Senior Application Developer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Jan 16, 2020

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a senior application developer. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about degree programs, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.

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  • 0:02 Essential Information
  • 0:32 Job Description
  • 2:05 Job Duties
  • 2:48 Requirements

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Essential Information

Degree Level Master's degree
Degree Field(s) Information technology or related field
License/Certification Voluntary certification preferred
Experience 5+ years with management experience
Key Skills Knowledge of several programming languages; management, communication, decision-making and critical-thinking skills
Job Outlook (2018-2028) 26% growth*
Median Annual Salary (2019) $96,274**

Source: *BLS, **

Senior application developers manage teams of computer software engineers to create and update programs used by business professionals. They must establish what a customer needs, delegate projects to team members and follow up to verify all projects are completed on time and as requested. A master's degree in information technology or a similar field, previous work experience and various certifications are typically required for this upper-level position.

Job Description

Senior application developers (SADs) work in the computer industry supervising other application and system developers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that these computer application software engineers focus on the user's needs in regard to the functions of business-related computer software.

Working with individual clients or larger companies, SADs examine the company's goals and review the current technology to determine what upgrades can be made or what new programs should be installed to help improve efficiency. Since SADs act as supervisors, they often delegate the duties of upgrading and installing new systems to a team of application software engineers.

According to O*NET Online, SADs are engineer managers in charge of assigning projects to lower-level engineers. Usually SADs participate in the hiring process and routinely evaluate the progress of their team members.

The BLS anticipates a 26% job growth rate for all software applications developers between 2018 and 2028, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Developments in mobile technology, advancements in healthcare information storage systems and cybersecurity concerns are all expected to fuel employment demand in the industry. In January 2020, indicated that the median salary for U.S. senior application developers was $96,274 per year.

Job Duties

SADs maintain the job duties of a supervisor as well as a lower-level application developer or engineer. These duties can include regular consultations with clients concerning software, creating new programs, and testing newly installed programs to verify functionality.

The managerial side of being a SAD can include writing reports on team progress and presenting those reports to upper executive committees, per O*NET. Some SADs review budgetary issues and assist on negotiating contracts with new customers. SADs also make executive level decisions for their department, ensure company policies are being followed and counsel employees as needed.


Although software application engineers only require a bachelor's degree, according to the BLS, a senior-level position may require a master's degree in information technology or computer sciences. Combining a bachelor's degree with certification in computer languages and software programs may supplement a graduate degree for some SAD positions.

O*NET shows that this position requires at least five years of experience in the technology industry with some experience in management. Most employers also require various levels of certification, especially related to software programs, according to the BLS. Many technology companies require SADs to know several programming languages, such as Java, HTML, C++ and Perl.

In summary, senior application developers manage teams of software engineers, perform some duties of lower-level application developers, and generally need a bachelor's degree with knowledge of several programming languages.

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