For a newbie, software development can seem like an extremely daunting task. Getting around the complexity of programming languages, understanding data structures and algorithms, learning about version control, debugging skills, and a plethora of other things can seem like humongous tasks. It can feel demotivating at times to face these many things at once.
But, the good news is that you can ease your software development journey by grasping the basic building blocks of software development.
Before getting acquainted with the building blocks understand what software development is.
Understand what Software Development is:
Simply put, software development at its core is the process of ideating, conceiving, developing, designing, testing, and maintaining software applications. It also includes how you approach these aspects. The role of a software developer is to understand the project requirements and to put into effect their solutions by approaching the problem in the most efficient of ways. The end result is the final product which is the software application.
Now that you have an overview of what software development is, let’s dive into its building blocks.
Software Development Life-Cycle
Software Development Life Cycle is the process of developing software from its ideation to deployment. The following are the main steps involved in SDLC:
- Requirement Gathering
The Right Programming Language
From hundreds of programming languages to choose from, selecting the right one for your project can seem a bit difficult. But doing so is very crucial for the success of your software development. This is because different programming languages serve different purposes. Different factors that affect the selection of programming language are project requirements, scalability, performance, developer availability, expertise, etc.
Data Structures And Algorithms
Two of the most important pillars of the software development life cycle are data structures and algorithms. The ability to store, manipulate and implement different types of data in your code is all determined by the correct usage of data structure. The way your code executes, its speed, efficiency, and the amount of space it takes are all determined by the right kind of algorithm chosen by you.
Version Control and Collaboration
Collaboration is one of the most important aspects while developing software applications. Most of the time, in large-scale projects, one developer is never enough. There are several developers working together to make sure the project gets completed on time. This is the very reason why they need to collaborate with each other effectively. Collaboration does not only mean conversing with each other, it also means making changes to the code simultaneously and pushing it to the final deployment.
One cannot do this by sharing code files on Gmail or any other file-sharing platform. This task requires a version control system. It is a way for multiple developers to write new code, edit it and delete pre-existing code whenever required without affecting the rest of the codebase.
UI and UX
User-Interface and User-Experience are key elements that define the aesthetics and performance of the application. UI-UX drives your customer’s satisfaction. The design of the application should be lightweight, visually appealing, and pleasing to the eye. This ensures that the customers can navigate your application with ease and in an intuitive manner.
Testing and Quality Assurance
Developers are humans and humans tend to make mistakes. One cannot run a code with mistakes in the final deployment of the software application. Sometimes, the code seems perfectly fine, but one only realizes the mistakes after they run the application. Now, that is a sure-shot way to a disaster! This is why the application should pass through its testing phase. Testing and quality assurance make sure that the application works as intended according to the project requirements.
Security Considerations in Software Development
Cyberspace is always prone to various cyber-attacks. The application can crash due to viruses, threats, and malware which can lead to user dissatisfaction. Apart from that, it can also lead to the leakage of customers’ and developers’ critical and sensitive data. No one wants that. This is the reason why developers need to incorporate proper security measures like encryption, authentication, and authorization of sensitive data to ensure the safety of users.
Agile Development Methodology
Software development comes with a lot of changes from the client side within a short amount of time. This can often lead developers into a frenzy. This is why there are various development methodologies or simply put approaches to development life-cycle. Agile methodology is one of the most widely used out there. It is an iterative and incremental approach to software development that emphasizes collaboration and flexibility. It allows development teams to make changes to the project in shorter periods of time.
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)
When it comes to huge projects, working on each and every small detail manually can be cumbersome and ineffective. This is why developers use automation to carry out repetitive tasks in the SDLC. Continuous Integration and Delivery automates build, testing, and deployment processes with rapid and reliable delivery of software updates. This way, developers can update the existing application with ease.
Performance Optimization Techniques
As time passes by, your software can become laggy and ineffective, which is why it is important to optimize it through various techniques. Techniques like caching, code optimization, database indexing, image compression, etc. can significantly improve the performance of your application.
Cloud Computing and Deployment
Software applications can take up a lot of space and require a lot of maintenance from time to time. Storing and maintaining data for the software application physically can be extremely difficult. This is why there are cloud services. The cloud is a third-party provider that lets you delegate your storage and computing requirements. This reduces the burden of high costs and maintenance by eliminating the need to store all related applications physically in the company’s facility.
The Importance of Documentation
Software development is a humungous task. There are several kinds of details that might go unnoticed if not documented properly. It is crucial to maintain and update the documentation of the project throughout and even after the development lifecycle. This practice helps existing as well as new developers to continue working on the project effectively.
Software Maintenance and Updates
Last but not least, software maintenance and updates for your application are as crucial as developing it. After the successful deployment of the developed application, it is paramount that you release regular updates and fix the bugs on a regular basis in order to maintain the software effectively. This will make sure your application remains secure, compatible, and functional over time.
The only thing that we can conclude here is that even if software development seems quite complex, following proper steps and understanding the basics of it will take you one step closer to being a successful software developer. The rest of the journey is all about the experience in this field over the years.