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Software development generally refers to the process of imagining, designing, creating, deploying and testing of coded programs utilized in computerized systems.

Types Of Software Development

Software developers create the programs you use to:

  • Open an app on your phone
  • Read the digital arrival/departure board in an airport
  • Browse the web on your laptop
  • Check in on your exercise goal on your watch

Regardless of what software you use on a daily basis, the process of developing it typically falls under one of the 6 types listed below:

1. Web or Front-End Development

Web developers, also referred to as front-end developers, create the websites you browse every day. While the content on the site is being pulled from the back-end or database side, a front-end developer brings that information to life in a user-friendly way. As such, web developers typically understand graphic design in addition to programming.

2. Mobile App Development

An app on your mobile phone typically looks and interacts with you in a very different way than the same brand’s website. Since they run on mobile operating systems, the screen is significantly smaller and there is a high likelihood it is being utilized by someone on the go, a highly skilled mobile app developer should be concentrated in this specific type of work. Similar to the front-end developer, an understanding of graphic design and the mobile user experience is key to creating a well functioning and enjoyable system.

3. Back-End Development

Back-end development is everything that goes on behind the scenes of the front-end systems users engage with. The primary role of a back-end developer is to effectively organize and manage the data utilized on the front-end so users can interact with the system quickly and efficiently. Back-end developers must be well versed in servers, applications and databases in order to keep systems running smoothly and to quickly locate and fix issues when they aren’t.

4. API Development

Application Programming Interface (API) development is the software development concentration that focuses on creating the software to allow different programs to interact with each other. Many desktop or cloud applications will leverage APIs to talk to complimentary systems. Think of a CRM that needs to pass information back and forth to tools such as your email marketing platform or sales gamification tool, these systems leverage APIs as the bridge between your systems so that data can flow and be used in the other systems without having to manually transfer that data.

5. Application Development

There are two types of applications, traditional desktop applications and cloud-based applications. Desktop applications are the things you use on your computer but you don’t access through your web browser. Some common examples are Microsoft Word and Slack. Many desktop applications, including the two examples, are now also available through the cloud. There are usually differences in the functionality between desktop and cloud applications, with desktop versions having more robust features but more frequently cloud-based applications are becoming the preferred access method for the user’s ability to access and collaborate on the data from any device.

6. Embedded Systems Development

Embedded systems are the computerized components of items such as a washing machine, car, or pacemaker. These items typically have direct tasks to complete but the tasks are carried out through the system’s program.

Software Developer Foundations Course

Think Software Development Might Be The Career Choice For You?

Our Software Developer Foundations course provides the introductory skills you need to start transitioning into any of these Software Development career fields.

Programming Languages You May Need To Know As A Software Developer

Software developers have the ability to work on a number of interesting projects but the actual languages you will use can vary greatly between the specific type of work you do. Below are some programming languages you may run into as a software developer and what type of work they facilitate:


HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and it is typically the language used when outputting data through a web browser either in the form of a web page or application.

2. JavaScript

JavaScript is also used for web pages but supports more complex or interactive features such as scrolling videos or animated graphics.

3. PHP

PHP is a general-puporse scripting language similar to JavaScript. It is best used for website development.

4. CSS

CSS or Cascading Stylesheets is a style guide for a website. Software Developers use CSS to define the colors, font and other style aspects of all of the pages on your site.

5. Python

Python is a general purpose and high level programming language that supports common web frameworks such as Django, which make for easier web development. It is often used to develop applications (desktop and web-based) and websites.

6. Ruby

Ruby is similar to Python as a high-level, general-purpose programming language. It effectively supports front and back end development and web applications. Ruby on Rails is a web development framework built on the Ruby programming language.

7. C or C++

C/C++ is another general purpose and high-level programming language. C++ was developed off of the C programming language to extend the capabilities of the language. C/C++ is used for a number of different software development scenarios such as desktop applications, websites, animation, back-end development, embedded systems and more.

8. Java

Java is a general purpose programming language that is used primarily in server-side development, Android apps and embedded systems.

9. Swift/Objective C

These are two programming languages used extensively in iOS software development. Objective C is the language for creating iPhone apps and it has been around for a while, whereas, Swift is a new programming language created by Apple that extends the features of Objective C in iOS development.

Types Of Software Development Careers

Are you thinking Software Development is the field for you? There are three main roles in Software Development and some offer very lucrative growth options.

1. Programmers

These are the folks that actually write and test the code that makes the software work. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this job shows negative growth rates due to outsourcing this work to companies located in areas around the world with lower wages.

2. Software Developers

Software developers design and create applications or systems. These types of software developers are typically creating solutions for a specific client or use case. Systems software developers earn higher wages than application developers but both jobs post an average, 6-figure salary and much higher than average job growth.

3. Software Engineers

Software Engineers are very similar to Software Developers except they are devising broader solutions. These solutions are usually based heavily in science and engineering principles and they apply to industries such as transportation systems (airplanes, rail, etc.), space, energy and more.

Ready To Start Your Software Development Career?

Software Developer Foundations Course

Our Software Developer Foundations course provides the introductory skills you need to start transitioning into any of these Software Development career fields.

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