Nearly 1.5 million software developers and programmers are employed in the United States. Software designers are employed throughout the United States. Opportunities are best in large cities and suburbs where business and industry are active. Many software manufacturers are headquartered in Silicon Valley and San Francisco in northern California. There are also concentrations of software manufacturers in Texas, Virginia, Massachusetts, Washington, and New York, among other places. Designers 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.
Software design positions are regarded as some of the most interesting, and therefore the most competitive, in the computer industry. Some software designers are promoted from an entry-level programming position. Software design positions in software supply companies and large custom software companies will be difficult to secure straight out of college or technical/vocational school.
Entry-level programming and design jobs may be listed in the help wanted sections of newspapers. Employment agencies and online job banks are other good sources.
Students in technical schools or universities should take advantage of their school's career services office. 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 such 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 listed on the World Wide Web that post job openings, salary surveys, and current employment trends. The Web also has online publications that deal specifically with computer jobs. 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.
In general, programmers work between one and five years before being promoted to software designer. A programmer can move up by demonstrating an ability to create new software ideas that translate well into marketable applications. Individuals with a knack for spotting trends in the software market are also likely to advance.
Those software designers who demonstrate leadership may be promoted to project team leader. Project team leaders are responsible for developing new software projects and overseeing the work done by software designers and applications programmers. With experience as a project team leader, a motivated software designer may be promoted to a position as a software manager who runs projects from an even higher level.
Tips for Entry
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:
Join professional associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Become certified in order to show employers that you have met the highest standards established by your industry.