8 min read

Software Developer

The essentials of software development

The software development area is in charge of creating digital products so that they can be used by people who do not necessarily have knowledge in technology.

Those who work in this discipline mainly write the code, that is, the set of lines of text that describe the steps the computer must follow to execute a certain action.

They also have to speak with clients to identify their needs and reach solutions based on the product to be developed, in addition to receiving their feedback to make the necessary adjustments. Also, they talk with the teams to make collaborative decisions and define a roadmap.

The development of Android and iOS applications, as well as desktop and web apps, is performed in 5 stages: discovery, definition, development, testing and maintenance. Although they are presented as something linear, in practice some of them are carried out simultaneously, and also, it is common to go backwards in one of the steps, iterate and move on.

In this article:

What is software development?

Software development is the ability to create and design a virtual product that can be used by anyone who has access to a mobile device or browser.

Software is a set of instructions given to a processor in order to execute specific tasks. There are three basic types of software: 

  • System software: Refers to the management of disks, hardware and any operational needs, such as cars or refrigerators.

  • Programming software: Is used to provide software development tools such as text editors or compilers to create code.

  • Application software: Applications themselves, such as messaging or social networking apps, used to enable users to perform specific tasks or actions.

What does a software development technician do?

Software developers are mainly in charge of writing code, but before that, they speak with the clients to understand their product's objectives and what problems they intend to solve. 

In this way, they can define a plan of action according to these needs, implement it, do testing, and then go into production. Finally, they are responsible for the maintenance of the systems they code.

The development technicians have to gather the necessary information to be able to outline the structure of the systems. They identify the expectations of the people responsible for a project and the pains that the product will solve.

Then, in close contact with the Project Management area, they define the best ways to face the project by applying different programming languages, as well as structuring the architecture necessary to achieve the goals.

In some cases, together with the QA area, they are in charge of testing these systems to ensure that they meet the company's quality standards and to guarantee the right functioning of all features. 

They also carry out maintenance tasks such as updating systems, repairing errors that arise over time, enhancing security, etc. 

How are the development areas organized?

To understand how software development works we must take a look at the work organization inside a company. There is no single way to structure a development area. Some companies divide them according to the specialty: Backend, responsible for handling the logics behind a digital product; Frontend, in charge of the user interface from the point of view of the code; and Fullstack, that works on both the visible and code of the system.

Sometimes, the organization can be according to the technology or frameworks employed to code, for example Node.js, React.js, among others.

At the same time, within each area, there may be a smaller one that is responsible for designing the architecture of digital products and balancing the needs throughout the development lifecycle, which is called DevOps.

What does it take to develop software?

To develop software you need knowledge in programming languages: Javascript, HTML, CSS, Node, React, etc. Although it provides very useful tools, it is not necessary to go to University. It is possible to work in software development without a degree or even a paid course. 

Many professionals have learned in a self-taught way. The important thing is to dedicate a lot of time to practice, watch workshops and master classes, access step-by-step guides that may be available on YouTube, ask questions to colleagues, and above all, make mistakes, learn from them and do not get frustrated.

Almost anyone can program. The important thing is to have a computer and a support installed that allows you to write code, combine it and execute it. Sometimes it can be useful to have a whiteboard and a marker, and brainstorm solutions to problems. 

We also suggest having contact with colleagues who specialize in the same technologies as you, so that if you get stuck, you can exchange ideas and achieve good results together.

The software development process

There are five stages in the software development process. All of them are equally important, so each one must be carried out with great responsibility and commitment. 

  1. Discovery. It is the first stage, and begins with a direct contact with the client. In this instance, all the necessary meetings are held in order to know the client’s objectives, intentions, problems and needs, and be able to design a product that can meet all these demands.

  2. Definition. At this point, the team processes all the information gathered in the discovery phase, starts making decisions, and establishes a development plan. Use cases and stories are raised, evaluated, estimated and prioritized.

  3. Development. The use cases are already processed and ready to be implemented, and the clients' wishes begin to materialize. It is at this stage that the product becomes something tangible.

  4. Testing. As the team launches unfinished versions of the use cases, the testing area performs different tests and evaluates the results. In this stage, the teams verify that everything works correctly, meeting the specified quality criteria, and they define improvements for each functionality as well as for the product in general.

  5. Maintenance. This is the last stage of the entire development process. Once the product is released to the market, each functionality and the software in general requires constant updating and fixing "surprise bugs" in case they arise.

The software development methodology: How do we work at XOOR?

At XOOR we work with agile methodologies, that is, we produce, evaluate and propose improvements in the product and then iterate. That is why the definition stage and the development and testing stages are repeated many times: we go backwards, make the necessary adjustments, move forward, and probably go backwards again and iterate improvements.

For our talent augmentation services, we build custom teams according to the needs of the project and the possibilities of the clients. For this, we take into account the functionalities to be programmed, the type of technologies to be used and the fact that the people share the culture of the target company.

At XOOR we focus on nearshore software development work, because we believe that complementary cultural backgrounds and similar time zones are key factors for a successful day-to-day work environment.

Besides, some time ago we decided that all the teams we form to join immediately other companies, either autonomously or integrated, must include a PM from XOOR. The purpose is to guarantee the quality of the products and the correct management of the project, meeting the established deadlines and ensuring a good working relationship. 

What are the benefits of being a developer?

It's common to hear that coding is in trend now, but when you see all the learning there is involved, it can be overwhelming. However, these are the top five advantages of working as a developer

  1. Becoming unemployed is not a concern. As it is a highly demanded skill worldwide, there are many job opportunities.

  2. You can work while traveling around the world. By relying only on a computer, you have the possibility of being part of companies that operate remotely, or work freelance providing your services from anywhere. 

  3. You are able to create tangible technological objects. Whoever is dedicated to software development has some expertise that, articulated with others such as electronics, allows the design of endless things: lighting devices, cooling systems, etc.

  4. Your brain exercises a lot. You are constantly learning in order to be updated in different programming languages and specialties.

  5. You become independent in satisfying your needs. Impossible things almost do not exist: if you want a specific virtual calculator and there is no one in the market that meets all your requirements, you can create a customized one.

These are just the main benefits of being a developer. Surely there are many others, as each person can resignify and find opportunities in this profession. 

If you have any questions about how XOOR's development area works, or you want to be part of this team, send us an email to hola@xoor.io and we will answer as soon as possible. You can also follow us on Linkedin and Twitter!