Software design is the process of creating a plan to guide the development of a software solution based on an assessment of user requirements determined through research and testing. It is a very important phase of the software development lifecycle, as software design provides the foundation for subsequent coding and implementation by programmers and software engineers.
The software design process may encompass many aspects including planning for software architecture, design of user interfaces and other visual elements, and the selection of software design patterns and other components. Application security is another critical consideration for software design, and implementing secure practices as early as possible in the software development lifecycle can help ensure that the final product provides adequate protections for business and customer data.
An understanding of software design principles can be a terrific asset for a career in software development, as it provides an overarching view of the entire software development lifecycle. In some ways, you can think of the software designer as the architect whose vision directs the work of a team of engineers and construction workers. According to Glassdoor, software designers in the U.S. earn an average annual salary of $92,046 - significantly more than software programmers, whose average salary according to Glassdoor is $76,526.
Certainly. Taking online courses on Coursera has become an incredibly popular way for students from around the world to learn about a wide range of computer science topics, including software design. Top-ranked schools like the University of Alberta, the University of Colorado, and the University of Minnesota offer individual courses as well as Specializations spanning multiple courses covering software design and related topics such as application security and software design patterns. And, since you can view lessons and complete coursework on a flexible schedule, you can build these valuable, job-ready skills regardless of whether you’re a student or a mid-career professional looking to upgrade your skill set.
The skills and experience you might want to acquire before starting to learn software design would include practical knowledge and work experience in all kinds of software development work, from websites to apps to network maintenance and more. You may already have skills or experience in designing, developing, and installing software for enterprise information systems via an internship or job role.
Some of the common career paths for someone in software design might include starting out in junior roles in web design and development, and possibly moving into creative director roles for gaming systems (if on the creative side), or software analysis manager, if more geared to the operational side of the business. Software design workers could also possibly branch off into deeply analytical roles like computer science engineer, or information research scientist, depending on the company and industry.
The kind of people best suited for roles in software design are computer science enthusiasts, who love programming and are excited about creating new software possibilities. These people are often creative, focused, and cerebral individuals who know programming languages such as Java, SQL, and Python. These languages are important to know as a software designer’s work may include developing software projects and programs for external clients or internal company usage. They might also write code, create charts and diagrams to represent the software, and may even supervise a team of programmers.
Learning software design may be right for you if you love design challenges, love working with new software tools, and are interested in building a lucrative career in software design. You may be able to earn a good income in software design, as jobs for software developers are expected to rise by over 20% in the next decade, according to projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you find passion in work that involves designing computer systems, projecting network capabilities, and determining performance interfaces, then learning software design may be a good step in the right direction.
This FAQ content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.