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What Does a Program Developer Do?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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The duties and responsibilities of a program developer are typically related to the development cycle of a software program and can vary depending on what stage of development the developer is involved in. A great deal of development begins with planning, usually through the creation of various statements and design documents to guide developers as they create the code for a program. Developers then typically create the actual code used in software by writing it in one of various languages and using different platforms. As the development cycle continues, a program developer typically tests the software for errors and bugs, documents any issues, and continues this process through software release.

A program developer, also called a software developer or engineer, is typically someone employed at a software company who is responsible for creating and developing software for that company. These developers can also work in other industries, though they still tend to create software or firmware, which is software incorporated into hardware, for such businesses. The work of a program developer typically begins with the creation of various design documents and plans that are to be used throughout software development. Different developers may be involved in this process, often overseen and guided by a team or project manager, or these documents may already be in place before a developer even comes onto a project.

Once the development plan is created, then a program developer typically begins working on creating the actual code for the software. This process can be approached in a number of different ways, often depending on the nature of the development and what work may already have been done on a program. Different programming languages can be used during this phase, often using a variety of software platforms to make different aspects of development as simple as possible. A program developer might be responsible for creating a particular part of a large program, such as the code for a user interface (UI), or may be charged with creating all of the code for a smaller program.

As code is finished and the software begins to take shape, a program developer then often begins testing the code that has been created. This process usually involves numerous attempts to use the software and try to “break” it in any way possible. Developers often look for bugs or errors in the software, try to find ways to use the software in ways that it should not be used, and may run stress tests to see if the program can handle the potential demands that are likely to be placed upon it. Proper documentation by a program developer throughout this process is vital, as it allows the developer and other programmers to see errors that need to be corrected and to better understand changes or fixes that have been made.

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