose to list the most common software developer job responsibilities:

  • drawing up technical tasks for designers and testers;
  • organization of the work of the software development department;
  • negotiating with stakeholders and agreeing on the concept and layouts of the future project;
  • making changes according to the product owner’s request;
  • advising company executives on the possibilities of automating individual business processes;
  • resolving individual economic and technical problems;
  • development of mathematical models;
  • ensuring the high quality of software code.

What are some important software developer skills?

Together with knowing “What does a developer do?” it is essential to understand how they can do it. While each product owner has its own unique requirements for hiring software developers, there is a certain average list of skills that this specialist should possess. Let’s look at them in more detail:

  • knowledge of modern software architectures and patterns for their creation;
  • knowledge of specific programming languages;
  • experience with popular programming environments;
  • experience with popular databases and large volumes of information;
  • knowledge of methods of automated testing and automatic verification of the consistency and quality of the software;
  • knowledge of the types of diagnostic data and methods of its presentation;
  • skills in working with means of batch management of procedures;
  • knowledge of typical software metrics;
  • knowledge of methods for measuring and evaluating software characteristics;
  • knowledge of the rules and technologies for creating test cases;
  • knowledge of the requirements for the methods of collecting, processing, and storing the data;
  • skills in working with test systems and knowledge of ways to fix bugs;
  • the ability to develop test cases to assess the quality and reliability of the software;
  • the ability to generate test sets for solving specific problems;
  • skills for integrating created digital products with ready-made third-party solutions;
  • refactoring and optimization skills.

In fact, there can be much more requirements for a software development engineer, from the skills of creating microserver architectures to mastering trending technologies like blockchain, augmented and virtual reality, etc. Also, clients sometimes expect candidates to have experience working on projects for a specific business niche with its own compliance standards and other nuances.

Along with pre-defined hard skills, it also makes sense to consider soft skills, which determine the ability of a particular specialist to work productively in a team and interact with stakeholders. Below we have given the main soft skills that you will also have to check when interviewing a specific candidate for the position of software developer.

Problem-solving ability

Even though the main problem of a software developer is to find the optimal solution to the task set by the product owner – that is, the optimal tools and approaches to implementation of specific requirements (both technical and non-technical), these specialists must be able to effectively cope with the challenges that may accompany the development process itself. 

For example, it can be delays caused by the incompetence of other team members, changes made by the product owner, tight budget restrictions, etc. Thus, without proper ingenuity, a software developer is unlikely to be able to deliver a quality product on time.


Also, the specialist you hired should be able to smoothly integrate into the team and be non-conflict. At the same time, it is very important for them to defend their point of view thanks to their experience and competence. It is also desirable that your applicant has experience working according to popular software development methodologies (for example, Agile) to maximize team productivity.

Analytical and strategic

Analytical thinking is also an extremely important skill for the role of software developer, as it implies the ability to find optimal solutions (in terms of time costs, budget constraints, project requirements, as well as long-term business goals of the product owner) – in relation to the choice and use of technologies and software development tools. 

Also, to maximize the project’s life cycle, this specialist should be able to build strategies for further improvement and optimization, considering its possible changes and scaling. These two soft skills generally determine the creation of competitive and cost-effective digital solutions.

Intrinsic motivation

And, of course, do not forget about the generally accepted thesis that “the best work is the work that was once your hobby”. Indeed, given the relatively high salaries, the IT industry began to expand with more and more new talents, the quality of knowledge of many of which is worse than expected. Today it is more and more difficult to find specialists who would “live” in their profession and strive to constantly expand their set of skills to do their best for the projects they are working on. However, it is still quite possible to find such people – just analyze the resume and make sure that an appropriate higher education precedes the choice of the profession of a software developer. Although, of course, there are always exceptions.

On the other hand, the applicant’s professionalism, unfortunately, does not always guarantee that they will be involved in the work on your project. That’s why checking if your job seeker shares your business values and company’s policies makes sense.

What Is the Typical Software Developer’s Salary?

What Is the Typical Software Developer's Salary?

Software developers’ salaries depend highly on their skills, experience, and demographics. For example, the independent web resource BuiltIn claims that in the US, the average salary for this specialist is 140 thousand US dollars per year. At the same time, if we take destinations with lower market rates, particularly Ukraine, then, according to Glassdoor, the median salary will be much lower – about 62.4 thousand US dollars. Note that these estimations are relevant for the capital (Kyiv), and therefore we can assume that it may be even lower in other regions. 

So, if you are ready to work remotely with your contractors (which has generally become commonplace since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic), you should consider outsourcing or outstaffing.


Now you know the answer to the question: “What do software developers do?” In particular, the list of tasks a software developer must perform as part of their job responsibilities is quite wide and often depends on a specific project. Moreover, this profession requires impressive knowledge and experience with development environments, technologies, and specific software tools. This is why it can be difficult for product owners to navigate the labor market and find the best fit for their projects. 
If you’re just looking for experienced software developers, please, contact us. We will provide you with experts with hard and soft skills that fully meet your individual business requirements and ensure that they are seamlessly integrated into your team.

Frequently Asked Questions About Software Development

Now let’s answer the three questions most relevant to the topic of our article.

What do software developers make?

In a nutshell, software developers create and update (and\or scale) applications, web services, websites, and other digital products. However, their list of job responsibilities is much more extensive and includes writing technical documentation, aligning project requirements with stakeholders, code refactoring, and much more.

How does a software developer differ from a computer programmer?

A computer programmer focuses on writing software code and tests it for bugs, while the definition of software developer (or an sw developer, which is the same term) implies using a program code as a tool that has to meet the users’ needs.

How long does it take to become a software developer?

Usually, it takes about three years of experience and some form of education to become a software developer.