There are different roles for software developers. Most companies have a team of programmers who work together, often at home, to build and develop software. There are many career paths for software developers.
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What is Software development?
Software Development is the process of developing software products using software engineering methods. Software development encompasses various activities, including requirements analysis, design, coding, testing, debugging, maintenance, etc. Many companies have separate departments for each of these activities.
However, small businesses do not have the luxury of having dedicated staff for these tasks. At times, the developer is expected to perform multiple roles. Some of the skills needed for software development include good problem-solving skills, logical thinking, creativity, and patience. These are just some of the skills required for successful software development.
What a Software Developer can do?
A software development project consists of the following steps: Requirements Analysis, Designing, Coding, Testing, Debugging, Maintenance, Documentation, Release Management, and Quality Assurance.
- Requirements Analysis – This step involves determining what the system should do and how it will work. It also includes defining user requirements, identifying stakeholders, understanding business processes, and analyzing data. After the initial requirements gathering, a detailed specification document is created. This document defines all aspects of the system, including what will happen if certain events occur.
- Designing – A design is a blueprint for the system being developed. Every aspect of the system is considered. If the system is meant to run online, then the design would take into account security issues. It would also consider the hardware and the operating system being used. When designing a system, developers use UML (Unified Modeling Language) diagrams. Developers need to keep in mind that the end user will interact with the system, so the design should also take into consideration what happens after the user inputs information. It should also be able to respond to different situations and provide useful feedback.
- Coding – Once the design is complete, it is time to write code. The coding phase is where the actual programming takes place. There are various languages available to create programs. The most popular languages are Java, C++, Python, PHP, and Visual Basic. Each language has its own advantages and disadvantages. The advantage of some languages over others is that they allow developers to focus on individual tasks rather than dealing with the underlying principles.
- Testing – Before the program can be released, it must go through extensive testing. Tests should cover all major parts of the program. Tests help identify bugs early in the process. Bugs may cause problems later on in the development cycle. Since the tests are automated, the developer does not have to worry about running them manually. All test results are stored in a database and analyzed to determine whether any bugs exist. The test results are displayed in graphs and charts. These graphs give the programmer a comparison between the newly coded version and the previous versions. Based on this information, the programmer can make necessary changes before releasing the product.
- Debugging – While most programmers know what to look out for when writing their code, some bugs slip through the cracks. Debugging is the process of locating and fixing these errors. Debuggers help find and fix the bugs before the error becomes a problem for users. There are two types of debuggers: interactive and non-interactive. An interactive debugger allows the user to edit the program while it runs. This type of debugger is usually used when first starting to learn a programming language. Non-interactive debuggers print messages to the console window at the command prompt. The output of the messages can be read by the developer to get hints about where the bug may lie.
- Maintenance – Once the program goes live, it must be maintained. Maintenance is a process by which the program is updated with new features or bug fixes. Maintaining a program means keeping track of updates, making sure that the program is working properly, and providing the latest update to users. Maintenance entails updating manuals as well.
- Documentation – Documentation refers to written material related to the program. Documentation helps people who want to learn more about the program. It provides reference materials, tutorials, examples, and guidelines.
- Release Management – Releases are defined as the stages in which a project moves forward from one stage to another. Releasing a program is similar to managing projects. Releases are managed via milestones. Milestones are checkpoints at which a particular task within a larger release is completed. New releases are planned based on the progress made in previous releases. For example, if the last release was delayed, then there is no point in planning a new release until a reasonable amount of work is done towards completing the current release.
- Quality Assurance – The final step in software development is quality assurance. Like documentation, QA deals with written materials. However, unlike documentation, quality assurance focuses on testing the program’s functionality. Quality assurance ensures that the program performs according to specifications and meets business standards.
What software do they use?
This question should be asked first and foremost before hiring someone. If they use Photoshop, then that’s good enough. But if they don’t know how to use Photoshop, then we need to find out what their strengths and weaknesses are. After all, it is quite difficult to fix something that you don’t understand and even harder to explain to others how to do it.
Do they have a portfolio?
If yes, download their works. You don’t have to look at everything, but you should look at some of the things they have done. Don’t rush yourself; take your time and make sure you are fully aware of what you are looking for and for what purpose you are willing to pay money for it.
How much experience do they have?
Experience counts but not necessarily in terms of years. Instead, ask them about projects they have worked on. Ask them questions like “What was the size of the project?”, “Did you implement any custom features?” Was anything special involved?” etc. Also, make sure that you get answers to these kinds of questions. You want to ensure that the person you are going to work with understands exactly what you want the project to be.
How long did it take them to finish the project?
In answering this question, you need to think about two aspects. One is the amount of time taken and the second is the quality of the product. While working for free might sound appealing, it isn’t a viable option for many developers. So, try to calculate the value of the time spent and weigh it accordingly.
How well did they communicate?
Communication skills are among the most important qualities you can look for in a developer. There are plenty of cases where a developer who knows all the technicalities perfectly well may end up sabotaging the entire project due to poor communication skills. Make sure that the person you are considering employs communication skills that are strong and effective.
Did they solve problems?
You want a developer that solves problems and avoids being stuck with those problems forever. So, ask them if they ever encountered a problem that wasn’t solved easily. If they admit to having such a situation, then that’ll go down well with you.
Can you contact them?
Last but not least, ask whether you can talk to the person themselves. In case you cannot reach the developer directly, it’d be a pain to wait for days to hear back from them. Also, check if the person is online and is accessible throughout the day.
Mobile apps are gaining popularity today due to their ease of use and accessibility. Most people now own mobile phones and have access to these devices anytime, anywhere. App developers are finding ways to incorporate these technologies into their applications. They are using different platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows Phone, etc.