Careers in Software Development


Looking for an entry level job or internship in software development? This is an overview of how to approach the search and a list of companies that might have relevant entry level and internship opportunities.

One of the things I enjoy doing most every morning is nursing a warm hot chocolate while checking my e-mail to see if anything exciting has arrived overnight. This daily ritual is possible thanks to the tireless effort of software developers (and my barista). Software is how we interact with computers, and programmers are the magic makers who write the software. While we mostly think of software in relation to computers, software developers write the code that runs our video games, cars, airplanes, cell phones, televisions, and nearly every moderately advanced piece of electronics that we interact with.

Software Development Career Guide Overview

  1. What a Software Developer Does
  2. A Typical Day for a Software Developer
  3. Salary and Career Progression for a Software Developer
  4. Best Locations for Software Development
  5. Pro/Con: Being a Software Developer
  6. What You Need to Know for a Career in Software Development
  7. Software Development Resources
  8. Careers Related to Software Development
  9. Companies with Jobs and Internships in Software Development

What a Software Developer Does

A programmer develops code (software instructions) for hardware. In doing so, they solve problems, or create new ideas by writing, testing, debugging, and maintaining the detailed instructions that computers need to work. Commonly coders also design the graphical user interface, which helps users navigate through the software. For the background on how this amazingly complex group of jobs evolved, check out this geeky infographic of its history.

Popular Languages

Here are some of the software languages that are worth knowing. If you master any one of these, you will open yourself up to numerous entry level job or internship opportunities.

  • C
  • C++
  • Objective-C
  • Java
  • PHP
  • Ruby
  • Ruby on Rails
  • Javascript
  • Python
  • SQL
  • Perl
  • Visual Basic

A Typical Day for a Programmer

While the work for an individual software developer may look pretty similar from day to day, daily activities vary widely from developer to developer. Some work from home, others work in cubes. Some have a stand up desk, and others work in an open office setting. The common theme is that most programmers spend a large part of their days in front of a glowing screen (usually a big one). Hours can range from 9 to 5 to total time flexibility. The work can vary widely too. Some developer spend most of their days building new code to create new functionality, while others may spend their days identifying and fixing bugs. Programmers also obviously spend time communicating with project managers, product developers, and others in the company who help determine the direction the software takes.

Salary and Career Progression for a Coder

How comfortable is this comfortable living you’ve heard about? What does the programmer gig pay? A lot. Software engineers are in extremely high demand, and the market just keeps getting hotter. While many salary sites report pay ranges from $29,000-$83,000 with a median expected salary of $54,000 per year for an entry level hacker, it’s not unheard for top grads to get offers in the low to mid six figures.

There’s plenty of room for growth in Software Development, as many engineers eventually move into management at some point. Even a non-manager software developer can see a salary well into low six-figures. Additionally, many developers end up starting their own companies or becoming early employees at startups, and because the demand for them is so high, bigger companies often end up acqi-hiring the companies at a going rate of $1 million per engineer (in cash and stock). That usually requires some sort of vesting schedule, but it can pay off big for a developer who takes a little risk.

Other Names for Software Developers

  • Programmer
  • Developer
  • Hacker
  • Coder
  • Software Architect
  • Computer Scientist
  • Software Engineer (Front-end or Back-end)
  • Ninja/Rockstar (kind of hate these)

Best Locations for Software Developers

I believe Homer Simpson once said, “The Internet? Is that thing still around?” My guess is, you know the answer- YES! and because of that, job opportunities for developers are widespread. Being in the right place makes a difference too. Hot spots for software developers are currently:

  • San Francisco, CA
  • New York, NY (check out Adopt a Hacker if you want to explore NYC)
  • Austin, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Boston, MA
  • Raleigh, NC

Pro/Con: Being a Hacker

  • There’s an endless demand for programming work.
  • You can work in nearly any industry you want and work on problems that are interesting to you. Fashion, food, technology, and finance are just a few areas where programmers are in high demand
  • You can teach yourself with only online resources.
  • It’s exciting and ever-changing! There’s recently been a move toward open knowledge sharing, meaning you may not have to build each piece of your product from scratch, check out all of the APIs you can pull from.
  • You’ll get PAID.
  • There’s a lot of sitting and working on computers.
  • There’s a lot of communication and teamwork, which may not be a con for you.
  • You’ll need to be open to change as there will be a iteration is essential on nearly any software development project.
  • Staying up to date on new technology is essential to career success. Skills that are in high demand may be outdated tomorrow.

What You Need to Know for a Career in Software Development

One of the cool things about programming is that while you need an education, it can be one that you develop on your own. If you prove you know a language, you’ll be hard pressed to find a company that will turn you away. So the most important thing is to have a working knowledge of a group of programming languages that matches up with what the market is looking for. Check out this infographic on the evolution of programming languages, to get better versed. In addition you’ll probably need to be able to work with database systems like Orcale and Sybase. Many programmers are able to develop these skills by toying around with things at a young age, so you have no excuse. Codecademy and W3Schools are great places to start, but the best resources really depend on what language you’re trying to learn. If you’d rather a traditional educational program, typically companies will look for B.S. degree in Computer Science, Information Systems, or Mathematics. So suit up with one of those!

Software Development Resources

If software development still sounds like your cup of tea, here are a few things you should do to get started.

Required Reading

Top books for hackers.

Key Folks to Follow on Twitter

Blogs and Websites

Networking Opportunities

Careers Related to Software Development

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Freelance Software Developer
Outsource All cities, AL
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NewCareers Chicago, IL
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Cameron Craig Group Chicago, IL
Software Developer - .Net developer
Stonewall Technologies Staunton, VA

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Companies with Entry Level Jobs and Internships in Software Development

Detour Logo

Detour - Detour is a San Francisco, CA based company that set out to offer “immersive, location-aware audio walks” and completely knocked it out of the park.

See the complete Detour profile

Utilidata Logo

Utilidata - Utilidata is a Providence, RI based company that helps electric utilities be more efficient "through the use of new data extraction and digital processing techniques."

See the complete Utilidata profile

Lua Logo

Lua - Lua is an NYC based company focused on “empowering mobile workforces by giving them access to the people and information they need to get the job done."

See the complete Lua profile

CompStak Logo

CompStak - CompStak is based in NYC and creating "transparency in commercial real estate by gathering information that is hard to find, difficult to compile or otherwise unavailable.”

See the complete CompStak profile

Victorious Logo

Victorious - Victorious is a Santa Monica, CA based startup that is “motivated by the challenge of powering and uniting the world’s most creative communities.”

See the complete Victorious profile

Sprout Social Logo

Sprout Social - Sprout Social is a Chicago, IL based company that offers “a management and egnagement platform for social business.”

See the complete Sprout Social profile

Domo Logo

Domo - Domo is an American Fork, UT based company that “transforms the way executives manage their business" by providing all of your important data in one intuitive platform.

See the complete Domo profile

Emerge Media Logo

Emerge Media - Emerge Media is a Chicago, IL based company that is “taking on the essential roots of everyday tasks and breathing real life into the technology behind them.”

See the complete Emerge Media profile

ListenLogic Logo

ListenLogic - ListenLogic is a Conshohocken, PA based company that extracts “insights from unstructured big data to drive business outcomes.”

See the complete ListenLogic profile

Tripping Logo

Tripping - Tripping is a San Francisco, CA based company that has build “the world’s largest search engine for vacation and short-term rentals.”

See the complete Tripping profile

Chute Logo

Chute - Chute is based in SF and has developed a “visual content engine for brands” that makes “it easy to keep pace with your customers and create compelling, fresh content."

See the complete Chute profile

BioLite Logo

BioLite - BioLite is a Brooklyn based company that develops "products that make cooking with wood as clean safe and easy as modern fuels while also providing electricity.”

See the complete BioLite profile

Rocketrip Logo

Rocketrip - Rocketrip is a New York, NY based company that aims “to enlist employees as engaged partners in managing corporate travel costs.”

See the complete Rocketrip profile

GuideSpark Logo

GuideSpark - GuideSpark is a Menlo Park, CA based company that offers a “robust employee communications platform” to make HR's job easier.

See the complete GuideSpark profile

Fingerprint Logo

Fingerprint - Fingerprint is a San Francisco, CA based company that has “designed a way to transition this parent and kid engagement into the digital world.”

See the complete Fingerprint profile

Lifesize Logo

Lifesize - Lifesize is an Austin, TX based company that has “set out to make video conferencing truly universal.”

See the complete Lifesize profile

SumAll Logo

SumAll - SumAll is a New York, NY based company that allows “you to see all your information in one place and provide you visibility into the past, present, and future.”

See the complete SumAll profile

August Logo

August - August is a San Francisco, CA based company that has developed a “safe, simple, and social way to manage your home’s lock.”

See the complete August profile

Backcountry Logo - Backcountry is a Park City, UT based company that gets “get people who get outside” and is all “about gear, grit, and connecting people to their passions.”

See the complete profile

Kanjoya Logo

Kanjoya - Kanjoya is a San Francisco, CA based company that transforms “emotional insights into remarkable customer experiences” by analyzing unstructured data in real time.

See the complete Kanjoya profile

WPromote Logo

WPromote - WPromote is an El Segundo, CA based company that calls itself “the country’s leading Online Marketing firm." They help clients with SEO, PPC, and Social Media.

See the complete WPromote profile

OneIMS Logo

OneIMS - OneIMS is a Skokie, IL based company that offers “everything from services like branding and web design to online marketing strategies like SEO and PPC.”

See the complete OneIMS profile

The Resumator Logo

The Resumator - The Resumator is a Pittsburgh, PA based company that helps “great people build great companies” by bringing “talented professionals and compelling companies together.”

See the complete The Resumator profile

Noom Logo

Noom - Noom is an NYC based company that makes healthy living easy by using "cutting-edge technology to accurately monitor your progress and provide expert advice and analysis."

See the complete Noom profile

eponym Logo

eponym - eponym is a company based in Brooklyn, NY that helps "the world’s most exciting brands create and distribute their own eyewear.”

See the complete eponym profile

Kitchensurfing Logo

Kitchensurfing - Kitchensurfing is an NYC based company that matches “up chefs and people who need a cook at high and low price points and for a variety of types of engagements."

See the complete Kitchensurfing profile

Spatial Logo

Spatial - Spatial is a Broomfield, CO based company that is “the leading provider of 3D components for technical application development across a broad range of industries.”

See the complete Spatial profile

Team Detroit Logo

Team Detroit - Team Detroit is an ad agency that in 2006 brought together parts of five legendary agencies that were under the same ownership and already working with Ford.

See the complete Team Detroit profile

RelayRides Logo

RelayRides - RelayRides is a San Francisco, CA based company that connects “vehicle owners whose cars would otherwise be idle with people who need a car.”

See the complete RelayRides profile

Disruptor Beam Logo

Disruptor Beam - Disruptor Beam is a Framingham, MA based company that is aiming “to create the most fan-centric game company in the world.”

See the complete Disruptor Beam profile

ZenPayroll Logo

ZenPayroll - ZenPayroll is a San Francisco, CA based company that has created “the easiest way to pay your employees.”

See the complete ZenPayroll profile Logo - is a San Francisco, CA based company that “was founded with the goal of connecting inspired kitchens with the masses.”

See the complete profile

Innerspin Logo

Innerspin - Innerspin is a Los Angeles, CA based agency that “is focused on growing global brands through effective brand building and digital capabilities.”

See the complete Innerspin profile

ProQuest Logo

ProQuest - ProQuest is an Ann Arbor, MI based company that “is committed to empowering researchers and librarians around the world.”

See the complete ProQuest profile


HDMZ - HDMZ is a Chicago, IL and San Francisco, CA based healthcare and life science marketing agency that was founded in 1936.

See the complete HDMZ profile

StyleCaster Media Group Logo

StyleCaster Media Group - StyleCaster Media Group is based in NYC and aims “to bring style to the people, empowering millions of readers to discover and share their style.”

See the complete StyleCaster Media Group profile

Kinsa Logo

Kinsa - Kinsa is a New York, NY based company that is changing the way that people take their temperatures and monitor their health.

See the complete Kinsa profile

UpOut Logo

UpOut - UpOut is a San Francisco, CA based company that “is changing how locals discover unique events in their city.”

See the complete UpOut profile

Course Hero Logo

Course Hero - Course Hero is a Redwood City, CA based company that “provides a suite of digital educational resources that help you learn as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

See the complete Course Hero profile

DaveRamsey Logo

DaveRamsey - The Lampo Group is Dave Ramsey's Brentwood, TN based company that provides "biblically based, common-sense education and empowerment" with a focus on finance.

See the complete DaveRamsey profile

AlphaSights Logo

AlphaSights - AlphaSights is a New York, NY based company that provides “today’s investors, deal-makers and corporate strategists with access to the knowledge they need to succeed.”

See the complete AlphaSights profile

TuneIn Logo

TuneIn - TuneIn is a Palo Alto, CA based company that “enables people to discover, follow, and listen to what’s most important to them — from sports, to news, to music, to talk.”

See the complete TuneIn profile

Mason Zimbler Logo

Mason Zimbler - Mason Zimbler is an Austin, TX based “integrated agency rooted in the digital space” that combines “a love of creative” with a “desire for results.”

See the complete Mason Zimbler profile

Xamarin Logo

Xamarin - Xamarin is a San Francisco, CA based company allows developers to write “apps entirely in C#, sharing the same code on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.”

See the complete Xamarin profile

Lands' End Logo

Lands’ End - Lands' End is a Dodgeville, WI based "international apparel brand synonymous with timeless American style.”

See the complete Lands’ End profile

WeSpire Logo

WeSpire - WeSpire is a Boston, MA based company that provides “technology-based engagement programs to inspire employees for measurable impact.”

See the complete WeSpire profile

Luminate Logo

Luminate - A lot of companies have put ads alongside images, but Luminate is a Mountain View, CA based company that is putting them in the actual images.

See the complete Luminate profile

Square Root Logo

Square Root - Square Root is an Austin, TX based company that has developed “a single platform to improve operations and performance throughout franchise networks.”

See the complete Square Root profile

Trefis Logo

Trefis - Trefis is a Boston, MA based company that has developed a set of tools that “helps you understand how a company’s products impact its stock price.”

See the complete Trefis profile

Betaworks Logo

Betaworks - Betaworks is an NYC company that works "to create beneficial and transformative products for the socially connected world.”

See the complete Betaworks profile

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