Software development is a skill that is hugely in demand all over the world. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that this sector will grow by 22% by 2029, which is much faster than the average overall growth rate in the employment market.
Yet, strong coding skills on their own aren’t enough for a newcomer to forge a successful career in this vibrant industry. What are the other factors that are needed for someone to enjoy the rewards that come from this type of job?
Understand the Importance of Themes
In many types of software development, themes are hugely important. This is really about knowing what people want and then delivering it, and it is most easily seen in the gaming industry, where the overall theme is often the deciding factor in whether people want to play a new game. For an online experience try gclub.
If we look at the data for 2018, the Technavio site lists action games in the first place, followed by sports games and then the battle royal genre. A similar list from Straits Research in 2020 has action games followed by sports, adventure, and then battle royale. The once-popular simulation and strategy games are near the bottom of this listing.
Yet, this just scratches the surface of game themes. Will, you set the action in a Viking environment or in outer space? Will, your enemies be zombies, giant insects, or aliens, or what about a warfare game like Call of Duty? PC Gamer lists the best games of 2020 as including such varied themes as a medieval strategy in Crusader Kings 3, factory-building in Factorio, and the virtual reality Half-Life: Alyx.
We also need to look at the tastes of the intended market. What is popular in the UK isn’t always the same as what people want to play in India or Latin America, so the developer has to look at which market is their target and then see what is currently popular there. How will the latest console launch affect the market? In 2020, the PlayStation 5 has been announced, and it could increase the trend for live-streaming games as well as make it easier to include haptic feedback.
Themes are hugely important in every type of game, which is why many developers take the tried and trusted approach of basing their new work on their favorite games or on what is currently top of the charts. Yet, the rewards can be even greater when tapping into new themes and discovering rich new areas of interest. PC World put 1987’s Street Fighter from Capcom and Dance Dance Revolution, available online for a variety of consoles, on their list of the most innovative games ever made.
We can see how themes are used outside of video games too. You might think that roulette hasn’t changed since the single zero was added to it in the 19th century. However, casinos like Betway live covers diverse roulette themes such as Bollywood, fast versions, and classic variants that all use the latest streaming technology to bring them to life. Music streaming has also changed, with the introduction of more interactive experiences and live concerts, while social media has seen a surge in the use of live video content on Facebook Live.
Follow the Latest Trends
Software development is a fast-moving sector where it is crucial to follow the latest trends and react to changes. 2020 gives us a clear example of how our needs can change, with 55% of businesses around the world offering remote working and 18% of the global workforce now working full-time from home.
This has led to a huge increase in the demand for software such as online collaboration tools, cloud sharing, and video conferencing apps. These changes have led to the value of the video conferencing market to be projected at $6.7 billion by 2025, making it an attractive sector for developers to get into.
Another area to consider is where app usage is growing fastest around the planet. The growth in monthly app hours between the last quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020 shows a 30% increase in India, Spain, and Italy but only 15% in countries like Japan and the UK, making these emerging markets more important than ever before.
Work as part of a Team
Finally, it is easy to imagine a lone developer working away feverishly on their own, but the vast majority of new software is a team effort as up to 100 people can be involved in making a new video game.
The huge success of Zoom was based on founder and CEO Eric Yuan paying 30 engineers to work on his new idea, with 1,700 employees now working for them. Even Whatsapp, known for having a relatively small team, have 50 engineers, who use the Erlang code to make it easier to keep things running smoothly for their 900 million users and to add features like the dark mode.
All of this means that getting a solid grounding in coding is really just a starting point for software developers. After that, they need to add these other skills to give their career the best possible chance of success.