Software development refers to the process or series of steps used in building a computer program. It is primarily conducted by programmers, business analysts, system analysts, and software engineers. These roles interact, overlap and, manages by the Software Development Manager. Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is one of the core responsibility of a software development manager where it includes the recurring cycle of identifying the requirements from the market research, planning based on the requirements analysis, designing software design document, programming the code for the project, documenting the design of software, testing the software, and bug fixing in building, supporting, and maintaining the software components. This highlights the importance of having a qualified and good software development manager to ensure that the operation of the program building can run smoothly as planned. Let’s have a closer look at what the role of software development manager entails.
What is a Software Development Manager?
Software Development Managers are the one who responsible in planning, directing, coordinating, and managing the processes of writing and developing the software programs. The role of software development managers is manifold as it comprises software development processes as well as business and managing aspects. Their roles are very crucial as they are the one who leads the teams of software developers which comprises of programmers, business analysts, system analysts, and software engineers working in industries in building a computer program that abides by the requirements of the market research.
In becoming a good software development manager, one must be well equipped with the knowledge on Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) since the project manager is the one that the software developers will reach and refer to when it comes to the issues on software development. The processes of building a computer program revolve around SDLC from the requirements’ identification to the maintenance of the software according to the customers’ requirements thus highlighting the needs for the project manager to be proficient in all aspects of SDLC. This emphasizes the importance of the software development manager to be familiar with all of the policies, procedures, and technical issues related to software programming.
Aside from that, software development managers should also possess good management skills as they hold the responsibility to manage the activities and works of the software development team for a designated project. The responsibilities of software development managers are not only within the software development team, as it also includes the collaboration with various department heads and management team in discussing how the software developed can be improved and enhanced to achieve the project objectives. The job is vital because the efficiency of the software development manager may highly contribute to the performance of the software development team as a whole.
The working hours and conditions of most software development managers are normally flexible. However, this job sometimes requires them to collaborate with different clients worldwide. Thus, there might be occasions where the software development managers have to work in different working hours due to the different time zones. Aside from the occasional travel, software development managers usually work in their own office during the usual working hours.
Software Development Manager Job Description
Software Development Managers hold several responsibilities in the company, especially in the software development team. The field of software development management is closely linked to computer applications, software engineering, as well as business management. Software development managers functioned as the head of the team and the job scopes require knowledge in both management and software development as they work closely with the SDLC on daily basis.
The following are some of the common responsibilities of a software development manager:
- Manages all the activities of the software development group
- Sets attainable goals to team members to complete the project on time
- Provides guidance to team members to encourage work productivity
- Make sure the timeline is followed by the software development group
- Manages multiple projects at once
- Ensures appropriate procedures and processes are followed when it comes to software development
- Resolving performance issues and making revisions when necessary
- Represents the software department in meetings
- Participate in design control activities
- Monitors, evaluates, and ensures the completion of tasks and projects
- Analyses software requirements
- Implements design plans, reviews unit tests
- Test and debug applications
- Documents software development
- Monitors status of developing software
- Writes, reviews and revises product requirements and specifications
- Participates in other areas of the software development process
- Train technical and non-technical end-users once the software has been developed
- Provides technical support to other company personnel
While these are some of the most common jobs for software development managers in general, some other tasks that are not listed here may be listed in the job description posted by companies depending on the requirements.
Software Development Manager Skills
Software development managers’ job scopes require them to possess strong technical and analytical skills. However, their jobs are not only restricted to software and computers because they are also required to collaborate with various levels of management as well as the customers they serve. Hence, this highlights that it is vital for the software development manager to be equipped with other complementary skills aside from the fundamental technical skills required by the job. This is important to ensure that they are at their best to give full cooperation for the job, thus ensuring the quality of the performance.
The following are some of the examples of skills needed to become an efficient software development manager as well as the reasons why it is necessary to possess such skills:
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- Programming languages
- Troubleshooting skills
- Complex programming applications
- Excellent interpersonal skills
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Analytical skills
- Detail oriented
- Organizational skills
- Work experience
- Project management skill
Programming languages, complex programming applications, and troubleshooting skills are the most important technical skills that are needed by software development managers. Programming knowledge is very crucial because it has its’ own languages and complex applications thus emphasizing the need for the software development managers to be competent to write and execute complex code. They must also possess good troubleshooting skills as it is highly needed to resolve performance issues and delivering effective solutions. These technical skills are the most important skills required to be a great software development manager.
Asides from the technical skills, complementary skills such as interpersonal skills, communication skills, and organizational skills are equally vital since the software development manager has to work in a team of software developer which requires a lot of communication and discussion in coming up with insightful ideas for the project and gives consultation to the customers. Professionalism is also deemed as highly important and should be inculcated in the communication to create a positive working environment, be it with the employees or with the customers. In providing the best service, they need to attend to the customers professionally in catering to the issues experienced by them when using the software.
In addition, efficient software development managers should have strong leadership within them as they are the ones who are responsible to lead the project team. A good team leader should also possess good analytical skills to analyse the performances of the team members and coming up with the appropriate measures if they encounter any troubles during the development phase of the software. It is also important for the manager to be detail-oriented in leading the team to avoid mistakes that may interrupt the smoothness of the software development process. Hence, it is important for a software development manager to be well equipped with all of the skills mentioned in giving their best performance for the company.
Software Development Manager Salary
The following are the salaries for the software development manager based on the locations in US and from the experiences.
- Average base salary in US
Based on the data retrieved from PayScale, the average salary of a software development manager is $125,090 per year. The base salary may range from $87k to $161k while the bonus a software development manager may earn is from $3k to $26k. The total pay, on the other hand, is the combination of the base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, commissions, and any other case earnings range from $90k to $178k.
- Pay by Experience level
Software Development Manager with less than a year experience normally earns an average gross salary of $97,915 which includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay based on 23 salaries. An early career Software Development Manager with 1-4 years working experience may earn an average total salary of $101,332 based on 275 salaries. Software Development Manager with 5-9 years of working experience normally earns an average total salary of $115,589 based on 484 salaries. Meanwhile, an experienced Software Development Manager with 10-19 years of working experience usually earns an average total salary of $127,894 based on 1,187 salaries. As for the software development manager who has 20 years and higher working experience, the average total salary one normally earn is $134,075.
Data retrieved from Payscale (www.payscale.com)
Certifications for Software Development Manager
To become a high-performing software development manager, you need to be literate with technical skills as well as analytical skills and knowledge especially in the knowledge of management, programming, computer applications, software languages, troubleshooting, and current methodologies. There are several organizations offering certifications relevant to the title of software development manager. Some certificates mentioned below are ones sought by employers.
Listed below are some examples of certifications you may want to review:
- AMA Certified Professional in Management
- Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)
- Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)
- Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
- Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
- COBIT 5 Foundation
- Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Six Sigma
System and Tools for Software Development Manager
In the process of software development, there are various project management tools used by the software development team when working with the projects. Some of the common best-performance software development management tools are GanttPro, Jira Software, LiquidPlanner, Basecamp, Smartsheet, and Wrike.
The use of the listed management tools and software can assist in organizing the project. It helps the software development manager to track the progress of the project and monitor the tasks given to the software developers. These tools allow collaboration to take place within the software development team and customers to make the whole process smoother. Project management tools are highly essential in assisting the process of software development.
Software Development Manager Education and Career Requirements
In meeting the requirement to apply for this job, software development managers are generally expected to have an educational background with at least a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Technology, or other related technical fields. There are also companies that require a Master of Science degree or Master of Business Administration for this position.
To gain the position as a software development manager, many companies will also look at the experience of working in the field as well as the loyalty to the company. Many software development managers are usually promoted from being software developers in the same company. With this kind of loyalty, the company is assured of the software development managers’ capabilities as they are familiar with the processes and working styles of the company’s software development unit.