All Articles / Information Technology
All Articles / Information Technology

How To Become a Software Developer

Software development is an exciting industry, with fast-paced startups and global corporations needing skilled workers to design and write code for the business and its users. Earning your qualifications in Australia is a sharp decision, as companies across the spectrum need talented employees to level up their capabilities. In 2023, the Australian government’s Skills Priority List identified a nationwide shortage of Software and Applications Programmers, meaning finding the ideal position is within your reach.

So, what does it take to be successful? It helps if you love to solve complicated problems, as software developers require an analytical mindset to create, test and develop solutions that address multiple needs. Alongside an in-depth knowledge of programming languages, refined soft skills are highly beneficial. You could be asked to explain technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders, while employers may favour software developers who understand the value of teamwork.

What does a software developer do?

Software developers typically create software programs from start to finish. In some businesses, this means conducting a robust analysis of user needs to determine key issues. Then, software developers plan, build and test solutions to address these concerns. These answers can be minor changes that enhance user interaction, such as adding new buttons to an application. Other times, you’ll need to deliver major features as part of a larger team.

Besides writing and testing new code, software developers maintain and debug existing work to ensure it performs as expected. In addition, you’ll write software documentation that helps internal and external stakeholders understand how the software works and the best way to use or update it. You’ll also attend meetings, strategise new features with other developers and fix incidents as they occur.

What are the major roles in software development?

There are numerous, often overlapping roles in software development to explore. While some companies look for developers with expert knowledge in a few key areas, others prefer those with a well-rounded skillset that enables them to tackle numerous tasks.

Knowing the difference between software developers and software engineers is also important. Although some people use the terms interchangeably, engineers usually hold a more senior position, overseeing large-scale projects through to completion.

Front-end developer: Front-end developers work on the visual aspects of a software, application or website that users interact with. Using programming languages like HTML, JavaScript and CSS, the front end is usually created in collaboration with other designers and developers. This ensures it meets business needs and is easy for end users to navigate.

Back-end developer: Back-end developers manage everything behind the scenes of a website, application or software. Ranging from data storage and security to countless server-side functions, these aspects of the product are invisible to the end-user but crucially important to its performance. This role often works closely with other designers to deliver the final product.

Full-stack developer: Full-stack developers are comfortable working on either the front-end or back-end of a website, application or software. Featuring a well-rounded skillset, these professionals are often in demand by smaller organisations that benefit from jack-of-all-trade team members. You’ll learn multiple programming languages and work seamlessly across numerous environments.

Mobile developer: Mobile developers are specialists in building applications for mobile devices, using their deep understanding of programming languages specific to Android and iOS to address business demands. In this environment, mobile developers must remain highly aware of operating system limitations, hardware requirements and user experience best practices to ensure the application achieves its goals.

QA engineer: Although a QA (Quality Assurance) engineer is not strictly a software developer, the roles share numerous responsibilities. For instance, QA engineers create manual and automated tests using tools and frameworks to determine whether a product or process operates as expected. QA engineers often move into software development roles after gaining experience.

What are a software developer’s daily responsibilities?

Every business is different, but the daily responsibilities of software developers typically include programming, team meetings, code reviews, testing and documentation. Below, we explore the primary tasks you’ll likely encounter.

Team meetings: Software developers attend frequent meetings to discuss the best ways to bring a brief to life and the timelines needed to achieve this goal. In most companies, you’re expected to update the team on your progress and outline what comes next.

Programming: Software developers spend most of their time planning, coding and testing their assigned programming tasks. Depending on the task, you might work closely with other developers or QA engineers to overcome bugs and implement specific features.

Code reviews: Most software developers are expected to undertake regular code reviews, where colleagues review your work and you review theirs. This process is essential for improving code and ensuring it ships with fewer flaws.

What skills do software developers need to succeed?

Software development is constantly changing, but several fundamental skills will help you achieve success. While programming talent is crucial, you can’t overlook the importance of robust communication and interpersonal skills in the modern workplace.

Technical skills: There’s an enormous variety of technic skills to learn. While you won’t need to know all of them, depending on your chosen role and area of specialization, you might need to master HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP – for Website development Python, Java, C# for Application development, SQL and more.

Communication: Most software developers aren’t hidden away on their computers all day. You’ll need refined communication skills to liaise with your colleagues and explain your work to diverse stakeholders.

Time management: Software development can be an intense industry, with workers asked to navigate complex problems within short deadlines. You’ll need excellent time management skills and the ability to prioritise tasks in the ideal order.

Problem solving: You’re in the right business if you love solving puzzles. Supported by strong problem-solving skills and an analytical attitude, software developers strive for elegant solutions to complicated issues.

How to get qualified as a software developer

Making the move into software development is a superb choice for your future. Supported by an outstanding qualification, you can prepare for the industry and secure a top-notch position.

Enrol in an information technology course

Finding your place as a software developer is much easier once you’ve completed a relevant course. Monarch Institute’s Diploma of Information Technology (Front and Back End Web Development) equips students with in-demand technical skills that prepare them for the industry.

With this online course completed within 18–25 months, you’ll be guided by experienced IT professionals who offer fascinating industry insight. This way, you can learn the fundamental skills and get a head start on the competition during your job search.

Find an internship

Elevating your skills through an internship is a wise decision. While you’re bound to learn crucial skills in the classroom, taking these talents into the real world enhances your education as you learn directly from other professionals.

This invaluable knowledge means you feel better prepared to land a job at a leading organisation. Meanwhile, internships are outstanding opportunities to make an impression on a business or use the connections you make to secure an entry-level position.

Focus on professional development

There’s no single way to become a software developer. While many follow a traditional path into the industry, others teach themselves the skills to design projects that capture attention. Adopting this self-led approach is perfect for growing your talent base.

For example, you might focus initially on front-end development but decide to learn more about database management and server architecture. By taking initiative, you can learn new programming languages and processes that round out your skillset.

The best reasons to become a software developer

Software development is an attractive career path with high salaries and endless opportunities for creativity. If you’re considering a move, these are just some of the best reasons to commit.

You get to solve problems: Software development is all about building products and solving problems. If you love using your creativity to develop imaginative and effective solutions, software development might be the perfect industry for you.

You can work from anywhere: Many software developers spend little time in the office. If you find the right employer, you could work mostly from home or overseas as long as you can complete your tasks on a laptop.

There’s always more to learn: There are limitless opportunities to learn more in software development. With dozens of programming languages to master and myriad ways to apply them, you’ll never run out of ways to improve your knowledge.

You get paid well: It’s no secret that software developers earn excellent wages. A talented developer can deliver enormous value for their company, so businesses are more than prepared to pay high salaries to secure the best workers.

What is the average software developer’s salary?

Software developers often earn stellar salaries, especially considering the relatively low barrier to entry. According to Indeed, the average annual base salary for a front-end developer in Australia is $113,400, with back-end and full-stack developers earning even more.

As you take on more responsibility, expect your salary to increase significantly. While high wages and routine 40-50 hour weeks contribute to positive reports of job satisfaction, a survey of almost 65,000 software developers found 75% work occasional overtime of approximately 1-2 days per quarter.

Software development courses at Monarch Institute

Embark on a software development course with Monarch Institute to learn the foundational skills needed to grow your career. Guided by our expert teachers and thought leaders, our online curriculums provide essential skills and ready you for the workforce.

Related resources

Exploring the possibilities of software development has never been more exciting. Learn more about the industry and discover your ideal path with these related resources from our blog.

Study software development online today

Ready for a software development career? Contact our friendly course consultants at Monarch Institute to take your first steps in this fascinating industry.


-Reviewed by Saravanan Thangavel

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