What Does a Developer (Software, Web, or Application) Do?

As digital technology continues its steady march toward replacing the analog transmission of sound, developers have become key players in the music world, making it possible to create, distribute, integrate, and consume music where people increasingly live their lives—on devices and computers. Developers produce software and applications for just about any music-related activity: notation, composition, performance, recording, production, editing, instruction, academic research, broadcasting, publications, guitar tuning, and, of course, listening. These days, no music product hits the market without a web presence to back it up; in fact, many record labels and entertainment companies have in-house developers who create product-specific websites and apps to drum up interest, create an online community, and drive sales.

In the fast-moving world of tech, it is vital for developers to be passionate about being on the forefront and dedicated to keeping up-to-date on the latest advances, which materialize daily.

Developers fall into two main categories: front end and back end. Front-end developers produce the outer-facing part of a website or an app—the part that users experience—working to maximize readability and usability, and ensuring that information and images will work across all platforms, browsers, and devices. Back-end developers are responsible for building the inner workings of a web application—the parts that enable the front-end experience—optimizing for speed and efficiency, and often creating data storage. Developers generally work in teams to brainstorm fresh ideas that will fill a need or satisfy a desire for the general public or a specific client, create elaborate flow charts to flesh out and account for every aspect of the concept, collaborate with designers and data specialists to produce the new app or software, and oversee a rigorous test process to fix bugs before release. After launch, developers generally maintain, update, and enhance the products they create. 

Developer (Software, Web, or Application) at a Glance

Finding Work and Advancing

Tech is a rapidly expanding field and demand is high—and growing—for software and app developers. (Interestingly, studies have shown that musicians make great software developers.) Finding work involves following a more traditional protocol than most music-related jobs. Many startups sponsor hackathons and meetups, at which job seekers can meet employees and make personal connections. 

Employers

App development companies, software development companies, record labels, entertainment companies, and media companies

Professional Skills

Coding, computer languages, debugging, analytic thinking, communication skills, problem solving, creativity, attention to detail

Interpersonal Skills

Because they almost always work in groups, developers must be team players. The best are cool-headed and open-minded, with a high tolerance for frustration, and ready to deal with problems or obstacles that inevitably arise. In the fast-moving world of tech, it is vital for developers to be passionate about being on the forefront and dedicated to keeping up-to-date on the latest advances, which materialize daily. A healthy spirit of competition— in additional to a great sense of curiosity—is vital in the push to innovate, as well as land a plum job in this go-go industry. 

Work Life

Many developers enjoy flexibility in their schedules, with the option to work remotely from home or juggle office hours as it suits them. Despite this apparent freedom, a developer's deadlines can be crushing and the work is often consuming.