Software Application Developers


Employment Prospects


Approximately 1,469,200 software application developers are employed in the United States. Opportunities are best in large cities and suburbs where business and industry are active. Programmers who develop software systems work for software developers and manufacturers, many of whom are in Silicon Valley and San Francisco, in northern California, as well as in Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Washington, and New York, among other places. Developers who adapt and tailor the software to meet specific needs of end-users work for those end-user companies, many of which are scattered across the country.

Starting Out

Software development positions are regarded as some of the most interesting, and therefore the most competitive, in the computer industry. Some software application developers are promoted from an entry-level programming position. Software development positions in software companies and large custom software companies will be difficult to secure straight out of college.

Students in technical schools or universities should take advantage of their campus career services offices. They should check regularly for internship postings, job listings, and notices of on-campus recruitment. Career services offices are also valuable resources for resume tips and interviewing techniques. Internships and summer jobs with software corporations are always beneficial and provide experience that will give you the edge over your competition. General computer job fairs are also held throughout the year in larger cities.

There are many online career sites that post job openings, salary surveys, and current employment trends. You can also obtain information from computer organizations such as the IEEE Computer Society. Because this is such a competitive field, you will need to show initiative and creativity that will set you apart from other applicants.

Advancement Prospects

Those software application developers who demonstrate leadership may be promoted to the position of project team leader. Project team leaders develop new software projects and oversee the work done by software application developers and programmers. With experience as a project team leader, a motivated software application developer may be promoted to a position as a software manager who runs projects from an even higher level. Individuals with a knack for spotting trends in the software market are also likely to advance.

Tips for Entry

Practice developing your own apps to increase your skills.

Apply to small or startup firms where you will probably receive more responsibility and be asked to handle a wider range of job duties.

Visit the following Web sites for job listings:


Attend industry conferences to network and interview for jobs.

Join professional associations such as the IEEE Computer Society to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.