Karl Gorman
11 main types of software development

11 Main Types Of Software Development

The Software development and publishing industry has grown to $442.5bn in 2022. The number is expected to keep growing as companies, developers, and individuals vie for their share of the billion-dollar industry with various types of software designs.

But to get a cut of this growth, you must know the current landscape regarding the type of software development currently available. In this article, we’ll define software development and cover eleven main types of software development and some examples of development software.

What Is Software Development?

Software development is building computer programs according to technical and user requirements for specific platforms. The process often involves brainstorming, defining the product requirements, designing, development and implementation, testing, deployment, and maintenance,

The professionals who make this process happen are called software developers who specialize in different types of software development. They’re the creative brains behind the lines of code, tabs, and buttons that form the structure of software.

Unlike some professions where you can’t easily switch from one concept or specialization to another, Software developers are not tied to one type of software development. They are free to switch between specializations and offer services from different types of software designs.

You may not know it, but we see software development everywhere and in everything we do. From the Candy Crush game that kept you busy in the waiting room to the app that lets you budget and track expenses to the photo and video manipulation app that helps you create great social media content.

It’s all a result of software development and the skills software developers possess. Now that we’ve set a basic understanding of software development let’s take a look at the different types of software development.

Types of software development

Since its inception, software development has expanded into several types and specializations. Some of them overlap in function and the type of software design they’re involved in.

Here are 11 types of software development:

  1. Application development
  2. Desktop Software development
  3. Software tools development
  4. Cloud computing development
  5. Wearable software development
  6. Security software development
  7. Video game development
  8. Mobile development
  9. Front-end development
  10. Back-end development
  11. Full stack development

We’ve explained each of them, what they’re about, and provided examples of development software below.

1. Application development

Application development refers to software applications targeting a specific business need or function. Application development helps businesses and organizations automate their processes for higher efficiency.

Businesses can implement automation for processes and time-consuming tasks such as scheduling sales reports, automatically sending out sales invoices and payment reminders, and calculating monthly revenue and expenses. If it seems like a lot of manual work that could be automated, application development is a viable solution.

Application development can take various forms, including rapid application development, low-code, mobile, database, enterprise, web, and custom. The aim of any of these is to ease and simplify business processes.

2. Desktop Software Development

As the name goes, desktop development involves designing and developing software specifically for desktop computers instead of web or mobile. Desktop software applications cover a range of products, including the ones that perform a range of tasks and ones that are purely for entertainment.
Examples of desktop software include word processors like Microsoft Word and WPS. There are also productivity apps like Sticky Notes and Blinking Reminder, popular photo manipulation app – Photoshop, and video editing software – Adobe Premiere Pro.

3. Software Tools Development

Software tools development is one of the types of software development that serves other developers. Where other types of software projects target a general market, software tools development target software developers themselves.

Software tools development involves the development of software tools that developers can use to create other software. These software tools can be used in code maintenance, software debugging, and the creation process.

These categories fit a range of products and diverse uses. GitHub, for example, is a product of software tools development that functions as a version control system to support online collaboration between developers.

4. Cloud computing development

Cloud computing refers to platforms such as applications, programs, and services that run on the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere, given an internet connection. Cloud computing development is the designing, developing, and deploying of these cloud-based platforms.

Various industries, including healthcare and technology companies, use cloud computing and experience several benefits, one of which is the ease of scaling. Ordinarily, without cloud computing, they would’ve had to spend resources setting up a network and internal platform to exchange data and information.

But with cloud computing, a cloud computing developer would develop these cloud-based platforms where companies and organizations can host their information. When they want to scale, they can easily upgrade their subscription instead of physically expanding their facility.

A classic example of products using cloud computing development is Google Drive and DropBox. Another example would be GitHub and other similar software tools.

5. Wearable software development

Wearable software refers to software and hardware devices that transmit information, perform various tasks, and can be worn on the body. These include watches, jewelry, headgear, armbands, etc. Some of them are for functional purposes like health and communication, while other categories are status products.

Wearable software development has recently started to boom, thanks to development in research. In the health sector, for example, wearable software development can take the shape of watches patients wear to keep track of their vitals. This makes it easier for patients and doctors to make more informed decisions based on the data these devices collect.

Another example of wearable types of software development is the increasing demand for glasses. They are used in artificial intelligence and virtual reality development.

6. Security software development

In our age, you can develop all the apps you want, collect private information, and connect to multiple devices, but there’s no use if the security is lax. Software security development involves ensuring that technological products are secure enough for the users and creators.

Security professionals are skilled in the tools, practices, and methodologies that hackers use and must know how to use them themselves. An example of a profession within this software development industry is ethical hackers. Ethical hackers work with companies to test the security limits and vulnerabilities of their software products.

If any vulnerability is discovered, they then work with the other developers to ensure that hole is plugged in and cybercriminals cannot exploit those pathways. Due to the incredible importance of this task, cybersecurity software development does not come cheap.

7. Video game development

There’s hardly anyone who hasn’t played a video game before. It’s on your mobile phone, computer, or video game console. Video game development is creating interactive software for consoles, desktops, and mobiles. In this type of software development, users are keen on visual and audio activity and stimulation.

Examples of video games include Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty. For mobile games, you may be familiar with Candy Crush and Pokemon Go, both mobile games that had a significant impact.

Depending on the requirements and type of game you want to build, video game development can takes a few developers or hundreds. It can also take months or years to build and deploy.

Either way, video game development is cost-intensive and time-consuming. That’s why it’s always advisable to keep it simple when starting anew. That way, you’ll learn to achieve the most with little resources.

8. Mobile Development

Mobile development, as the name goes, is the process of developing applications that have to be downloaded and installed on a smartphone with either an iOS, Windows, or Android operating system. Mobile development is divided into three main types: native, cross-platform, and hybrid.

Native mobile development refers to developing mobile apps with platform-specific features and technical capabilities using frameworks such as Java for Android and Objective-C for iOs. Such apps cannot be installed and used on another platform except that which it was created for. Another developer would have to develop a native version for that particular app, which obviously, increases the cost of development.

Cross-platform is the development that covers as many platforms as possible. It isn’t built for each platform specifically; at the same time, it won’t use all the capabilities of each platform. Cross-platform frameworks include Xamarin, React Native, and Flutter.

Hybrid development involves building web apps with cross-platform flexibility and native functionality. It’s cheaper and faster than native apps for development but comes with performance issues.

9. Frontend development

Whenever you use the app and interact with the different buttons, sliders, and pages, you’re interacting with the front end of the software. Front-end development takes care of the part f software that users can see and digitally touch.

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From menus, images, buttons, and tabs, otherwise called the User Interface (UI). All of these are what catches a user’s eye, and a front-end developer’s job is to make sure they are there. Of course, front-end developers differ from user interface and user experience designers.

Front-end development goes beyond the obvious details and deals with bugs when they come up. It’s also under the jurisdiction of front-end development to ensure that the user interface runs hitch-free on any device.

They don’t work alone. They work closely with the UI and UX designers and the backend developers to ensure both parts of the software are synergized and work together seamlessly.

10. Backend development

In contrast to the front-end type of software development, the back-end development focuses on the part of the program that users can’t see. They work on the behind-the-scenes skeletal framework to provide the core logic, system integration, and functionality from which the front end would spring.

The backend deals with building the underlying structures for the project, including application programming interfaces (APIs), operating systems, databases, servers, and other complex foundational structures. When done right, these would provide security, scalability, and firm performance.

Backend development also requires specific tools and knowledge of programming languages built for backend development in various types of software designs. The programming language includes Python, Dart, GO, C++, C#, Kotlin, Ruby, JavaScript, Objective-C, swift, and PHP.

Like the front end, backend development will also work with the front end developer to ensure the full stack is well executed and maintained. Strong communication and problem-solving skills are required for both jobs.

11. Full Stack Development

Fullstack development is a combination of backend software development and frontend development. The full stack development professional takes care of both the back end and front end without specifically specializing in both types.

Full-stack developers must have a myriad of skills, even more than other developers, as they would be handling both the user’s end and the server’s end of things. This would usually involve knowing about several technologies involved in developing the front and back end of the software product.

They have no specialization on either side and, as such, can easily switch between either one to ensure the product is fully formed. They’ll have knowledge of product design, framework, and programming languages required across the board.

The main advantage of hiring a full-stack developer is that it’s less time-consuming and saves costs. Without the full-stack developer, you would have to hire professionals for the backend and front end separately. This usually involves paying more for the service and even situations where communication and a back-and-forth workflow would consume time.

Key Takeaways

Software development is an industry worth billions of dollars in the US. It involves building software products that meet specific technical and user requirements for a particular device and market. Software development takes many forms according to needs and devices.

Types of software development include mobile, frontend, backend, full stack, security, video game, and software tools development, among others. In deciding which one to dabble into, consider your budget, target audience, and the functionalities the product would require.

Approaching your software solution with the wrong type can result in a waste of resources. Whether you’re thinking of becoming a developer or you want to create software that’ll change the world, now that you know what software development options are out there, you can now begin the process of building products that last.

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