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Software Developer CV Example & Writing Guide

This is a great time to be in the job hunt if you are a software developer. With the guidance below, you will learn how to get that coveted interview by putting together a professional and eye-catching CV.
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Software Developer CV Example & Writing Guide
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When it’s time to enter the software development job market, topmost is the best method for highlighting the talents and accomplishments that recruiters find most enticing. The best software developer CVs combine a strong message and excellent work examples to target individual employers.

You may be a coding expert, but coding your CV to make the best impression is a different skill altogether. That’s why it’s to your advantage to use the powerful job-hunt resources of Resume.io. Writing guides, CV examples, and easy-to-use online builder tools will help you create an application package that gets you that all-important interview. 

Start out by perusing this resume guide and the corresponding resume example to learn more about the following topics:

  • What does a software developer do?
  • How to write a software developer resume (tips and tricks)
  • The best format for a software developer resume
  • Advice on each section of your resume (summary, work history, education, skills)
  • Professional resume layout and design hints.

What does a software developer do?

Software developers may be charged with creating any or all components that comprise the building of software systems. These systems may be for use within the company or sold to other businesses. Once a programme is built, they may be responsible for maintenance and upgrades.

The basis of a software developer's job is the writing of code. They may identify issues that can be solved with software, design the programme, install, and test it to ensure it functions properly. Technological advances mean that developers must constantly evolve the product and learn new languages and skills.

Expert tip

A software developer by any other name

When you look for a job, you may find advertisements that call your position “software developer;” however, you may expand your search, by including the following alternative titles:

  • Systems developer
  • Systems engineer
  • Software engineer
  • Database developer
  • Database engineer
  • Web programmer

Some jobs may also specify the language in which you will program, such as Java developer.

The software developer job market and outlook

There may be some cause for concern within the UK economy as a whole, but software developers remain in high demand and that demand has fueled an increase in salaries, according to hackajob’s 2023 hiring trends report. In fact, starting salaries for software developers is an average of 64% higher than the UK average.

The report also found salary offers running from £25,000 for very early careers to £137,000 for seasoned professionals. 

Software developers are in such demand that they may have their pick of several positions – the top reason that prospective employees turned down a job in the field was that they had already said yes to another company.

You may be in the driver’s seat, but a top-notch CV can get you the job that you truly want. 

How to write a software developer CV

Before you write a programme, you must decide what will go into it. Your software developer CV needs that same first step. Although the outline will be the same, your completed CV will be unique to you since the differentiation comes with the details. Your application should contain the following elements:

  • The CV header
  • The CV summary (aka profile or personal statement)
  • The employment history section
  • The resume skills section
  • The education section

Choosing the best CV format for a software engineer 

Form follows function is your software developer CV motto. It is your goal to attract recruiters, so present the information in a structure they understand best: reverse chronological order. This allows for quick retrieval of key details such as your most recent position, your skills, and your contact information.

The reverse chronological CV format mostly affects your employment history section, where you will begin with your most recent post and work your way backward.

Contractors, first-time job hunters, or those with a multitude of experiences or years on the job should consider a hybrid format that elevates highlighting skills. If you are a software engineer with deep technological expertise, a functional CV may benefit you. Unless you fall into one of those categories, you are best off sticking with reverse chronological order.

CV header

You may or may not be a UX expert, but you do know that design elements play a role in how software is perceived. The same is true of your software developer CV. The header serves the purpose of adding eye-catching design and presenting your contact information.

The header should include your name, best contact phone and email, and the city of your residence. You may also add your current title. Your street address is not necessary. Make sure your email is professional sounding, although avoid using your current work address since you should not be conducting personal business from work and you may not want your employer to know you are looking elsewhere.

CV summary example

Just as your header is your opportunity to add a design element, the summary of your software developer CV is your opportunity to present your professional style. This may not be the first section recruiters read, but if they are intrigued, they will want to know more about you.

The summary, also known as the profile, gives you a chance to elaborate on your greatest software achievement. Within these 100 or so words, you can also explain your approach to design and engineering, but perhaps the most important element is a sentence that speaks directly to the prospective employer by detailing why this particular job is the one for you.

Adaptable summary resume sample

Innovative Software Developer with strong insights into user needs and a proven talent for creating engaging new applications across a wide range of needs. Demonstrated capacity for developing scalable, efficient software products from initial conception through testing and deployment.

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Expert tip

Summary outline

If this task seems a bit daunting, try using this sentence outline:

Topic Example
Describe your career Expert C++ software developer with 7 years’ experience designing and upgrading legal programmes.
Relate your greatest achievement Designed and implemented major upgrades to improve user interface and add functionality on time and within budget.
Describe engineering philosophy I believe the best programmes are based on the needs of the company’s employees and are learned through careful listening and interactions.
Tell what you will bring to the company Peterson, Baker and Jones is a law firm of distinction and deserves a software developer who strives to improve processes and programmes every day.

Looking for more guidance? Read these other CV examples: project manager CV sample, computer science CV example, data analyst CV sample, legal CV example, or consulting CV sample.

Employment history sample

Unless you are new to the workforce, the employment history section of your software developer CV will consume the bulk of space in your document. It is here that you detail the story of your career growth and successes using strong, positive language.

Notice that we did not say responsibilities, because this section is more than a recitation of everything you have done on the job. Instead, carefully choose the tasks you have completed that illustrate your high-level skills and the quality of your work.

Add to your allure by quantifying your achievements. You didn’t just write a software programme, you reduced the time it takes to complete expense reports by 20%.

Adaptable employment history resume example

Software Developer at HeartApp, Inc., Leeds, UK 
May 2018 - Present

  • Designed scalable products from initiation to deployment. Conducted software testing, ensuring compliance with industry best-practice and application requirements.
  • Oversaw code quality, creating quality standards documentation to support consistency across all development operations.
  • Built applications and software using C# and SSIS technologies.

 

Application Developer at Kickoff Ltd., Leeds, UK 
November 2016 - April 2018

  • Consulted with team and client to define project scope, shaping detailed requirements documentation to support project execution.
  • Created custom, full-stack web application, implementing PHP, Laravel, and MySQL technologies to deliver exceptional performance.
  • Governed the full software development life cycle (SDLC), overseeing operations for timely code releases and system updates.
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CV skills example

This list of skills may be the first section of your software developer CV which a recruiter scans. That means you must carefully consider both the attributes each different employer lists in the job advert and the skills that differentiate you from the pack. 

Here are the top five skills software developers need, according to BrainHub:

  1. Ability to learn
  2. Programming (of course), but here are the recommended programs:
    1. Fastest growing: Kotlin, HCL, TypeScript, PowerShell, Rust, CMake, Go, Python, Groovy, SQLPL.
    2. Most popular: JavaScript, Java, Python, PHP, C++, C#
  3. Documentation
  4. DevOps
  5. Communication, listening, and collaboration

This includes both hard skills, or those that you learned through training, and soft skills, such as communication and thinking skills. Your skills section should also include both types. 

Adaptable skills section resume example
  • Software Development
  • Programming
  • Coding
  • Test Automation
  • User Testing
  • Requirements Definition
  • Technology Support
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Make it personal

Your skills section is the simplest spot in which to adjust your CV to meet employer needs, but within each section you should target your message specifically at the individual position and company. This serves the purpose of alerting the recruiter that you understand the job and truly want it, but it also may help you clear the Applicant Tracking System algorithms that rank your CV against those of other applicants.

Software developer CV education example

Software developers may be self-taught, but many employers require at least a university degree. Some engineers may have higher qualifications as well. No matter what level of academic achievement you have, the education section of your software developer CV is the place to list it.

Within this section, you should enumerate all the training courses and certifications you have earned as well. If your list of certificates is long and you have space, you may consider creating a separate section. 

For recent graduates, you may move this section up and include academic courses directly related to the positions for which you are applying.

Adaptable education resume example

Bachelor of Science, UTC Leeds, Leeds, UK 
January 2012 - May 2016

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CV layout and design

When a user opens a software programme, the first impression they make is of the way it looks. Keep that in mind as you create the look of your software developer resume. While you want recruiters to remember your attractive document when it’s time to schedule interviews, your main goal is legibility.

With that as a baseline, here are some pointers for creating a great first image that also makes reading your CV easy on the eyes:

  • Choose easy-to-read fonts and use boldface for your section headings
  • Maintain margins of at least .75 inches all around
  • Limit yourself to one or two subtle colours
  • Use a font size no smaller than 10.5
  • Try an expertly-designed CV templates instead of starting from scratch

Key takeaways for a software developer CV

  1. Despite a sluggish economy, the market for software developers is booming.
  2. Your summary should describe your career, but also tell your prospective employer what you will bring to the company.
  3. Curate your skills section carefully and adapt your CV for each different application.
  4. Create a professional look that is easy to read with a clean, eye-catching design.
  5. The job-hunting resources at Resume.io will get you on the market faster.
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