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Software Designer



Software designers write, test, and maintain programs that direct a computer's functions.

The sequencing of the human genome has generated a tremendous volume of information that has been stored in bits and bytes in many computers around the world. In order to make sense to all this information, software designers working with genetics and genomics have developed databases and programs that allow scientists to find, retrieve, analyze, and compare increasingly complex genetic data.

Thanks to the work done by many software designers, scientists are able to compare genetic sequences among species, spot mutations caused by disease, visualize molecules in 3D format, and predict protein functions based on amino acid composition, among many other groundbreaking applications. The methods being developed are limited only by a software designer's imagination.

Career Outlook

Rapid growth in the computer systems design and related services industry, which employs the greatest number of computer software designers, should result in very good opportunities for those college graduates with at least a Bachelor's degree.

Working Conditions & Context

Software designers traditionally work in office settings. Less frequently, they are part of a research team working in laboratories. More recently, many people working with computers have been able to telecommute and do most of the work from home.

Many programmers may work long hours or weekends to meet deadlines or fix critical problems that occur during off hours. Most spend considerable time in their off-hours learning more about their field and staying up to date and competitive. Continuing education is essential for software designers.

Due to the project-orientated nature of the work, they also may have work evenings or weekends to meet deadlines or solve unexpected technical problems. As workers who sit for hours at a computer, typing on a keyboard, software designers are susceptible to eyestrain, back discomfort, and hand and wrist problems.

Salary Information

A typical Salary Range for this career is $57,810 - $135,780 annually.

The Median Income for this career is about $92,430 annually.

Education Information


A Bachelor's degree in a relevant field is the least a software designer will need to be competitive in the workplace. Continuing education is a key fixture in the software design field, and most designers will opt to pursue higher degrees to further their talents and their success.

A large part of a software designer's success will depend on how well they keep up with the latest breakthroughs in computer and software engineering and science. These fields literally reinvent themselves constantly, and being ahead of the curve is essential for the most successful designers.

Certification & Licensing:


Other Resources

Related Careers

Bioinformatician, Biostatistician

More Information

The Association for Computing Machinery

The Software Engineering Body of Knowledge

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Related Videos

If you like this career, checkout these videos:

  1. Dr. Deanna Church

  2. NCBI: BLAST Software Overview

  3. Tour of NLM's Bioinformatics Department
* Information regarding income is cited from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
** More than a minimum degree may be required for some careers.