How do you get a graduate job in software development?
Jobs, such as a software developer, that involve computing at an advanced level require very specific knowledge that is virtually only attainable by gaining a degree in computer science. It is this knowledge that employers seek, not a general understanding but a precise comprehension that employer's can exploit and utilise.
Knowledge is one thing, for example, the knowledge of various programming languages, but employers of software developers also look for the mathematical and analytical mind that a computer science graduate would have.
What can I expect to be doing as a software developer?
With such a specific skill set it is common for software developers to mostly work in fields that you would intuitively expect them to. IT, web design and computing departments of companies are all filled with software developers. However, they are also required in more unusual fields such as the programming of mechanised robots on factory lines and even computer controlled pyrotechnics at events, concerts and on film and television production.
However, rather than simply hopping into a general computing orientated role many graduates actively try and pursue a certain niche of the discipline to work in professionally. For example graphics rendering is one area that is useful in engineering as it is in video game design whilst web design is utilised by nearly every company that exists in the country. But then do you want to work for a third party web design company or in-house, or maybe you don't mind? These are decisions that graduates who are prospective software developers have to make.
Most software development careers are very team based and involve a lot of unity as a workforce, more so than other departments. This means that at the beginning of your career you will be delegated various computing tasks for completion and it is simply a matter of completing them one-by-one. As you demonstrate your competence and reliability you can work your way up the team's hierarchy via promotions. Ultimately you would potentially be overseeing the entire department so it would be advisable to hone and demonstrate from an early point some kind of team leadership skills.
It is true that the degrees that lead to the career of a software developer, for example computer science, is a popular degree however it is also one of the few that has a lot of demand. Whilst it can't be said that this demand is equal to the supply (what is these days?) it is close because as previously mentioned, computing is such an integral part of modern business that every company requires robust IT related departments.
What you may find more of a difficulty is finding a place within the computing world that you are completely happy with. There are areas of the industry that are more attractive than others. It will come as no surprise that everyone wants to be part of the team making the next hot first person shooter and so these positions at video game production houses are subject to fierce competition.
Starting salaries can vary quite significantly different from company to company for computing roles and it also depends on what kind of role it is (i.e. what department). However, an average starting salary for a computer science is usually just above the national average for an initial graduate job at approximately £22,000-£24,000 p/a.