Software Development Manager: Role, Responsibility & Salary

Review the responsibilities, tasks, and earning potential for software development managers. Read on for details about the responsibilities, salary expectations, and education requirements to enter a career in this field. Schools offering Software Development & Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Software Development Manager at a Glance

Software development managers lead teams of computer programmers in the creation of software applications. They are generally responsible for dividing project objectives into tasks, assigning them to programmers based on individual skills, and tracking the project budget, timeline, and quality of outputs. The table below is a brief overview of the details for software development managers.

Degree Requirements Bachelor's degree
Field of Study Computer science, information technology or related
Certifications Not required, but Certified Scrum Manager (CSM) may be helpful
Skills Computer programming, critical thinking, staff management
Median Annual Income (2019) $121,907*
Career Outlook (2016-2026) 12% (for all computer and information systems managers)**

Sources: *PayScale.com; **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are the Responsibilities of Software Development Managers?

Software development managers are tasked with the administrative functions of software programmer recruiting and management. Regular administrative duties such as handling deliverables, approving leaves, and even terminating employees are an important part of the job. Beyond designing a plan for the project and separating it into phases, tasks and deadlines, software development managers are also responsible for building in systems for quality testing and revising the project outcomes in a regular fashion.

What Skills Should I Develop?

As team leaders, software development managers must have critical thinking and interpersonal skills (especially speaking). The job involves a constant coordination of tasks, objectives, and timelines, which is why clear communication is paramount. The ability to monitor performance is also important, as the success of projects will depend on a manager's ability to course correct when results are not satisfactory (ensuring both budget and timeline goals are successfully achieved).

What Kind of Education Is Expected?

Software development managers must have a solid grasp of computer engineering concepts as the stewards of computer programming teams. A bachelor's degree that can provide this background of knowledge is generally required. Some related areas of study include computer science and information technology. A graduate degree, such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration), may be preferred by some employers.

Should I Get Certified?

Certifications are not a requirement for software development managers. As in many other fields, certifications may be helpful in signifying you have the skills and experience required for a position. A common certification mentioned in several job postings is Certified Scrum Master, which is available through the Scrum Alliance. As of 2019, the certification is composed of a 16-hour training and a 60-minute test.

What Are the Salary and Job Growth Outlook for this Career?

Software development managers are included under the category for computer and information systems managers at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS projects a 12% growth in job opportunities for all roles in this category between 2016 and 2026. PayScale.com tracks software development managers independently. In 2019, the estimated median annual salary for the profession was $121,907.

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