Software developer

Computing and ICT

Career outlook for software developer

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would design and build computer programs for organisations. You might work on projects such as databases, robotic systems, mobile applications and more.

You would work closely with project managers, business analysts and clients.

You would:

  • Discuss needs with the client and the development team
  • Go to technical design and progress meetings
  • Write test versions of the program
  • Test the program and fix any faults
  • Keep records of the development process
  • Carry out quality checks before launch
  • Look after systems once they are up and running

You may write computer programs from scratch or change 'off-the-shelf' programs to meet the needs of the project.

As an experienced developer you may supervise a team and provide feedback on coding work to your colleagues.

You would need good knowledge of programming languages, an understanding of development processes like 'Agile’ and an awareness of confidentiality and data protection issues.

Working conditions


You would usually work normal hours. You would often have to work late to meet deadlines.


You would mainly be based at an office.


You may have to travel to meet clients. Some projects might involve overnight stays away from home.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Cooperating
  • Working with technology
  • Creative
  • Problem solving
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Sorting
  • Taking initiative
  • Taking responsibility
  • Recalling

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


A Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), a Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in computer science, computer and electronic systems or software engineering are often required for software developer jobs.

You may also need a postgraduate degree (SCQF level 11) in a computing subject for some roles.

To enter a Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) courses, you would need National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers (SCQF level 6).

To enter a relevant degree (SCQF level 9/10), you would need National 5 qualifications and at least four to five Highers.

Graduates in other subjects can enter by taking a postgraduate course in a computer programming subject.

Some people may progress to the job from other basic computing roles.

Useful subjects

English and maths are required by most courses. Other required subjects depend on the course but may include:

  • Physics 
  • Technologies subjects such as computing science and engineering

Helpful to have

Work-based qualifications such as Scottish Vocational Qualification in ICT (SVQ level 2/3/4). 

Relevant industry qualifications such as Cisco, Microsoft, CompTIA or Novell certification can be helpful in progressing within this career.