Microsoft Developer: Salary and Career Facts

Research what it takes to become a Microsoft developer. Learn about job responsibilities, education and certification requirements, and salary information to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Computer Programming degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Microsoft Developer?

A Microsoft developer is a computer programmer or software engineer who has earned certification through Microsoft. Computer programmers take the software developed by software engineers and write the instructional code for computer systems. They may also be tasked with adding to programs. After writing this code, they run tests to ensure it works and the software is operational.

Software engineers may be placed in two categories: applications software developers and systems software developers. Applications software developers create software for things like word processing and spreadsheet programs. Systems software developers create the software operating systems depend on. In both cases, developers create the individual software components and assemble them in a functional program. They also test software and take notes of any problems that arise. The following chart gives you an overview about entering this field.

Computer Programers Software Developers
Degree Required Associate's or bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree required, master's degree common
Education Field of StudyComputer science or related field Software engineering, computer science
Certification Required in order to be called a Microsoft developer Required in order to be called a Microsoft developer
Key Responsibilities Create code using C++ and Java and test programs Design and develop new software; suggest features and defining requirements; use coding and programming tools; create websites and applications
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) -8% (for all computer programmers)* 19% (for all applications software developers)*
13% (for all systems software developers)*
Median Salary (2015) $79,530 (for all computer programmers)* $98,260 (for all applications software developers)*
$105,570 (for all systems software developers)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Does a Microsoft Developer Do?

A variety of jobs titles fit the Microsoft developer description including computer programmer, software engineer and web developer. Some jobs may be found with Microsoft or through employers who require Microsoft developer certification.

Program managers provide ideas and technical designs used by software development engineers to develop new software. As a program manager, you direct the development, suggest features, define the requirements and manage the software development. As a software development engineer, you use coding and programming tools to create the software and bring the ideas to life. As a web developer, you create public and private websites and applications.

As a program manager or software development engineer for Microsoft, you need to have earned a degree or be currently enrolled in a bachelor's, master's or doctorate program in computer science, engineering or other similar field and have experience with computer programming. For careers in web developing, you need to be proficient in HTML and XML, programming and web design concepts. You will need to have 2-5 years of experience in the field, along with a computer-related degree.

What Certifications Are Available?

According to job ads found on Monster.com, developer jobs outside of Microsoft may require Microsoft developer certification. These jobs may involve designing websites, software and other programs, using various information technology (IT) tools, knowledge of coding and programming languages, experience troubleshooting problems with software programs and management of IT projects. Employers typically require at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field, in addition to Microsoft certifications proving your skills.

Microsoft certifications that are applicable to developer positions are the Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer. These certifications cover the Microsoft Visual Studio family, as well as the Microsoft .NET Framework, according to Microsoft. Each certification allows you to demonstrate your skills in a specific platform, such as Windows or Web, including Windows Azure.

What Can I Earn in This Career?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in May 2015, computer programmers had a mean annual wage of $84,360. As of May 2015, software developers of applications had earned a mean wage of $98,260 annually, while systems software developers made $105,570.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You might consider computer hardware engineering or computer network architecture, two fields that are closely related to software development. Computer hardware engineers design the physical hardware that goes into computers and networks. This involves researching existing computer technology, coming up with new designs and testing those designs. To start this career, you would need a bachelor's degree in computer engineering, electrical engineering or computer science. Computer network architects put together software and hardware to create computer networks. These include local area networks, wide area networks and intranets. Network architects typically have a bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems or engineering.

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