Job Outlook for Entry-Level Software Developers

In today’s hot tech market, many companies are looking for new ways to recruit and retain employees, including hiring people who are willing to learn new skills and grow with the company. 

Companies are increasingly willing to help employees acquire or advance their skills, according to the Linux Foundation jobs report, which says: 

  • 80% of employers now provide online training courses for employees to learn open source software. 
  • 74% of employers are willing to pay for employees’ certification.

Such an approach “expands the candidate talent pool and creates the opportunity to train candidates with the company's best practices and methodologies,” says a recent article in TechRepublic.

Opening Doors

This shift in hiring practices also opens the door to more entry-level candidates who want to continue learning and growing their skills. 

In this article, we’ll look specifically at the job outlook for entry-level (or junior) software developers, which U.S. News & World Report ranked #1 in best tech jobs and #2 in best jobs overall.

Skills and Compensation

Let’s start with a quick review of what software developers do. According to ZipRecruiter, an entry-level software developer has simpler duties than more senior members in the field, and responsibilities may include writing code to achieve a specific task, as well as testing and debugging software.

Additionally, says Payscale, junior software developers “must be able to keep up with rapidly changing computer technology.” They typically work as part of a team to do custom development, create documentation, and continuously build their skills. 

Popular skills for entry-level developers include:

Payscale reports that “an entry-level Junior Software Engineer with less than 1 year experience can expect to earn an average salary of $61,897.” However, they note that JavaScript, Java, and Python skills correlate to above average pay. ZipRecruiter lists salaries ranging from $45,000 to $68,000 for “entry-level software developer” jobs in the United States.

Job Growth

Software development job growth is not expected to slow in the near future. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, much faster than the average for all occupations.” 

Software developers have also been less affected by the pandemic in terms of job elimination or pay cuts, says Scott Carey. “In fact, the number of software developer jobs has increased,” Carey says, citing research from Evans Data showing that the worldwide developer population grew by 500,000 in 2020. 

“As companies all over the world adapt to changes associated with different work environments, developer population growth is expected to increase in the coming years,” the researchers said.

Check out the following resources for additional tips and information for getting a job in software development.

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