Are you looking to get into the Software Development landscape? Are you unsure as to where to start? You’ve come to the right place! In this article, you’ll find a quick intro to software dev, its types, and languages. Are you ready to dive into it? Let’s go!
What is Software Development?
According to IBM Research, “Software Development is a set of computer science that creates, designs, deploys, and maintains the software.” So, what is software? Here, it’s a set of instructions, data, or programs to tell a device what to do. So far, so good, right? As you may know, there are different types of it, which we’ll address in the next section.
What are the Types of Software?
To start your journey into software development, you should know what type of software you are interested in. Here’s a short description of the three main types.
1. Application Software
Apps essentially help users perform certain tasks. Application software encompasses desktop, web, and mobile apps. Examples of application software are media players, word processors, and data management software.
2. System Software
This type of software provides core functions to run other software on a device. Examples include operating systems, firmware, and device drivers.
3. Programming Software
This software gives programmers tools to create code. Programming software includes text editors, debuggers, and compilers.
There are many types of software that some consider subcategories of the ones we explained above, while others believe they should have a category of their own. These include driver software, middleware, firmware, and utility software. We stuck to the main three, but it’s always good to know there might be further distinctions.
Software Engineering vs. Software Development
These two terms can often be mixed up, so we believe explaining the difference is important. A software engineer designs, develops, maintains, tests, and evaluates computer software. Meanwhile, a software developer builds software that can run on various types of computers, writing code from scratch. The main difference is that the engineer oversees the system while the developer creates functional software. Although we’ll be focusing on software development in this article, there might also be some references and useful material for software engineers.
What are the Most Popular Programming Languages?
There are countless programming languages out there. Which ones are best for beginners depends on many factors, such as what type of software you’d like to specialize in, which is easier to learn, and the resources you have at hand. Below, we have included a list of some popular programming languages to consider.
Python is an extremely versatile language that has multiple uses. It is quite often used to build scalable web applications but can also be used for software, automated tasks, and artificial intelligence. Python is platform-independent, and it increases productivity. It also has a great community that constantly creates new resources.
Java is a “write once, run anywhere” programming language commonly used for developing client-server applications and Android apps. Java is platform-oriented, simple, secure, and portable.
Swift was created by Apple and is used to develop iOS and macOS applications. This language is a bit harder to learn but opens many job opportunities. Swift makes it easy to add new features, it’s easy to read and extremely fast.
Besides a language, R is also an environment for statistical computing and graphics. It is commonly used for data analysis and machine learning. R is highly extensible, can run on various operating systems, and has a powerful package ecosystem.
Software Development Resources For Beginners
As you can see from all of the information above, the software development field is huge. It is key to look into the different paths you can take and the technologies required for them. A clear roadmap will help you determine what steps to take and where to go.
You must decide whether to take online courses or attend a boot camp. Then, you will need to figure out if you want to become a front-end (i.e., the user interface), back-end (i.e., the server-side), or full-stack (both front and back-end) developer and if you’ll specialize in a specific framework, language or area (React, Java, Android, etc.). You must also consider how much time you can devote to your training. If you are still a bit confused, you can take a look at Kamran’s developer’s roadmap for help. It doesn’t cover every area, but it gives you a clear idea of today's most popular paths in software development.
If you want to become a software developer, chances are GitHub will become your new best friend. GitHub is a cloud hosting platform that over 73M and 4M organizations around the globe use for version control and collaboration. You can work on projects with other people from anywhere in the world. GitHub has its very own Learning Lab, which includes various free courses to learn everything you need to know about GitHub itself, as well as many programming languages and tools.
Having some rules to guide you on your journey is always good. Thanks to Mickey Muldoon, you have an excellent site to refer to for these. His Rules of thumb for a 1x developer will make a great addition to your bookmarks.
Practice makes perfect. This is the best resource you can get. In addition to any course or documentation you study, find and create projects that help you test your knowledge and improve your skills. How much practice is included might be a good factor to consider when choosing the right course for you.
Once you feel confident enough to start applying for software development jobs, it might be good to consider looking into career prep resources. You can take a look at Interview Cake, which gives interview tips for free and allows you to run through typical interview questions as part of its paid course. Break into Tech also includes cover letters, resumes, and interview tips in its paid courses.
We have given you an introduction to software development for beginners. We’ve included some necessary context and quite a few resources so you can decide what path to take and to help you through it. We hope this article has given you all the tools you need to get on your way, and we wish you the best of luck in your career!