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Software developer

Alternative titles for this job include Programmer

Software developers design, build and test computer programmes.

Average salary (a year)

£26,000 Starter


£70,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Software developer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • a graduate training scheme


You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma or a degree in:

  • computer science
  • information technology
  • software development
  • financial technology
  • software engineering for business
  • maths

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a foundation degree or higher national diploma
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree

More Information


You could do a college course, such as:

  • A Level in Computing
  • Level 3 Certificate in Programming
  • T Level in Digital Production, Design and Development
  • Higher National Certificate in Computing

After your course, you could complete a more advanced qualification, such as a higher apprenticeship. You could also get a trainee position with a company.

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English, maths and computing
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths for a T Level

  • 1 or 2 A levels, or equivalent, for a higher national certificate or higher national diploma

More Information


You could do an apprenticeship such as:

  • software development technician advanced apprenticeship
  • software developer higher apprenticeship
  • DevOps engineer higher apprenticeship
  • digital and technology solutions professional or specialist degree apprenticeship
  • game programmer degree apprenticeship

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship

More Information

Other Routes

You may be able to apply for a place on a graduate training scheme with a company if you have a degree.

These are often open to all graduates, not just people with a degree in a computing subject.

Real career story

A man with a blue t-shirt is smiling in front of a dark background.

Working in healthcare

“My professional background is rooted in the healthcare field. My journey began at the age of 18 when I took on the role of an ambulance technician in Italy. After I finished my BSc in adult nursing, I made the decision to relocate to the UK, where I worked as an intensive care nurse within the NHS.”

Decision to change careers

“After a total of 19 years in healthcare and a lot more to work before retirement, I started to realise that I fancied a career change. I came across web development by chance as I wanted to create a website for a side project I was working on. I got instantly hooked and I really wanted web development to become my career.”

Web development course

“I took an 8-month full time course through a tech academy that gave me a good foundation to start my new career as a software developer.”

Software developer

“I currently work as a software developer. It's a challenging role but it's definitely worth it. I work with amazing people that support me and encourage me to constantly improve. In the future I would like to move to a more senior role and to be able to support other developers at the start of their career.”

More Information

Career tips

You could build up your skills and knowledge using free online learning resources for programming languages, project management and software development methods.

You can find free online courses through The Skills Toolkit.

Further information

You can find out more about working and training in computing from The Chartered Institute for IT and techskills.

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • maths knowledge
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • persistence and determination
  • the ability to write computer programs
  • to have a thorough understanding of computer systems and applications

What you’ll do

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You could:

  • find out what the client and the development team want
  • take part in technical design meetings
  • write or amend computer code
  • test software to find and fix problems
  • keep accurate records of the changes you've made
  • check software before it's released
  • maintain and support systems once they're up and running

Working environment

You could work in an office, from home, remotely or at a client's business.

Career path and progression

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could:

  • become a senior developer
  • take responsibility for your team or a project
  • move into related areas, such as systems design, IT architecture and business systems analysis
  • set up your own business
  • work as a consultant

You may find opportunities to work internationally by travelling overseas or working remotely.

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Software Development Apprentice (Libresoft)

  • Wage: £16,000 a year Annually
  • Location: Moorside Road, Winchester

.NET Developer Apprentice

  • Wage: £16,000 a year Annually
  • Location: HA0 1SS

Courses In England

Level 3 Software Development

  • Start date: 25 September 2024
  • Location: Warrington

L3 Certificate in Software Development

  • Start date: 02 September 2024
  • Location: Scunthorpe

Jobs In the United Kingdom

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