STEM Career Spotlight

STEM Career Inspiration: Software Developer

Learn more about what a software developer is and what they do, the steps to become a developer, and fun developer-related activities for kids!

At Blocks Rock!, we’re continuing our series highlighting awesome STEM careers that inspire kids! For our fifth spotlight, we’re choosing an important job - software development!

Read this article to learn more about what a software developer is and what they do, the steps to become a developer, and fun developer-related activities for kids! Read to the end to find our printable STEM poster, perfect for a child’s bedroom wall or a classroom.

Understanding a Software Developer

All computers, tablets, and phones use software - a type of program that is used by the device to make it function. Software also allows your video games, apps, and gaming consoles to bring your favorite games to life.

Software is created using a special “computer language” called code. Code is how the software knows how to function on your electronic device.

As BLS.gov says, “software developers are the creative minds behind computer programs.” They help develop applications that allow people to use their computers or other devices, and others develop entire systems that can run the devices and control networks.

Software developers oversee the entire creation and maintenance of software, and typically they work with programmers, who can use code to bring the software to life.

You can thank software developers for helping to put together some of your favorite apps - like Angry Birds, YouTube Kids, and the Blocks Rock! 3D Companion App.

Software Developer Job Duties

With how important technology is to our world, software developers are a vital part of our daily lives.

There are typically two types of software developers - software systems developers and software application developers. Software systems developers create entire systems that keep computers working, and software application developers design computer applications like games or apps for people.

According to Study.com, as a software developer, you’ll create models and flowcharts that help programmers know how to write code for software, and you'll be involved in all aspects of software development, including constructing, designing, testing and maintaining software.

In some businesses, software developers don’t just guide the creation of the code for the computer - they know how to code and do it by themselves.

BLS.gov suggests that these are typical software developer duties:

  • Analyze a person’s needs for a software and then design, test, and develop software to meet those needs
  • Recommend software upgrades for customers’ existing programs and systems
  • Design each piece of an application or system and plan how the pieces will work together
  • Create a variety of models and diagrams (such as flowcharts) that show programmers the software code needed for an application
  • Collaborate with other computer specialists to create the best software

If you like working as part of a team, you might also be a good fit for software development because software developers are almost always working together with other programmers and people in the business.

How to Become a Software Developer

Study.com outlines the main way that you can become a software developer. Generally, you’ll want a bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or mathematics.

Here are some of the steps you can take to make that happen:

  1. Work hard in classes in school that focus on science and math. Take classes about software development if offered by your school.
  2. Most software developers work from a computer, so figure out if that is something you like.
  3. Choose and attend a college that offers great computer science program.
  4. Search for relevant experiences, like finding part-time employment in a plae that help you learn programming languages and technical skills.
  5. Take the time to learn how to use programming languages like Visual Basic, C++, Java, and Python.
  6. If you choose to, you could get a certification from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Computer Society.
  7. You could also look for a graduate program in the field of software engineering.

There are a few main paths you can take to become a software engineers, but no matter which one you choose, you’ll need to have a good understanding of how computer programs work, be able to solve problems, and learn how to “speak” the main programming languages.

Fun Activities for Interested Software Developers

So what can a parent do for a young, future software developer? We’ve put together a list of fun activities that encourage a love of math, coding, and problem solving and also helps build skills that are critical for a future in STEM learning!

Explore Made with Code - Made with Code offers a variety of projects that help to teach some basics of code in a fun way.

Build a Binary Code Bracelet - MaryAnne from Mama Smiles put together an activity that allows kids to learn binary code by teaching them how to code their names in jewelry!

Take a Class at Khan Academy - Khan Academy offers free courses on coding that range from intro to JavaScript, to intro to HTML, and more!

Play Blocks Rock! - Since Blocks Rock! Builds spatial reasoning, a skill critical for STEM learning, it’s the perfect game to help develop a solid STEM base!

Practice Problem Solving Skills - Part of software development is learning how to problem solve, and PBS Kids offers a variety of fun problem solving games!

Read a Book About Computers for Kids - Some great books that can help kids better understand computers include: Hello Ruby: Journey Inside the Computer, Help your Kids with Computer Science, Look Inside how Computers Work, and more!

Play Hop Scotch Coding - Hop Scotch Coding provides a simple, interactive introduction to unplugged, block-style coding that is perfect for Kindergarten through third graders as they learn the basics of programming.

Get inspired with our software developer printable!

This one-page printable is a fun summary of this blog post and has a checklist of the activities for young software developers. Download it here.

As always, if you’re looking to build skills critical for STEM careers, remember to play Blocks Rock!

If you want to explore other STEM careers, check out these idea from our blog:

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