Are you overwhelmed by the variations of software development career paths? Wondering which is right for you?

The aspiration to become a software developer is something that many tech professionals share, especially today when the job outlook in the Dallas information technology (IT) sector is so good. But software development is more of a broad category than an actual job description, and there are many paths within software development you can choose.

As a career software developer (as opposed to a freelancer or entrepreneur), the typical tech career path starts as a junior software developer and then moves to a senior software developer.

After that, an IT professional can stay on the technical side and become a lead developer or can move to management and as you grow in experience and communications skills become a senior software development leader.

In the booming Dallas tech market, there is a great deal of flexibility in terms of where you work, whom you work for, and what IT projects you work on.

In today’s post, we’ll explore the different paths and opportunities available in the world of software development careers.

Factors that Influence a Software Developer Career Paths

The software development work you do and the projects you get involved with will vary depending on the path you choose because so many options exist within the realm of software development.

A few of the choices that will impact your career path include what programming languages you learn, the applications of the work you do, what industry you choose to work in (such as finance, automotive, cybersecurity, health, etc.), and the type of hardware you need in your projects.

To give you an idea of the breadth of possibilities in Dallas tech sector, here are a few of the job opportunities you may come across as a software developer:

  • Cloud development
  • Enterprise development
  • Video game designer
  • Web developer
  • Desktop software developer
  • Mobile app creator
  • Test automation
  • Programmer for data science
  • Embedded system developer for IoT devices

What Skills do you Need to Be a Software Developer?

Let’s start with the basics: what are the education requirements for a software developer? Most developers earn a bachelor’s degree in computer science or software engineering, and especially the former because it covers such a great amount of information.

Once you leave college, you should have at least an elementary understanding of databases, application lifecycles, and application services, and of course basic programming languages popular in 2018.

If you want to become a senior software developer, you must work at being an excellent programmer, but it’s also important that you enjoy that part of the job.

Generally speaking, some of the most important skills for any software developer include:

  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Meticulousness
  • Creativity
  • Problem-solving

Learn more: Software developer job descriptions and skills.

What social skills are needed to be a software developer?

Training and education aren’t the only things that are important if you want to grow your software development career.

A hot requirement in 2018 for software developers is well-developed social skills.

Among the most important social skills include communication, people skills, and interpersonal skills (especially if you aspire to be a senior developer, lead developer, manager, or CTO).

The reason social skills are important is that software developers are part of a bigger team of people working together.  Software developers work closely with system designers, hardware engineers, quality assurance and in many cases the end customer.

Software Developer Careers – Making the Leap from Junior to Senior to Lead and Beyond

Any software developer that wants to move up the rungs must start with one simple goal: becoming the best software developer you can be.

Of course, you must know how to code. Beyond the basic skills, you must have a solid understanding of applications, and you need to have the techniques and technical skills down.

One of the major factors that separate junior and senior developers is the knowledge and skill that comes with experience, and the only way to get that is to put in the time.

When you’ve learned enough about things like software design patterns and can build an entire application to scale, then you’ll have what it takes to leap to senior developer.

To make the jump further to lead software developer, you must put in your time as a senior developer and learn the ins and outs of designing complex systems, programming patterns, and programming anti-patterns. Once you can create define the strategy and structure for a software project, then you’re ready to take on the role of lead developer.

If you decide you want to take on software development management roles, you must hone your people and communication skills. Managing means resolving conflicts, deciding who to hire and fire, seeing the potential in others, spotting talent and knowing how to use it, leading an IT team from start to finish, creating strategies to execute projects, motivating your team, coaching individuals and keeping your software development team focused and on track.


Software development is a dynamic field, and there are many factors that can change the vector of your software development career path. Some of the most important elements include industry, applications, and scripts. But, no matter what career path you want to follow, it’s essential that you have the IT skills and education to back up your choices.

Related: Versatility vs. Specialization? Heed the Advice of an IT Staffing Recruiting Agency

Blog main page.

Follow GTN for Awesome IT Career Advice

Did you enjoy this article?  If so, please follow GTN on Facebook or Linkedin for advice and tips to advance your IT career in Dallas or nationwide.

Visit our Facebook page

Visit our company Linkedin page

Follow our VP Jim Bright on Linkedin who posts regularly.

Call (214) 996-9400 to speak with a tech recruiter or click here to contact us by email.