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Lucy Oleschuk
Level 31

Deep Dive into the Career: Software Developer Roadmap and Other Hints to Successful Learning

Published in the Random group
From coding and collaboration to continuous learning and problem-solving, software developers are multitasking specialists who play a crucial role in the tech world. In this article, we take a comprehensive "deep dive" into the software developer roadmap, covering such acute questions as "What do software developers do and what to do to become one?". Deep Dive into the Career: Software Developer Roadmap and Other Hints to Successful Learning - 1Whether you're a complete beginner exploring the field or a seasoned tech enthusiast looking to upskill, our article will guide you through the fundamental aspects of the software development profession, providing insights into the essential tasks and outlining the key steps to kickstart your career.

Are software developers in demand?

"Is software development a dying field?", "Is coding dead?", "Will AI replace software developers?" — these are only a few questions and hesitations that novices often have. The recent massive layoffs by tech giants may cause a bit of panic. False alarm! The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the employment for software developers will grow by 26% from 2022 to 2032, which is a significantly higher projected growth rate than the average for other occupations. Deep Dive into the Career: Software Developer Roadmap and Other Hints to Successful Learning - 2

Source: The US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The increased demand for software developers stems from the continued expansion of software development for AI, IoT, robotics, and other automation applications. So, instead of fearing the evolution of automation, embrace it. The truth is that AI tools cannot replace software developers' creativity and critical thinking skills. As humans, we are responsible for designing software systems, making complex decisions, and identifying problems that might arise during the development cycle. We are also responsible for understanding business needs and translating them into effective software. These are those functions that AI cannot automate. Simply put, AI-powered tools won't replace the skills and expertise of human developers in the foreseen future, but they can assist in the software development process. For example, developers can optimize and customize AI tools like Microsoft Copilot for specific needs. They can also leverage AI tools to evaluate the quality of the generated code and improve it. The need for innovative software will grow, and the emphasis on a digital-first organization will only increase the demand for software developers in 2024. It's one of the top reasons why software developers got in the top 3 of the best and most secure jobs in US News and World Report's "100 Best Jobs" list (not to mention the median salary of $119,623 per year).

What software developers do

So, who is a software developer, and what are their primary responsibilities? In brief, software developers create functional software to meet user needs. They should have expertise in programming languages, development tools, and various frameworks. Their primary role is creating, testing, improving, and maintaining different IT products. Developers are essential links in the software development cycle, translating ideas and requirements into functional and efficient applications. What does a developer do? Software developers engage in several key activities, including:
  • Write code and ensure its reliability through testing and quality assurance.
  • Check the code for errors and address them to deliver high-quality software.
  • Deploy the product on different platforms and provide ongoing support.
  • Communicate with clients to understand and meet the technical requirements of the IT product.
Besides that, they also create and maintain documentation for code and implement security measures to protect software from potential threats and vulnerabilities. For this, they work collaboratively with other team members, including designers, testers, and project managers.

The main types of software developers

Frontend developers focus on the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) of applications. They design and implement the visual aspects of websites or applications, ensuring a seamless and engaging user experience. Frontend developers need to be proficient in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, and be able to work with frontend frameworks like React or Angular. Backend developers work on server-side logic, databases, and application integration. They handle so-called "behind-the-scenes functionality", server operations, and database management to support the front-end of applications. They need to know programming languages like Java, Python, Ruby and databases like SQL, MongoDB, etc. Full-stack developers. As the name implies, full-stack developers need front and backend development expertise. They typically work on all aspects of a project, from designing the user interface to managing databases and server-side logic. That's why they must have a skill set required for front-end and back-end developers. Mobile developers specialize in creating applications for mobile devices. They develop mobile apps for platforms like iOS or Android and need to be proficient in programming languages and frameworks suitable for mobile development.

What is the difference between a software developer and a software engineer?

You may wonder, "How do software developer duties differ from those of software engineers?". Software engineers are considered a subtype of software developers, and these terms are often used interchangeably. Both software developers and software engineers are involved in all stages of the software development life cycle, and both use programming languages and relevant frameworks to develop effective software. Still, there are some slight differences between these roles that you should consider when making a career decision: Whereas software developers often focus on coding (writing, testing, and maintaining code) to create software applications, software engineers typically approach software development from an engineering perspective. They are concerned with designing and building scalable, reliable, and maintainable software systems. Developers are primarily responsible for implementing specific features or functionalities within a project, while engineers ensure the software meets stakeholders' overall requirements. The title "engineer" may also imply a broader scope of responsibilities, including considerations for system architecture, performance, and long-term maintainability.

How to create a software developer roadmap for learning

No matter what career you choose, your roadmap for learning will look similar. First, you need to set career goals — determine the specific areas of software development you are interested in. It would help if you decided whether you want to become a web developer, mobile app developer, software developer, etc. From this step, you need to decide what programming language to start with. For example, if you are interested in front-end development, then you should learn HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Backend development? Then, you may go with Python or Java. Once you set your mind on the programming language, choose the resources you will stick to. You may combine books and YouTube tutorials with online courses for the most effective results. If you choose the latter option, your next step is to decide on self-paced or mentor-led courses. Both have their benefits and disadvantages. For example, self-paced courses may be a better option for busy learners who need to combine work and family. Mentor-led courses, in turn, are a great option for those who need more self-discipline or have problems with time management. Yet, both options have one huge benefit — a structured curriculum. A structured curriculum is essential when learning a programming language, especially for beginners, for several reasons:
  • Progression and order. A structured schedule is designed to introduce concepts logically, allowing learners to build a solid foundation before moving on to more complex topics. It ensures that each new concept builds upon previously acquired knowledge.
  • Conceptual understanding. Programming involves understanding fundamental concepts such as variables, data types, control structures, and algorithms. A structured curriculum breaks down these concepts into manageable units, making it easier for learners to grasp and apply them.
  • Avoiding overwhelm. Learning a new programming language can be overwhelming due to the vast amount of information available. A structured schedule provides a step-by-step approach, preventing you from feeling lost or discouraged by presenting information in a digestible manner.
  • Grasping all the basics. A well-structured roadmap covers all the essential topics necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the programming language. It ensures that you'll learn all the skills required for real-world application.
  • Hands-on practice. Structured curricula often include practical exercises, coding challenges, and projects that reinforce theoretical concepts. All this is crucial for developing problem-solving skills and applying those skills to real-world scenarios.
  • Consistency and commitment. A structured curriculum encourages consistency in learning. Following a planned schedule will make you more likely to commit to your studies regularly, with no long breaks.
  • Motivation and confidence. As you progress through well-defined stages, you'll likely gain confidence and motivation, which are crucial for staying committed to the learning process.

Software development roadmap example by CodeGym

Below, we give an example of a Java developer roadmap the CodeGym course provides. It clearly shows several technologies that the course covers and the concepts modern Java developers need to land their first job. Deep Dive into the Career: Software Developer Roadmap and Other Hints to Successful Learning - 3As you may see from these infographics, junior Java developers should know more than just Java Core. They also need to get proficient in different frameworks, databases, libraries, tools, and API clients. With that in mind, our course is designed to equip students with a solid skillset to help them fully prepare for a professional career as a software developer.


Bottom line: all those rumors about substituting software developers with sophisticated AI are a false alarm. Software developers stay in high demand as, at its core, software development isn't just about writing code. It's about solving problems, and as technology continues to evolve and more business opportunities emerge, software developers will be in demand more than ever before to build effective solutions. A deep dive into the software development career can open numerous opportunities for you. Yet, to grasp all the concepts and enter the tech industry world, you need to choose effective resources and follow the structured roadmap without losing motivation and taking long breaks. Minutes matter, and seconds count, so start learning today and never give up!