Software development, a fundamental discipline rooted in computer science, encompasses a broad spectrum of activities involving the creation, deployment, and maintenance of software components.
From mobile applications to intricate web solutions, software development spans a diverse array of project types, some of which are well-established while others are emergent, adapting to the constant evolution of technology such as wearable devices and cloud-based systems.
The software development landscape is in perpetual flux, shaped by the advancement of methodologies, frameworks, programming languages, and tools. As new practices are honed and refined, even the most traditional forms of software development undergo transformation, revealing the dynamic nature of this ever-evolving field.
Types of software development
1. Front-end Development
Front-end development is the part of making software that users see and interact with. It’s what you see on a system, app, or website, like buttons, pictures, and menus.
The main task of front-end development is to create user interfaces (UIs), which are what users use to interact with the software. The UI includes things like where users click, scroll, and enter information. The better the UI, the easier it is for people to use the software.
For example, think about a button that says “Click” or a bar that you can scroll – that’s part of the user interface.
But for mobile apps, the tools can be different, especially for apps designed specifically for one type of device.
Also, other types of software like operating systems and web browsers have their own graphical parts.
In short, front-end development is an important part of nearly all software development, even though the specific details can vary depending on the type of software.
2. Back-end Development
Back-end development is like the behind-the-scenes work for software. You don’t see it, but it’s crucial.
It involves work on servers, databases, and application programming interfaces (APIs), which are parts of a software application that do their work out of sight. They’re what make the software function, but users don’t interact with them directly.
Here’s what some of those things do: servers manage requests, databases keep track of user data and other important information, and APIs help different pieces of software work together.
While users don’t see the back-end work, it’s vital for the overall functioning of the software. Each part of development is important in its own way.
For back-end development, there are many tools and programming languages that can be used. Some of the most commonly used languages right now for back-end development are Ruby, Python, and Java.
3. Full-Stack Development
In simple words, how good a software application is depends on the user who is using the front-end. But the back-end keeps everything running smoothly so the user can do what they need to do.
Back-end and front-end development work as a team to make the best software possible.
Full stack development means combining the work of the front-end and back-end.
Just imagine a person sitting between a client-side interface (what the user sees) on the left and a server-side interface (behind-the-scenes) on the right.
Most of the time, when people make software, they try to include both front-end and back-end development.
Usually, this involves finding developers who specialize in front-end and back-end development. These developers typically know a lot about the specific tools and technologies they need for their part of the job.
There are also full stack developers. These are people who know how to do both front-end and back-end development.
Hiring full stack developers can lead to better software development as a whole. Plus, it could save money since you’re hiring one person instead of two.
4. Desktop Development
Desktop development is all about making programs that work only on computer operating systems, like Windows, Mac, or Linux.
Have you ever used GarageBand or typed something in Microsoft Office Word? Those are examples of desktop applications.
In the past, most software development was focused on making desktop applications. But with the rise of smartphones and mobile apps, fewer desktop applications are being created these days.
Another factor is cloud technology. For example, it’s often easier to use Google Workspace, which is integrated into every Google account, instead of installing a big program like Microsoft Office.
But despite these changes, we still use desktop applications every day. If you’re reading this on a computer, you’re using a desktop application – your web browser!
5. Web Development
Web development is how we make apps that work on the internet. You can use these apps on many different devices through a web browser. It’s not the same as a mobile app, which works on a phone or tablet and can run even if you’re not online.
The term “web development” covers both front-end (what you see) and back-end (behind-the-scenes) work. There are also professionals who can do both types of work, and we call them full-stack web developers.
6. Database Development
A database developer is different from a database administrator. The administrator usually takes care of daily tasks, fixes problems, and sets up the system. On the other hand, the developer builds the database, changes or creates new programs, and makes sure they meet user needs. Sometimes, a person might do both jobs, depending on what their boss or customer needs.
7. Mobile Development
Mobile development, also known as mobile app development, is the type of software development you probably see a lot. It’s what’s behind popular smartphone games like Candy Crush Saga, Angry Birds, and Subway Surfers.
If you’ve used social media on your smartphone, you’ve likely used a mobile app.
Basically, mobile app development is all about creating apps that work on mobile devices like smartphones or tablets.
This type of development uses different tools compared to other kinds of software development.
For example, to make an app for Android, developers typically use Java or Kotlin. For an app on an iPhone (iOS), developers use Objective C or Swift.
Some people choose to do hybrid or cross-platform development. This means they use one set of tools to make an app that can run on different platforms. It can save resources, but it has its downsides.
Most software experts believe that apps made specifically for one platform (native development) work better than hybrid or cross-platform ones.
8. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is all about services, programs, and apps that work on the cloud. This means you can use them from almost anywhere as long as you have internet and the right login details. Lots of everyday tools, like Google Docs, are based in the cloud and have many benefits, like being able to grow easily.
There are developers who focus on making things for the cloud. They create cloud platforms, make apps that work on the cloud, help move things to the cloud, manage cloud services, and take care of any problems users might have.
Cloud technology covers a wide range of software, from storage services like Google Drive to software tools such as GitHub.
Generally, cloud computing is about providing resources like storage or computing power on demand, without needing to manage physical equipment or complex internal systems.
The way cloud technology works often simplifies the behind-the-scenes (the back-end) of a software system, so users only have to deal with what they see and interact with (the front-end).
Cloud computing can be really beneficial for businesses of all sizes because it provides access to technology that might be too costly or difficult for them to set up on their own.
This makes it easier for businesses to grow quickly and efficiently. In fact, by 2025, the worldwide market for cloud computing is expected to reach $832.1 billion.
9. DevOps Engineering
DevOps is a collection of methods and beliefs aimed at delivering software quickly, efficiently, and in a way that puts the customer first. It’s similar to Agile and has been embraced by software developers and teams globally.
DevOps engineers are part of teams that follow these principles. They’re involved not just in creating the product, but also in quality assurance testing and eventually launching the product. They need a broad range of skills, like programming, integration, scripting, and quality assurance testing. Plus, they have to mix theory and practice to help and work alongside the rest of the team, which might include other software developers and quality assurance professionals.
10. Security Engineering
Security specialists make software to protect private information. A significant part of their job is to test how secure a software system is.
This is where penetration testers come in. They are like professional hackers whose job is to try and break a system’s security measures. Their goal is to find weak spots.
Once the security team knows where these weak spots are, they can start working on ways to fix them.
In today’s digital age, technology is getting smarter and smarter. That’s why ignoring cybersecurity can be a costly mistake.
Which Type of Developer Is Right for Your Project?
The types of software development we’ve discussed are not all there is. Software development is a large and diverse field. Yet, these types we’ve covered are among the most crucial to know, especially if you’re planning to hire developers or development teams for your next project. Understanding these types helps in building a top-notch product.
Your needs may evolve, and at different times, you might need different kinds of developers. So, it’s essential to clarify your needs before starting and carefully research each professional or team you think about hiring. Look at their past work and check out any references or testimonials they might have.
Each specialty has different skills and experiences, but your expectation of high-quality work should always be the same. Remember, the success of your project largely depends on the team you hire. So, take your time to choose wisely and align your choices with the specific needs of your project.
Understanding these 10 types of software development can bridge the divide between the growth of your business and your comprehension of software development as a whole.
Before embarking on any business journey, it’s crucial to do your homework and gather information about business processes. Reading this article is your first step.
Now that you have a clearer picture of what software development entails and the different paths you can pursue within the sector, the next step is to hire developers.
What is software development?
Software development is the process of creating, maintaining, and testing software applications or systems.
What are the different types of software development?
There are numerous types of software development, including web development, mobile app development, desktop development, back-end development, front-end development, cloud computing, database development, full-stack development, game development, and cybersecurity development, among others.
What does a front-end developer do?
A front-end developer designs and builds the user interface (UI) of a software application, which includes everything the user interacts with directly.
What does a back-end developer do?
Back-end developers work on the server-side of software applications, building and maintaining the technology that powers those components which, together with the front-end, makes the application or site work.
What is a full-stack developer?
A full-stack developer has the skills to work on both the front-end and back-end of a software application. They can create a fully functional web application on their own.
What is mobile app development?
Mobile app development is the process of creating applications that run on mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets.
What is cloud computing in software development?
Cloud computing in software development involves the delivery of different services through the Internet, including data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software.
What does a database developer do?
A database developer creates and manages databases that store and organize data for software applications.
What does a DevOps engineer do?
A DevOps engineer works with developers and the IT staff to oversee code releases. They are either developers who get interested in deployment and network operations or sysadmins who have a passion for scripting and coding and move into the development side.
What does a security specialist in software development do?
A security specialist in software development creates software to protect systems and information. They test and find vulnerabilities in the software and work to fix these weaknesses.