Software Development Manager: What They Do, Skills, & Salary

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Fred Monnier
Fred Monnier
Chief Staffing Operations Officer

Table of Contents

A software development manager is someone you can rely on to lead a technical project, and can trust to have the ability to manage a team and have the expertise to get where the company needs to go.
Published on
August 10, 2023
Updated on
April 11, 2024

A software development manager leads and manages a team of software engineers and developers. They guide designing, creating, optimizing, and testing a piece of software, ensuring it’s up to standard.

Their role in the software development process is critical, especially with larger teams with multiple software engineers and UX/UI experts.

Learn more about what skills to look for in a software development manager, their average salary, and how to hire a software development manager today.

What Does a Software Development Manager Do?

A software development manager has a high level of expertise and knowledge of software development. They’re responsible for overseeing the creation of a piece of software, as early as the design phase into beta testing. Sometimes, they also help hire software engineers and developers to work on the project.

In addition to the necessary technical skills, software development managers must be well-versed in team leadership and management. Their work includes the constant evaluation of the work of developers and engineers and how it measures against the timeline and base requirements set for the software project.

They’re the link between the software engineers and developers at the upper-management levels of the company. This ensures the developers are on the same page as the shareholders and can create a product that suits their needs.

What Skills do Software Development Managers Need?

To qualify for a software development project manager role, highly critical in nature, several technical and soft skills are needed. They need the expertise necessary to fully understand the work being performed by the developers working under them and the ability to guide and lead that work.

Some of the essential skills that software development managers need include the following.

1. Software Development Knowledge

They need to be well-versed in software development. This consists of an in-depth understanding of the various programming languages, development methodologies, and frameworks, as well as a wide variety of cloud services and toolkits commonly used by developers.

They don’t have to be the most knowledgeable person on the team. In fact, this role is usually reserved for software architects and senior software developers. However, previous knowledge in the industry ensures they’re not going in blind.

2. Communication Skills

Thanks to their unique role within the company, a software development manager should be able to practice two types of communication skills: technical and non-technical.

Technical communication expertise is needed to manage the transfer of information between team members. After all, they’re often the only link between the software’s developers, engineers, architects, testers, and UX/UI designers.

As for non-technical communication skills, those are needed to keep in touch with the company’s upper management and shareholders. They should be able to break down complex technical topics into easily understood features and benefits without compromising accuracy.

3. Database Structures & Algorithms Knowledge

Since software is often reliant on data access, it’s crucial for the project’s software development manager to have sufficient knowledge of the different methods used to store and access data in databases.

Creating software compatible with the storage arrays ensures data is accessed swiftly and adequately, reducing lag and wait time.

4. Leadership & Conflict Resolution

Conflict and disagreements will likely arise at multiple points throughout the development process when working with a number of highly-skilled software engineers. It’s the software development project manager’s responsibility to lead the team toward an optimal solution while considering all parties' expertise and point of view.

That said, leadership through assigning roles based on past experience is the best way to mitigate conflict.

Software Development Manager Responsibilities

Your company's software development manager has several responsibilities. While they can vary, they can be divided into three main categories: team management, project management, and technical management.

Team Management

As the manager of the software development process, they’re responsible for leading and motivating the team of software engineers working in their department. They’d need to provide guidance and mentorship, helping their team members grow and develop the necessary technical skills.

Project Management

A software development manager should be able to effectively manage the software project, from start to finish. This role includes determining the project's scope and objectives and summarizing them into actionable project schedules that correspond to the available skillset of the team members.

They must also be able to effectively communicate the project status at various points of the development process to shareholders and upper management.

Technical Management

Technical skills are a must-have for the software development project manager. This includes a solid understanding of the various methodologies and tools used in the development process and the ability to make sure the team is using the most suitable technology.

They must also constantly evaluate and reevaluate the benefit of using a particular piece of tech, method, or programming language as the project progresses.

Software Development Manager Salary

A software development manager’s salary can vary widely based on multiple factors, including their level of experience and the size and location of the company. On average, a software development manager in the US can expect to earn an annual salary between $120,000 to $180,000.

That said, top software development managers can earn upwards of $200,000 annually. This is especially true in highly competitive tech markets, such as the San Francisco Bay Area, where software development managers can expect to earn higher salaries due to the high demand for their skills.

How to Hire a Project Manager in Software Development

When it comes to finding the right person for the job, it’s important to look for a candidate with a solid software project management track record. This proves they’re familiar with the necessary tools, skills, and technologies needed throughout development.

There are multiple options for onboarding a software development manager. Going the traditional route, while more costly, is the best way to hire an in-house manager for the long term.

However, there’s always the option to hire remotely through job boards or dedicated staffing agencies that do most of the work on your behalf.

The offered salary of a software development manager should correspond not only with their experience and capabilities but also with the complexity of the projects they will be working on in your company.

Hiring abroad is a good way to access a wider pool of candidates while minimizing costs, especially if you operate in a highly competitive tech market.

Hire a Software Development Manager With Revelo

When it comes to software development, hiring the right project manager ensures that the project is completed on time and within the set budget. At Revelo, we’ll always help you make the right hiring decision.

Revelo is a marketplace for technical talent. We connect pre-vetted software engineers and developers in Latin America with tech companies in the US, helping you scale your software teams quickly, reliably, and cost-effectively.

We chose Latin America because of the vast number of unexplored talents and because it operates within the same time zone as the US. Our Revelo team will handle the negotiations and onboarding process for your new hires. All you need to do is contact us by filling out a simple form and leaving the rest to us.

Need to source and hire remote software developers?

Get matched with vetted candidates within 3 days.

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