Ten Software Development Career Paths

Dan Pickett

By Dan Pickett

It’s an extremely exciting time to be launching a software development career. Even the most junior software engineers have a ton of career options—from traditional software development roles to unique and exciting jobs that satisfy many different interests and skill sets. In addition to being one of the most exciting industries to work in, it is also one of the fastest growing job market sectors. In fact,  The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a faster-than-average 22% job growth rate for software developers, analysts, and testers from 2019-29.
“Leaders in the space are starting to recognize a perceived gap between bootcamp graduate vs. engineer team-ready. Dan Pickett, Launch Academy Co-Founder
Launch Academy Co-founder, Dan Pickett, was featured on Course Report’s recent podcast discussing what we can expect in 2022. (Dan’s comments are featured at roughly the 31:40 mark if you’d like to skip ahead.)  The episode hits on what’s to be expected in the industry as we head deeper into the year, and identifies the key growth sectors for 2022: website development, user experience, data science, and cyber security. 

A career in Software Engineering sounds great, but where do you start?

If you’re considering a coding bootcamp certificate program, it’s likely because you’re looking for a career change. So you’re probably wondering how you’ll put your new software development skill set to work.  New engineers have a ton of exciting software development career options—from traditional dev roles to unique jobs that satisfy many different interests and skill sets. Here are 10 software development career paths that Launch Academy graduates have pursued with their software engineering education. Which ones interest you most?

Common Roles for New Software Engineers

  1. Front-end engineer. If you’re passionate about design, functionality, and speed, you may want to pursue front end-engineering. These engineers focus exclusively on the visual details and accessibility of a browser using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS. 
  2. Back-end engineer. Back-end engineers, on the other hand, focus on data integrations and information systems on databases and third-party APIs using technologies like Ruby on Rails, Java, Node.js, and JavaScript. 
  3. Full-stack engineer. Becoming a full-stack engineer is by far the most common starting point for a new engineer. This career path showcases your diverse talent for visual and informational integration. Full-stack engineers work on both the front-end and back-end of an application. 
At Launch Academy, we equip our students with a thorough understanding of front-end and back-end architecture and supporting systems. If you’re interested in finding out more about Launch Academy’s curriculum, go ahead and download our syllabus for more detail.  Alternative Career Paths for Software Engineers Some software engineers pursue careers in software-related fields, such as: 
  1. Software developer and tester (SDET). When computers were less sophisticated, QA professionals tested software by intentionally trying to break it to look for bugs, holes, and issues. Now, computers execute that process more efficiently than humans. An SDET writes code and builds automations, allowing computers to test software and make sure applications work as intended.
  2. Sales engineer/solutions specialist. If you have strong people skills or a background in a field like sales or marketing, a sales engineer position might be a good fit for you. Sales engineers use their engineering prowess and communication skills to help customers decide which tools they want to purchase. 
  3. Marketing disciplines. In today’s age of online marketing, knowledge of Google Analytics and the ability to JavaScript functions for promotions are increasingly valuable skills. Software engineers in performance marketing use data and customer behavior information to sell more products by split-testing and writing code that can personalize experiences for eCommerce websites.  
  4. Information technology (IT) or information science (IS). The line between IT professionals and computer scientists is beginning to blur. As computers now update themselves, the need for traditional network administrators has diminished. However, IT professionals who can fix computer problems—or better yet, proactively take a business problem and translate it into custom-built information systems, are highly sought after.

Secondary Roles for Software Engineers

Once you’ve conquered your first job as a software engineer, you’ll have the mobility to evolve into other exciting career paths. These are just a few of the roles you could find yourself in once you build your software engineering resumé. 
  1. DevOps. If you have a background in IT and like to play around with back-end infrastructure, DevOps may be a field worth pursuing. DevOps combines development and operations to coordinate IT, QA, and security. DevOps software engineers write code to orchestrate key operations in systems like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.
  2. Data science and machine learning. Having a background in research, data, or dissertation work could make you an excellent candidate for a data science software engineer. This emerging field applies scientific methods and processes to manage and synthesize massive amounts of data.
  3. Project/product management. Many software engineer graduates gain a few years of software industry experience before evolving into project management roles. A product manager who understands and empathizes with the engineering required to deliver business value is headed for success.
As a new software developer, you’ll have so many career paths to explore. If you’d like to find out more about how Launch Academy’s bootcamps can help advance your career, schedule a 15-minute info call today.