Computer and mobile applications are essential tools to almost every person living in modern society. From banking to communicating with relatives on the other side of the world these tasks would be difficult (some frankly impossible) without modern software. A lot of this convenience is taken for granted as it is so easily accessible and easy to use. In fact, reports have found that the average person uses 10 apps per day and up to 30 apps per month: and this is only considering mobile devices.
But where do these apps come from? How are they made and how many people are required to create them? The answer to all these questions can be found within the domain of software development: The process in which a person or team creates a piece of software which they design to perform a specific task. In this blog, we’ll outline the fundamentals and inner workings of the software development field.
What is software development?
The person or people who create this kind of software are known as software developers. A software developer identifies, designs, codes, and tests a software system which they have built for a company from start to finish. Once they have created the program, they will also be required in the maintenance aspect of keeping the software up to date and relevant.
Software is written in a variety of different coding languages depending on the device on which the software is needed as well as how technical or design-focused the requirements are. Most software developers would know how to write code in a few different coding languages, however, they would also have a main language in which they were most proficient. It would therefore be in a software company’s best interest to hire a variety of software developers with differing skill sets to be able to take on a larger amount of client requests and generate more income. This would also mean that developers who are very proficient in multiple programming languages are highly sought after by companies.
The amount of software developers required for the task would depend on a few factors such as the complexity of the task required, the time in which the project needs to be completed and the raw amount of code that needs to be written. In theory, a single highly skilled programmer could create a large application themselves however this would be the equivalent of getting a single builder to construct a skyscraper – it would take a massive amount of time and would lead to burnout of the employee. It would be far more effective and efficient to have a highly skilled software developer oversee a team of other software developers, delegate tasks to them and step in when they reach a challenge that they can not overcome by themselves.
What are the steps of the software development process?
The steps of the software development process are clearly defined within the stages of the SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle. There are six steps in the basic version of the SDLC and these are: Planning, Define Requirements, Coding, Testing, Deployment and finally Maintenance. Let’s look at each step in more detail.
In this step, project managers would calculate the potential expenses and time required for a project. This phase would also involve communication with clients regarding expenses as well. This step should lead to a clear overview of the project from what is required to what resources will be needed throughout.
2. Define Requirements
This step is crucial in stating specially, and without room for misinterpretation, what the software is supposed to do and achieve. This gives the developers a concrete structure under which they can begin their work.
This is the stage in which the software developers begin their work. The tasks would be distributed by the project managers amongst the developers who would then each have to complete their modules successfully.
The testing stage is essential for any project; it is important to ensure that the code written not only produces the required outcome for the project but also does so consistently and without failure. Any error found needs to be amended and recorded by the software developers until the software runs flawlessly. It is inevitable that there will be some errors in the code so this stage is always necessary.
The deployment stage is where the final product is presented and handed over to the client. This step may include training the clients’ employees on how to use the software. This is also a good time to ensure that the software works across a larger scale, there may be some final fixes and amends that need to be made in this step.
When the software is live it will also need to be updated and improved over time. New issues may arise which weren’t clear before and dependent software may itself be changed and cause a conflict. It is important that the software is monitored by developers and that changes are made to correct any issues, even after release.
The need for software development is only increasing as technology improves. More and more daily tasks are being enhanced by software applications and there seems to be an app for almost everything these days. We’ve explored fundamentals and inner workings of software development but if you’d like to get a deeper understanding in to the web development lifecycle, be sure to check out this blog.
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