As a software developer, you will design, maintain and test products and systems to meet the needs of your customers. From writing diagnostic programs to testing code, the role puts you in an ever-changing environment, full of challenges and opportunities. To get started in the industry, Abhishek Agrawal, head of Access Care Planning, an Access Health and Social Care product, offers his advice for graduates.

With a relevant degree under your belt, there is no shortage of interesting and generally well-paid opportunities ¬– demand for developers is high – but how do you find the right position for you? Whether you are interested in AI, app design, product testing or data-science, take the time to research the roles available to find one that matches your skills and aspirations. When you know what interests you most, kick start your career by applying for work experience or graduate schemes to begin bulking out your skills, knowledge and feel of the workplace.

Downloading the knowledge

Many people working in software development will have studied computer science or software engineering, but the profession also attracts those from other academic backgrounds, including maths graduates. These degrees all demonstrate the skills employers search for, like data interpretation, research and problem-solving.Don't worry if you have studied a subject that doesn't seem relevant. You'd be surprised what transferrable skills you learn on other courses, which you can build on with an online or part time courses.

Personality sync

A strong developer can look further than just their screens, understanding the entire journey of the product and continually refining the code to make the software more efficient and user-friendly. You will need to be highly curious and a problem-solver, always asking questions and challenging colleagues about how to successfully drive the product and business forward.

The day-to-day

Your days will consist of a series of smaller tasks that help shape what the final product looks like. These will then be refined, tested and maintained to ensure the product is as user-friendly as possible. There will also be unplanned actions – such as responding to customer support tickets, or ironing out bugs – so developers need to be flexible and able to prioritise tasks.

Generally, your role will be office based, working in collaboration with other developers and engineers to analyse a problem and work on new features and products. You may also use applications, like Slack, to keep in touch with the wider technical team so you can fix any issues and keep them up to date on the progress of projects.

Debunking software mythsWhen you begin working in software, you'll soon find out that the common stereotype of developers being geeks, closed off away from the main office is not true. We need to be engaged with the technical teams, as well as sales, to do our job effectively, developing products that help the customers, and resolving any issues quickly.

General advice

In an industry that is constantly changing, it is important to learn how to adapt – change is an opportunity to move into new areas be at the forefront of emerging tech. Never stop learning about new developments in technology, attend meet-ups or hackathons networking meetings and subscribe to blogs.

For more information on Access Care Planning, click here.