Software development is an incredibly in-demand and rewarding field to be a part of in today’s competitive job market. In fact, it was recently declared the #1 best job in the US, according to job demand, salary expectations and career reviews. The Bureau of Labor Statistics even projected a 30% employment growth in the software development field by 2026. While the demand for software developers is high, the diversity in the type of work is just as widespread. Furthermore, the more advanced your skill set is, the more opportunities you have.
Here are the 10 types of software development:
1. Web Development
The golden child of the current and future generations of coders, developing for the web means coding those many web pages you browse through over your morning coffee. It’s diverse and ranges in complexity, from a <h1> “Hello World” </h1> to many dozens of interconnected files only the original developer knows how to organize.
Web development today is exploding thanks to the emergence of new web technologies and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which let websites “plugin” to other useful features. The Web today can deliver ‘apps’ that feel native because browsers now are so much more than a URL bar and an Ad-blocker these days.
2. Mobile Development
This one probably was unheard of 9 years ago, but today it’s all the rage. Mobile Development could better be described as “App Development” and involves creating applications that run on mobile devices, such as iPhones, Android devices, and recently, the Windows 10 platform. Most popular OS’s are built with their own programming languages but some traditional languages are being used as well.
The versatility of mobile development allows anything from Candy Crush games to console-like quality games in the palm of your hand. Games aren’t the only thing to focus on either. There are all sorts of apps for pretty much anything. From the ordinary, like finding a restaurant for lunch or catching up with news, to the random, such as reminding you to drink water throughout the day or morphing your photographed face into a zombie.
What you need to know: Android, Swift (for iOS), Objective C, HTML5, Java, C#
3. Data Science
Data is the new gold! Large data sets provide no value to anyone unless you know what to do with them. That’s where data scientists come in. They are able to find value in data just as much as the everyday person finds value in gold. In order to pull out valuable actionable insights, data scientists need to mine through and manipulate loads of data using analytical approaches. Think crunching large data sets, potentially using some cluster-computing approach, and developing a scientific application based on the findings of your data.
The applications of this are cooler than you think. It’s actually what and how machines think. Machines need large amounts of data to “learn” from, in order to ‘make their own decisions in given situations. Data science ensures this data is presented in the correct form to be used in AI applications.
What you need to know: C/C++, MATLAB, Python
4. Application Development
This is the “original” type of programming. These are ‘standard’ applications that perform their duties on traditional desktop operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, or Linux. It’s often considered a programme, executed on demand by the user, that opens its interface in the confines of the OS that it’s running in.
What you need to know: Java, VB.NET, C/C++,C#, Python.
5. Back-end Development
Back-end development is the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure the front-end program churning away does so without bringing half your computer to a standstill.
The back-end, or “server-side”, of a website, is where the data is stored. It usually consists of three parts: a server, an application, and a database. Back-end developers need to understand databases, as well as server programming languages and architecture. If an application keeps crashing or is mind-numbingly slow or keeps throwing errors at you. It’s likely to be a back-end issue.
Finally, database management is a prime aspect of back-end development. Database management is the backbone of any system that holds large amounts of data.
What you need to know: Python, Java, C and C++, (my)SQL, dBase and Oracle for databases
6. Software Tools Development
This type of development builds tools for other software developers to test their code with. Beyond simply testing, developing this software will ensure other developers’ code conforms to industry standards and remains maintainable. Developing programs to (amongst other things) test other programs are no easy task, but tech giants like Microsoft and Google employ software devs by the bucketload to design applications for testing other projects on the go.
What you need to know: Java, Python, C++
7. API Development
API Development, or the development of Application Programming Interfaces, is the art of building something extensible. Developers build programs that act as puzzle pieces, across different operating systems, on desktop, mobile and the web. They allow 3rd-party developers to interact with the tools or functions the API relates to. API development is the laying of a foundation of standard procedures, types, tools, GUI interaction methods, and database access rules that programmers building other applications can use for that particular API.
What you need to know: APIs are written for specific platforms or functions, and each API will have the programming language of the platform/device/site/service it’s designed for
8. Embedded Systems Development
With the rise of the “Internet of Things” and just about everything but the kitchen sink being connected to the internet these days, embedded systems development has boomed. This type of software development deals with the coding skills needed for embedded systems like Raspberry Pi’s, Arduinos, Beaglebones, etc. The embedded software is specialized for the particular software that your machine or device runs on.
What you need to know: Embedded C, Assembler, Python, Arduino (an embedded C derivative), Java
From left, the Arduino Uno, Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black, all use embedded development languages. (mcmelectronics.com)
9. Security Software Development
Otherwise known as hacking. You may be asking yourself, “Is that really a type of software development?”. Certainly, and it’s a critical field to be working on these days. Penetration testers (“white-hat” ethical hackers) and cyber-security experts work together for the good of companies and their systems and data. The cyber-security team develops software to keep important company assets safe from theft, viruses and other malicious attacks. The pentester, or penetration tester, then tries to ‘hack’ into the system to find where the vulnerabilities, or weak spots, are. This way, there’s less chance of your “black-hat” actual malicious hacker getting into your important data.
What you need to know: the programming language relevant to the system that needs to be tested
10. Cloud Computing
The traditional idea of local storage for files has stuck around in some parts of the world. But the notion is slowly changing. Cloud computing services are becoming more prevalent. It uses networks of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store and manage data rather than using a personal computer or local server. Developers involved in cloud computing can develop software that powers cloud storage applications. Some examples can be Amazon Web Services (AWS), OneDrive storage and GitHub.
What you need to know: Java, XML, R, Erlang, Google’s Go!, Clojure and others
We’ve discussed 10 different types of software development in this piece, as well as what you need to know to be successful in each field. Software development is an increasingly in-demand field. Getting your hands dirty in any of the above types of software development will offer promising career prospects.