Software development: expectation vs. reality

Written on: 15 January 2019

Written by: Freya King



In pop culture, there is a well-defined yet wildly inaccurate stereotype that comes along with the role of a software developer; think Mr Robot or Silicon Valley. While the realities of the job differ from developer to developer, we can safely say that the movie tropes are, on the whole, inaccurate.

So, what can you really expect from a career in software development?


You will be sitting alone in a dark room, hunched over a computer, writing line after line of code.


Much like any job in the tech industry, you will more likely be working in a communal, modern and friendly environment. Depending on the employer you work for, the atmosphere can vary from large, bustling, open plan offices to smaller, more relaxed companies.

In the real world, you will find that software development is a much more of a collaborative effort than you might imagine, especially when compared to what is portrayed in cinema or on TV. Written and verbal communication is hugely important, and you can expect to work closely alongside a team of others in order to meet a common goal.


You will use technical skills only.


Software development is one of the most creative fields in the tech industry! While you might see fictional programmers relying on cold hard logic to get the job done, in reality, it is skills like creativity, imagination and problem solving that make the difference between a good and a great software developer.


You will spend all of your time writing code.


The role of a typical software developer is a varied one. This means that you won’t be spending 100% of your time purely coding. You’ll also need to take on other duties including designing, debugging and testing code. While you might not think that sounds particularly glamourous, it’s vital to the success of any software project.


All software developers are male.


While it is true that the tech industry has traditionally been male dominated, women have also been involved with advancements in computer software throughout the history of coding.

More women are breaking into tech roles than ever before, so if you’re a female interested in coding, don’t let gender stereotypes prevent you from chasing your dream!

For advice and inspiration from a real life female software developer, watch our video featuring Freya at Aviva here.


Only experienced developers will be successful in the industry.


A common misconception is that new developers need a high level of technical skills and knowledge in order to land a job. Thanks to apprenticeships, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Sure, self-taught coding knowledge is beneficial and will certainly come in handy, but a keen interest and willingness to learn will serve you just as well. Apprenticeship programmes are designed to give you everything you need to succeed, regardless of past experience.

Find out more about our software development apprenticeship programme here.

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