Why Become a Software Developer?

First things first. What even is a software developer?

Well, a software developer is someone who has the creative and technical skills to create software programs. The software they develop allows users to perform certain tasks on a computer device, such as playing a game or entering information into a database.

Software developers spend most of their days developing and testing software until it meets a client's needs. They may work in a team or on their own, from home or in an office.

Besides creating the software, software developers will also upgrade existing applications, perform quality assurance on software and create documentation for software systems.

By the way, in the wild software developers are also called:

Software engineer

Here are the 3 biggest reasons why you should become a software developer:

There’s a high demand and the salaries are high.
It’s really fun for a job paying this well.
It’s good for your brain.

Let’s expand on those points a little bit.

High demand

Software developers are in high demand. Practically every industry needs its own type of software and people who can create it to their specifications. As the world becomes increasingly digital and operated online, the need for software developers is likely to rise even further. If you're looking for a career that has a good long-term outlook, software development is a good choice.

High salaries

Salary is a big reason why people become software developers. The average salary for a software engineer in the UK is around £50,000 per year but can be much higher (especially if contracting outside of IR35 tax) and in the United States in 2022 it is $125,000 per year. This number can be higher if you develop your own software and develop a credible reputation within your industry.

Career options

When you become a software developer, there are many career options available to you. For example, you can decide to work either as an independent contractor or within a larger company. Having this option allows you to choose a work environment and lifestyle that you suits you best.

You also have the ability to work in a wide range of industries. For example, you could build vital healthcare software, a content management system or video games. If you ever want to change work environments or the type of software you produce, you can sometimes switch over to another field using the same skills.

Lastly, there is usually room for advancement within software development. After starting as an entry-level/junior programmer, software developers can advance into senior programming positions. If you’re tired of coding, you could become the great facilitator of a team of developers by stepping into a management role.

Remote work

I also want to mention remote work because with COVID, the ability to work from home becomes increasingly important. Since almost all of their work is done on a computer, software developers are often able to work remotely from home.

As long as a software developer is able to communicate with their team, they can often work from other locations like shared workspaces, hotels or coffee shops. This flexibility can make software development a good career option for you if you like travelling. So that’s the career portion of why you should become a software developer. Let’s now look at why it is fun.

Software development is fun

You may think:

“This isn’t fun for me. I suck at math. It’s too tedious.”. Those are valid thoughts. Sometimes you do need a little math, but honestly, as a software developer, you can get by with high school level math. I know this because I’m not a math wizard and people take me seriously!

And yes sometimes it’s tedious. In my opinion especially the testing portion, but I don’t know any jobs that pay this well and are this fun. Although fun is subjective, if you know any well-paying jobs that are more fun than software development please reply to this email. I’d love to know. In essence, all the pros of software development heavily outweigh the cons.

Why software development is fun..?

The sheer joy of making things. Software development is fundamentally about creating solutions to problems. At the end of the day, you have created something that didn’t exist that morning, and that is in and of itself satisfying.

The pleasure of making things that are useful to other people. One of most satisfying aspects of the job as a software developer is seeing code you wrote deployed in a live system and used by actual people, especially if it improves their lives in some way.

The fascination of fashioning complex puzzle-like objects of interlocking moving parts, and watching them work in subtle cycles, playing out the consequences of principles built in from the beginning. Not only do programs have complex structure and dependencies, there is also the dynamics of the interaction between the parts as the program executes. The ultimate puzzle indeed!

The joy of always learning, which springs from the nonrepeating nature of the task. While constructing the program you constantly expand your understanding of both the problem and the solution. In addition, there is almost no limit to what you can learn to improve your craft – languages, algorithms, methodology, tools, frameworks. When software solves a industry-wide business problem, the code can be copied (and potentially licensed) to other companies for pennies, allowing software developers to let their code deliver value while they write new code that solves the next business problem.

The delight of working in such a tractable medium. The software developer, like the poet, works only slightly removed from pure thought-stuff. He builds his castles in the air, from air, creating by exertion of imagination. Yet the program construct, unlike the poet’s words, is real in the sense that it moves and works, producing visible outputs separate from the construct itself.

The expressiveness of code. It sounds counter-intuitive, given the strict specification of a programming language, and the relatively few constructs it contains (compared to a natural language like English), but there is almost an infinite number of ways to write a program to solve a given (non-trivial) problem. First and foremost, you as a software developer name classes, methods and variables. But you also decide the algorithm, the partitioning of the logic, and finally the layout. All these factors combine to give the software developer great freedom in expressing the solution in code. It’s a little bit like writing a book, two people can write a book on the same subject but each of them will imprint their own signature

Software development is good for your brain

When it comes to software developers, they really do think differently from other people. Even Apple’s creator Steve Jobs said it himself: “Programming teaches you how to think". A software developer’s job isn’t only about writing a bunch of lines of code or developing something, it is far more than that — it includes logical thinking, problem-solving, and thinking outside of the box.

What science says

To find out what goes inside the brain of the software developer or how their brain differs from non-developer ones, scientists have been studying the brains of software developers for many years. Eventually, they found that engaging in software development — which is an intellectually engaging activity — not only affects the brain but also affects the way a person thinks.

Software development activates the brain’s learning centers

According to a study done by Dr. Janet Siegmund, one of the world’s driving experts in observational PC program building — software development activates five obvious mind regions which are related to language processing, working memory, and problem-solving, which is in line with the current understanding of program comprehension. Software development initiates different regions within the brain, it reinforces the monotonous movement that builds up the muscle memory and strengthens the brain's ability to become more proficient within the process of learning.

There is another study led by Yun-Fei Liua, a Ph.D. student at Johns Hopkin University, where 15 experienced software developers had gone through an fMRI scanner.

“Because there are so many ways people learn software development, everything from do-it-yourself tutorials to formal courses, it’s surprising that we find such a consistent brain activation pattern across people who code,” said Yun-Fei.

Whether you’re self-taught or have a college diploma, brain-stimulating activities like software development basically act as a great workout for the brain and strengthen its ability to memorize and perform tasks.

Since software development tasks include a complex and multifaceted ability, developing software reinforces associations between the distinctive parts of the brain that are needed for it.

It increases creativity, analyzing problems, and logical thinking required for solving problems and boosts the brain’s capacity to learn.

Age better

As we began to age, our ability to remember things declines, but in one of the studies, it is found that “intellectually engaging activities serve to buffer individuals against [cognitive] decline”. In essence that means that engaging in cognitive intensive skills such as software development helps to fight back against memory loss.

The human brain consists of two hemispheres: left and right. The right hemisphere is responsible for intuitive thinking and imagination, whereas the left hemisphere is responsible for all analytical and logical thinking. Engaging in software development improves the functions of both hemispheres which in turn, develops the brain as a whole.

Software development is a mental engagement that actually leads to sharper brains, constructs cognitive aptitudes that involve learning and intellectual difficulty, and moves forward a person’s memory. According to Alan Perlis, a Turing award winner, and writer of the Algol language: learning a programming language can change the way a person thinks. He also stated the following:

“A language that doesn’t affect the way you think about programming, is not worth knowing.”

Wrapping up

Phew, that was quite a read. I hope you now understand why it’s good for you to become a software developer and understand why people enjoy this line of work.

Good luck on your developer journey.