How Do You Become a Software Developer?

Software developers create computer programs or specialized applications that make it possible for people to use computers. One example of software that was created by developers is a word processor. Another is a spreadsheet. People without technical skills use the programs that are created by a developer.

Developers of software also create another type of software known as “operating system software”. This is the program that controls how computers interact with the hardware and other application software. Microsoft Windows™ is an example of operating system software. It allows humans to use computer hardware so that work can be accomplished.

Software developers analyze user needs and create custom programs as well as test and deploy them. Developers write instructions or documentation for the programs they create, maintain the software and make modifications as needed. Software developers need to have a background in programming but they may supervise or direct a team of programmers working for them. Developers supervise the building of information systems to support organizational goals.

There are specialized software developers, too. A good example would be the individuals who work on game development or in writing specialized programs for mobile devices or other consumer applications. A writer of computer code for environmental control systems, for example, would require an expert developer of software for the equipment.

Becoming a software developer requires a strong background in programming. A four-year college degree in computer information systems or computer science is normally considered to be the minimum to become a developer. Developers use computer languages, developer platforms and other software tools such as flowcharts and context diagrams. Ideally the developer would also need to possess specialized knowledge associated with the field in which he or she is working (i.e. healthcare, law enforcement, etc.).

Developers of software need to be analytical and possess excellent communication skills. They must enjoy working to produce a product that is subject to extensive testing and re-writing of computer code. Writers of software must be able to use logic and reasoning to create solutions to complex problems and must also possess superior judgment.

A developer’s career path would most likely have begun as a programmer working as part of a development team. An individual beginning as a programmer would gradually assume more responsibility, gain more knowledge and experience and be given increasingly more important tasks. Certification would be a plus.

A software developer’s career would benefit from obtaining certification as a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer. It requires knowledge of Video Studio. Other levels of certification are provided by various vendors including SUN Microsystems™. The IEEE has two: Certified Software Developer Associate and Certified Software Developer Professional.

The salary of software developers in 2012 ranged from $59,750 to $122,750. The outlook for employment is strong. There is a continuing demand as developer of software, especially in the area of product manager. The growth in the number of positions between now and 2020 is estimated to be 30%.

Becoming a software developer requires extensive knowledge and experience but the rewards are significant.

Welcoming Change Whilst in the Realm of Agile Software Development

One of the most difficult principles of Agile Software Development to actually implement is the principle of welcoming change. Two of the statements of values in the Agile manifesto are:

  1. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  2. Responding to change over following a plan

Both of these statements lead to the idea that Agile Software Development welcomes changes from customers and other stakeholders in the project. The Software Development team aims to gather feedback by developing frequent releases through developing the software in a series of iterations. A customer, changing their minds concerning the requirements of a project, isn’t viewed as a problem, which can be in sharp contrast to how a lot of methodologies approach the topic of requirements changing. This incorporation of feedback and customer involvement is an important contribution to the success of Agile methodologies as it leads to the development of software that customers really want. Following this principle is no easy task because the application of this principle needs to start at the very beginning of a project. Guides to implementing Agile Software Development frequently mention the role of the executive sponsor, and other business oriented roles within a company which need to buy-in and support an initiative to introduce Agile Software Development. But in a Software Development company that develops bespoke software directly for customers, the business people in the company need to understand and stick to the principles of Agile Software Development likewise.

There may be support for Agile Software Development in a project of all members but the general perception amongst the business people is that it is one area which the developers do, and does not directly concern them. As much of the material available on Agile Software Development does specifically concern Software Development teams, that is quite an understandable assumption to make. In a company developing bespoke software, the client needs to be made aware of the nature of an Agile Software Development project, and a contract needs to be negotiated that is compatible with the chosen methodology. And it’s the business people who are associated with a project that usually hold the responsibility of setting the customer’s expectations for a project and negotiating the contract.

Customers not really acquainted with Software Development expect that when negotiating a new project with a Software Development company that the process is quite like purchasing almost every other goods and services. The client explains what they need, they agree a price together with a delivery date, and the customer then waits for it to be achieved. The Software Development company will not want to challenge these expectations for the fear of making a customer uncomfortable, and potentially losing their business. This often leads to a binding agreement that mirrors these expectations. The customer continues to expect that the software, by the release date, is going to be ready and do everything the customer wants, and they only need to wait.

However it is inevitable that the customer will need to provide feedback on the software and will be very keen to make some changes. In the above scenario the client is going to find themselves giving their feedback at a time towards the release date when they actually get to see the software.

These changes are unlikely to be very welcome to the Software Development company at this point. In practice these requests for changes results in friction between the customer and the Software Development company, possibly bringing about arguments between the company and the customer. The company will believe that these requirements wasn’t specified originally when the contract was signed and demand additional cash to implement these changes. If the customer agrees, a new contract will need to be negotiated. On the other hand the company may agree to do these changes for free given that the customer is without a doubt quite upset that the software does not do what the customer wants. The more often these changes are handled for free; the company gets closer to generating a loss on the project. In both of these scenarios, the project is sure to be late.

If the development team itself is trying to be Agile and is developing the project in iterations, the case is often improved through getting feedback from the customer earlier on in the project. But if the contract remains to be the same, these changes will still be unwelcome to the business people associated with the project. They will be seen as an extra expense and the developers are going to be instructed to extend the time on making these changes until a new or revised contract can be negotiated. Once the business people perceive that changes will be happening between iterations and that this needs addressing, they should recognise that a new approach will probably be required in future for making new contracts with customers. An effective option that they might choose is to try to break down the ‘development’ of the project into separate, ready planned phases and then make this the substance of the contract. This approach doesn’t challenge the customer’s expectations of being certain of the outcome of a project, and so it appears like a safe option. At the start of a project, a customer is frequently quite positive that they know what they aspire to. In practice, actually seeing and using the software might most likely make the customer consider the project in a whole lot more depth than they had previously.

This phased approach to making contracts is not going to solve the issue of welcoming changes and introduces new problems. When the first phase of the project completes, the customer gets to use the software for the first time and starts making requests for changes. As a consequence the next phase will have to be planned again. If the original phases were time estimated then the next phase will require a new estimation from the development team. And the business people will have to create a new contract for the next phase. Normally, this approach will demand a large administrative overhead for relatively small amounts of work. The customer can also be likely to get impatient over the length of time it takes just to get some more work done. More steps need to be taken to effectively develop within an iterative fashion.

In an ideal scenario, the people setting the customer’s expectations for the project would have bought in to the concept of Agile Software Development and grasp the principles involved. They would have the responsibility of also convincing the customer of these benefits and negotiating a contract that works well with their chosen methodology. Three typical customer expectations shall be challenged during this process:

  1. that they already know exactly what they want
  2. that they can be certain of what to expect at the end of the project
  3. that the Software Development company is exclusively responsible for the success of the project

To convince the customer that developing the project the Agile way is a good idea; the benefits need to be emphasised:

  • That they can change their minds if they want, when they want
  • Their changes will be incorporated in to their application quickly with minimal administrative overhead
  • They will not have to wait long to see their changes in the software
  • The application developed will be what they want it to be not now but what they want on the release date
  • They will have an important role in guiding the development of the project throughout its development

There are of course trade-offs for these benefits:

  • The customer can’t be certain what they are certain to get at the end of the project when signing the contract
  • The criteria for the success of the project will change with time and will not be stated explicitly in the contract as a detailed specification
  • The customer must take an enthusiastic role participating in the project. The project’s success all hangs on on the effectiveness of the collaboration between the customer and the Software Development team.
  • The customer will have to prioritise their changes, choosing which ones are developed first and which of them have to be dropped when necessary

A compatible contract will likely not state a detailed project plan, and make that plan a binding agreement for the Software Development company. General, advanced level requirements will be used as the success criteria for the project.

In return the contract will enable the customer to request changes to the project when the customer wants to. A formal definition of how changes are handled will be included in the contract. This definition will match the methodology used by the Software Development team. With most Agile methodologies this will mean that the development team will incorporate these changes in the next iteration following the change request from the customer. The contract will also not contain specific time estimations for high level requirements. It will instead contain an iteration schedule. A contract that welcomes change is a contract that does not have to be changed.

While the process described is known as change, this term doesn’t accurately describe the all that is taking place. A changing business environment can motivate changes in requirements but what is happening most often is the creation of new ideas for the software from both the customers and the development team. It is part of the creative process that makes the software and it is definitely something that ought to be welcomed.

Processes Involved in Software Development Project

A software development process is a structure to be followed while developing a new software product. There are different types of process models having certain cycles or phases involving various kinds of activities.

Project Kick Off is defined as the initialization of a project. It is an initial plan or proposal describing the main functionality and procedure of a project. Project kick off also narrates the responsibility of the key members in a project, and also describes about the people who are in need of this project.In a nutshell, Project kick off is the method of producing a overall plan for a project at its initiation phase.

Requirement Gathering is usually the first part or segment of a software project. It is the initial stage of product development. In this stage, a thorough market analysis is performed in order to access the real demand of potential customers. Sales and marketing people are mainly involved in requirement gathering stage of a software project. Their analysis helps the developer to develop the software as per the current market demand.

Prototype Development is an important phase in a software development process. The developers first time develop the software as per their conceptual analysis and design with most likely material in this stage. Thus, a through evaluation of design, material, product structure is performed in this stage. Development is a very important stage of software process, where the software is being developed using agile methodology or traditional waterfall method. This step also consists of several sub steps. A traditional waterfall method is based on planning, where as agile methodology works on present feedback.

Software Testing is a pivotal step in any software development project. It determines the quality of software by several industry standard techniques. Software testing is a step to find out the existing bug in newly developed software. There are several testing methods are used named black box testing, white box testing, grey box testing and so on.

Production Roll Out is the next stage where the team of software developers works in full production deployment. In this phase, all of the conceptual designs are tested and modified or refined by implementing in a pilot project. During this phase, testing and other associated supportive activity also have an importance in order to validate the iterative cycles of production deployment.

Knowledge Transfer is another vital aspect of a software process. Knowledge transfer and training go hand by hand in a process. An assessment is needed to conduct among the key workers in a project ensuring their capability while undertaking a particular area of implementation in a software project. A training material is crafted under the guidance of the experts and approved after a through scrutiny. This quality training material is distributed to the key players in the project and the knowledge is transferred as per the project requirement in order to implement the knowledge in different modules of product development.

Post Deployment Software Support is another critical step in a software development process. It is almost essential to provide quality support for the newly implemented software and to trouble shoot the possible problems.

Altisnet follow all these steps with a scientific approach and with a technology driven manner. We are confident to provide you the best product development solution. We have created a dedicated development environment, Quality assurance environment, stage environment and production environment to maintain the industry standard in the software development process.

Agile Methodology VS Traditional Software Development

In the software development industry, there are two main approaches that drive the project life-cycle. Traditional software development, also known as the Waterfall method, is a linear and structured approach that relies on processes to accomplish the end results. Agile methodology is a non-linear approach to software development that adapts to changing requirements and flexible planning throughout the entire process. When choosing a vendor for custom software development, it is important to be familiar with both methods to determine which will be the best approach for your business needs.

Traditional software development practices can be broken down into four distinct phases. The initial step is to set up the requirements for the project and determine the length of time it will take to implement the various phases of development while trying to predict any problems that may arise. Once the requirements are laid out, the next step moves into the design and architectural planning phase where a technical infrastructure is produced in the form of diagrams or models. These bring to the surface potential issues that the project may face as it progresses and provide a workable road map for the developers to implement.

Once the team is satisfied with the architectural and design plan, the project moves into the development phase where code is produced until the specific goals are reached. Development is often broken down into smaller tasks that are distributed among various teams based on skill. The testing phase often overlaps the development phase to ensure issues are addressed early on. Once the project nears completion and the developers are close to meeting the project requirements, the customer will become part of the testing and feedback cycle. When the customer is satisfied, the project is delivered.

This linear approach to software development relies on structured processes and heavy documentation that guides the work done in each phase. The success of a rigid structure depends on the fact that all requirements are known before the development phase begins and that they will not change. This makes it easy to set schedules, determine project costs and allocate resources.

However, in the real world of software development, problems do arise and new specifications are discovered during the development phase. The traditional waterfall approach to software development does not provide the flexibility to address these issues without a great deal of cost and time. In complex situations, it may mean having to start completely over from the beginning.

A more flexible approach to custom software development is the Agile methodology. With this approach, the emphasis is less on the structured process of development and more on team collaboration. Instead of relying on documentation to measure the progress of a project, the goal is to produce working software in incremental phases before all requirements have been met. Customers and developers collaborate throughout the life-cycle of the entire project and are not restricted to requirement documentation and contract negotiations. Agile methodology is designed to address changing needs throughout the entire project.

With Agile software development, tasks are broken down into small increments called iterations which are short cycles that last anywhere from one to four weeks. Each iteration follows the same process as traditional software development does, such as collecting requirements, devising a plan and developing it. However, this approach involves multiple iterations to accomplish the total project requirements rather than attempting to follow a single development cycle. At the start of each iteration, the project needs are reevaluated. This allows changing requirements to be adapted even at the end of the development process. When the customer receives working versions of the software throughout the development life-cycle, this minimizes the risks of their return of investment and allows them to provide continuous feedback.

Despite the lowered risk of software development with an Agile methodology, it is not without certain disadvantages. Because of the flexibility involved with this approach, it can be difficult to determine completion schedules and calculate budgets for the project. The success of Agile also relies on the continuous collaboration with the customer. If the customer does not have time to invest in the process then this approach may not be the best method.

Understanding the development methods in place in the working environment of the company you hire for custom software development will have an impact on overall customer satisfaction. Both Agile and waterfall methods are viable solutions with proven success. If your project requirements are straightforward and unlikely to change, then choosing a vendor who uses the traditional method is a good solution. However, if your project requires a great deal of flexibility and continuous collaboration, than Agile software development solutions are the best option.

Custom Software Development VS Off the Shelf Software Solutions

Organizations and businesses are always looking for solutions to reduce their overhead operating cost. Usually, they turn towards IT industry to gain effective solutions in this matter. IT industry offers basically two types of softwares that can help organizations with their IT requirements. The first one is off the shelf software that is already available in the market and can be directly bought and used by the company. These softwares are usually built by a software development company and launched in the Market for sale. The other category contains custom software development solutions that are built around the specific requirements of the client or organization. Both the solutions are entirely different, both in manufacturing and development.

Some of most relevant differences between custom software development and Off the shelf solutions are:

The total cost of the software for clients: The most superficial and prominent looking difference between these two solutions is their price. Off the shelf softwares are usually cheaper than custom solutions. The reason being that off the shelf softwares are mass produced and their cost is distributed among several buyers, whereas, custom solutions are developed by a software development company for specific requirements of their client. Its cost is entirely borne by one buyer. The choice may seem pretty obvious when both the options are available for the client. But why would one go for custom software development? The answer is in the next difference.

Development methodology and usage: Off the shelf softwares are made for a general audience. They may be targeted towards one segment of business but they are never able to fulfill all the requirements of any one particular organization. An organization will require the help of a software development company to make adjustments in the software and make it good enough to be implemented. The custom software development offers big time advantage in this section. The custom solution is built around the exact requirements of the client therefore it is completely compatible and suitable with their organizations processes. Even employees who have to work on these softwares get easily accustomed to them in a few days. This is the most dominant reason that attracts organizations towards custom software development.

Software updates: Another problem with Off the Shelf softwares is that each time the software is revised, the organizations have to pay for the updates. Further, they might not even release any updates for long periods which will make the software old and obsolete. This will harm the organization more than it can help. On the other hand, custom softwares can be updated whenever the client feels like. Their extent can be decided according to the client’s requirements and their budget.

Off the shelf softwares have their own advantages such as quick implementation and start-up, suitably tested solution and money back guarantee offered in case the software is not able to serve its purpose. The risk of getting an unreliable and not properly tested solution is higher in custom software development. But this complexity can easily be solved by hiring a highly reputed and experienced software development company. Choosing the right development partner is most essential in such scenarios. Clients should make their choice only after doing extensive research and information gathering about the software development company of their choice.