How to become a software developer: Hannah's story

Meet Hannah, 22, and find out about her job as a graduate software developer at Deutsche Bank in London. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

Hannah working on her laptop.
"I originally wanted to be a game developer but I quickly realised I could use my creativity in a lot of disciplines."

How would you describe your job?

I'm a software developer on a graduate scheme. You can apply for graduate schemes if you have an undergraduate university degree. My scheme is organised into two six-month rotations (placements) so I get to see what it's like to be in different teams and learn about different projects and technologies.

Day-to-day, I mostly do coding, which I really enjoy. This means I'm helping to create online applications and learning how they work.

How did you get this job?

At GCSE, I studied IT which is when I knew I wanted to do something technical as job. I didn't get to do much coding in my GCSEs but I knew I was interested in it so I learnt it in my free time. I studied Computer Science at university which was also really helpful for my job.

Internships have been key to my career development. These are placements at an organisation where you learn a bit more about what it's like to work there. The last one I did was at the company I work for now. The internship went well and they offered me a job for when I graduated from university.

Hannah using a VR headset.
Hannah has set up a virtual reality start-up outside of her job.

Was it a smooth ride?

It wasn’t the smoothest of rides, because my university course was very maths-heavy and I'm not naturally great at maths. To tackle that problem, I developed my skills in my spare time. This helped me enjoy the course much more and, without it, I couldn't have the job I have now.

Top tips

  • Don’t be afraid to try something new
  • You will find that when you step out of your comfort zone, you'll probably be a lot better than you think
  • Keep trying. I used to hate public speaking, but now I do it as part of building my start-up company alongside my main job. The more I do it, the easier it gets!

What to expect if you want to be a software developer

  • Software developer salary: £20,000 to £70,000 per year
  • Software developer working hours: 37 to 40 hours per week
  • Typical entry requirements: You could do a foundation degree, higher national diploma, or a degree in a subject like Computer Science, Information Technology, or Maths. You'll usually need 2 to 3 A-levels (or equivalent) for a degree. You could do a software developer higher apprenticeship or degree apprenticeship in software engineering. You could build up your skills and knowledge using free online learning resources for programming languages, project management, and software development methods, for example through Tech Future Careers.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

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