How to become a 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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
Find out how Nico changed careers to become a software developer after working in healthcare.
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.”
“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.”
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.