Fine Print

Who hires developers, anyway?

Matt Landers
June 23, 2023
2 min read

So, you want to become a developer, but you don’t know where you would work? We often have students say, “there aren’t many tech companies or startups in my city.”

Many people would be surprised to learn that the vast majority of software developers don't work for tech companies. They work in ALL industries including:

  • Banking
  • Insurance
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing
  • Telecom

Literally, every industry employs developers.

Software is what separates industry leaders from the followers.

When I was working for Microsoft, I spent time at many different Fortune 100 companies as a consultant. My job was to help companies create custom software solutions using Microsoft products. I spent several years in Hopewell, New Jersey, working with Merrill Lynch, and there were 4,000 developers at this one campus. That is not a typo. FOUR THOUSAND!

Think about this. What makes the largest banks, retail stores, and insurance companies different than their smaller competitors? They have custom systems, processes, and technology that allow them to lead their industry, and the only way to implement those solutions is with software.

At Home Depot, I helped architect the software on the phones that the staff wears on their hip in the stores. They can lookup inventory, check prices, place orders, and more. That project took hundreds of people to implement over several years, and Home Depot employees thousands of developers to maintain their internal software, eCommerce sites, and customer facing apps so that they can provide the best home improvement experience in the world. Their software makes it incredibly difficult for competition to keep up because of the significant investment it would take to compete.

So when you try to envision yourself as a software developer, don't limit it to technology companies. Find an industry that you love or have experience in, and you'll be even more valuable to that company. The students that come out with the highest salaries almost always possess industry knowledge. That knowledge paired with the ability to code makes them a unicorn to their industry, and they become invaluable.

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