Many of today's most promising career paths did not exist just a few years ago. Case in point: IT development, which is one of the tech sector's most exciting new career paths. In just a few years, IT development has transformed from a little-known field to a key area of operation in a variety of industries.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in IT development? Read on to learn more about this professional opportunity — and how the right academic credentials can set you on the path to a rewarding career.
What Is IT Development?
The terms ‘IT developer’ and ‘software developer’ are often used interchangeably, largely due to the considerable overlap between these top career tracks. In general, however, IT development encompasses the creation and management of systems and applications that underlie an organization's broader networks. Development begins with identifying core functionalities and client requirements, such as strong security or scalability. From there, IT professionals design and test software to meet previously specified needs. Additionally, developers may provide ongoing maintenance or regular upgrades to ensure that programs and applications continue to function optimally.
A Day in the Life of an IT Developer
No two IT development jobs are exactly alike — therein lies both the challenge and the reward of this rapidly growing field.
IT developers work in a broad range of industries and capacities. Many work for firms that specialize in providing IT solutions, while others offer in-house services for the following industries:
- Health care
- Human resources
Most IT developers work on a full-time basis, but opportunities for consulting and remote work are available. IT development is a demanding job, however, with many professionals working well over 40 hours per week.
Regardless of industry or typical work hours, IT developers can expect to work closely with fellow developers and, sometimes, with computer programmers. Some IT developers are expected to complete coding on their own. Most are supervised by project managers or development managers. Despite regular interaction with technical professionals, the job often involves a high degree of independence, with many developers expected to execute IT plans with minimal supervision.
Finding a Job in IT Development: Necessary Skills
Employers overwhelmingly prefer to work with IT professionals who possess extensive technical training. Typically, this means obtaining a Bachelor of Science – Computer Science — often followed by a graduate degree such as an MBA – Information Security/Assurance. Ideally, job candidates will demonstrate proficiency in:
- Automated testing frameworks
- Build tools such as CruiseControl.NET
- Distribution procedures
Additionally, IT developers should be effective communicators, both verbally and in written formats. The ability to work successfully in a team is essential as IT developers often collaborate not only with fellow developers but also with professionals from a variety of other departments. Others, however, may conduct the majority of their work independently. Either way, attention to detail is imperative.
Job Outlook and Expected Earnings
Early projections indicate skyrocketing growth in IT development. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software development will see a 24 percent increase in open jobs between 2016 and 2026 — versus an outlook of just 7 percent across all industries. While growth is anticipated in all areas of software development, projections are particularly promising in applications.
Due to the strong demand for IT developers, companies are willing to pay skilled employees generously. Glassdoor highlights an average annual income of $88,870 for IT developers, while the BLS cites a median annual salary of $103,560 for software developers. While it's possible to score a high-paying job with a Bachelor of Science – Computer Science or another related major, especially lucrative opportunities are available for those with relevant graduate degrees.
Opportunities for Advancement
After a few years in the field — or after securing a graduate degree — it may be possible to move up from entry-level IT development into even more lucrative positions. Often, the next step on the career ladder involves management. Common job titles include IT development manager, IT project manager, software development manager, and application development manager. Typically, managers are responsible for overseeing teams of software developers — and collaborating with other leaders to ensure efficiency and quality.
If you have a natural affinity for software applications and detail-oriented projects, you may be the perfect candidate for a career in IT or software development. Your Bachelor of Science – Computer Science or MBA – Information Security/Assurance could set you on the path to a rewarding and lucrative career.
Want to learn more about earning your Bachelor of Science – Computer Science or MBA – Information Security/Assurance online with Johnson & Wales University’s College of Online Education? For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.