For those seeking a career in computer development, you can choose either a computer hardware or software path. Software developers work on creating the software applications that run on computers. Hardware developers create the components that make a computer operate.
Computer developers create and test computer hardware and software. While hardware developers work to create physical computer systems, software developers work on programs that can be used by computers. An associate's or bachelor's degree in a computer engineering-related field is necessary for a job in this field.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degrees are usually required, although an associate's may suffice if matched with sufficient experience|
|Other Requirements||Various certifications are available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)||17% (for software developers); 3% (for hardware engineers)*|
|Average Salary (2015)||$102,160 (for software developers); $114,970 (for hardware engineers)*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description for a Computer Developer
Computer developers are engineers that typically work in either computer hardware or software. Computer software engineers develop a variety of software, including games, control systems, operating systems and applications. Computer hardware engineers produce the working physical components within the computer. They are responsible for analyzing and testing equipment to ensure the components work properly.
Job Duties for a Computer Developer
Computer Hardware Developer
Throughout the product development and implementation process, computer hardware developers aid their computer company designers and sales teams in technical support. They create prototypes of their product through simulations and testing. Computer hardware engineers monitor computer function to guarantee that the hardware and software are compatible and working together appropriately. Evaluation of computer interfaces and operation is also required.
Computer Software Developer
All types of businesses utilize computer software developers to organize and maintain their computer software. Computer software developers not only create new software applications, but they modify existing ones for better usage. They coordinate the installation of these programs, as well as report on its performance capabilities. Computer software developers must be well versed in most programming languages.
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Job Requirements for a Computer Developer
Most employers require that entry-level computer developers hold an associate's or bachelor's degree in computer technology or engineering. These programs provide computer developers with the necessary knowledge of constructing computers. Students also delve into programming languages, such as HTML, Java and C++. Basic knowledge in graphic design and Web animation may also be included. Procuring a master's degree, in a major such as computer science or engineering, or extensive experience in the field, can lead to career advancement such as senior software engineer.
Computer developers may also choose to become certified. Voluntary certification is available to computer developers through product vendors and software firms, such as Microsoft and Java. Computer developers can also find certification opportunities through professional societies such as the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), software developers can expect a 17% increase in job opportunities from 2014-2024. Software developers earned an average annual salary of $102,160 in 2015, according to the BLS. However, computer hardware engineers could expect a much lower increase in job growth of 3% with an average annual salary of $114,970.
Both a hardware and a software developer require a bachelor's degree in a related field, though positions may be available to those with an associate's degree and experience in the field. Certification is available for both professions, though it is often voluntary. The job growth outlook for software developers is much faster than average, while that for hardware developers is slower than average.