The increase in demand for computer software has created rapid employment growth for software developers, projected to increase by 17% through 2024.*
So just what skills will help set you apart from other software developers? Here are five to add to your skill set.
1. Utilizing Multiple Programming Languages
IT professionals who can understand multiple programming languages and know the ins and outs of the development process, including both front-end and back-end applications, are sometimes referred to as “full-stack software developers.” Full-stack developers are more versatile, meaning they can wear many different hats during the software development process, which can add value to the project and the organization.
IT professionals who can work across areas such as of DevOps (combining product management, software development, and operations) quality assurance, and database administration use a variety of programming and scripting languages.
A sample of some of the key languages for software developers to know include Java, SQL, HTML5, CSS3, and Java Script.
2. Data Science and Analytics
Developers who can design and conduct statistical analyses will be an asset in the era of Big Data. Adding data analysis skills and statistical programming to your portfolio may be beneficial for your career.
Data and statistical analysts perform a variety of tasks across the organization, including analysis and reporting, diagnosing current problems, predicting future trends, and simulating decision outcomes.
Some of the top languages and tools to learn include Excel (for descriptive statistics and analysis), R (for statistical computing and graphics), SAS (for business intelligence and data management), and Hadoop or MondoDB (cloud-based database management systems).
In a world of continued data breaches where companies constantly reassess security protocols, cybersecurity knowledge is important for software programmers and IT professionals in all areas. Software developers need to be aware of how design decisions and coding practices can contribute to safe and secure software applications.
Developing your skills in secure application development, firewall protection, penetration testing, and computer forensics is important to building a well-rounded technical portfolio.
4. Project Management
Budgets, schedules, and changing requirements are all components of software development projects. If you can excel in managing projects from start to finish and are able to support change as projects shift, you will stand out among your IT department peers.
Organizations value project management skills as a well-managed project can end up saving time and money. The IT professional who can manage either traditional or iterative software development processes adds extra value to the organization.
5. Algorithms and Data Structures
Do you like to solve problems or figure out that last piece to the puzzle? Enter algorithms: a set of rules or maps for calculations and problem solving. In the field of software development, it is important not only to understand current platform algorithms, but also to develop skills in creating your own variations to solve new and novel problems on your own.
Data structures—the way data is organized and processed within a program for maximum efficiency—go hand in hand with algorithms in helping software developers create and troubleshoot programs. Building strong skills in these two areas can help you efficiently and flexibly build successful software.
IT professionals with solid, logical thinking skills and a problem-solving mindset can effectively break down a problem, identify a solution, and build the software using the best data structures and algorithms to maximize efficiency.
Usually a bachelor’s degree in computer science and strong computer programming skills are needed for this field.*