A software designer is responsible for problem-solving and planning for a software solution. After the purpose and specifications of software are determined, software developers will design or employ designers to develop a plan for a solution. It includes low-level component and algorithm implementation issues as well as the architectural view. A software designer is responsible for the documentation of the plan which is usually the product of the design.
Software design documentation may be reviewed or presented to allow constraints, specifications and even requirements to be adjusted prior to programming. Redesign may occur after review of a programmed simulation or prototype. It is possible to design software in the process of programming, without a plan or requirement analysis, but for more complex projects this would not be considered a professional approach. A separate design prior to programming allows for multidisciplinary designers and Subject Matter Experts to collaborate with highly-skilled programmers for software that is both useful and technically sound.
The software designer works closely with the software developer to ensure that the design meets needs for the solution. It is also important to ensure that the software is able to interact well with other applications that are currently in use.
A software designer exhibits capabilities in line with the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) and the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
Within the SFIA profile, the software designer has level 4 and 5 capabilities, i.e. enables, ensures and advises on the skills outlined below.
Works under broad direction. Work is often self-initiated. Is fully responsible for meeting allocated technical and/or project/supervisory objectives. Establishes milestones and has a significant role in the assignment of tasks and/or responsibilities.
Influences organisation, customers, suppliers, partners and peers on the contribution of own specialism. Builds appropriate and effective business relationships. Makes decisions which impact the success of assigned work, i.e. results, deadlines and budget. Has significant influence over the allocation and management of resources appropriate to given assignments.
Performs an extensive range and variety of complex technical and/or professional work activities. Undertakes work which requires the application of fundamental principles in a wide and often unpredictable range of contexts. Understands the relationship between own specialism and wider customer/organisational requirements.
Advises on the available standards, methods, tools and applications relevant to own specialism and can make appropriate choices from alternatives. Analyses, designs, plans, executes and evaluates work to time, cost and quality targets. Assesses and evaluates risk. Communicates effectively, both formally and informally. Demonstrates leadership. Facilitates collaboration between stakeholders who have diverse objectives. Takes all requirements into account when making proposals. Takes initiative to keep skills up to date. Mentors colleagues. Maintains an awareness of developments in the industry. Analyses requirements and advises on scope and options for continuous operational improvement. Demonstrates creativity, innovation and ethical thinking in applying solutions for the benefit of the customer/stakeholder.
SFIA Skill Code
SFIA Skill Level of Responsibility
SFIA Skills Level Descriptor
Programming/ software development
Designs, codes, tests, corrects and documents complex programs and scripts from agreed specifications, and subsequent iterations, using agreed standards and tools, to achieve a well engineered result. Takes part in reviews of own work and leads reviews of colleagues' work.
Takes responsibility for understanding client requirements, collecting data, delivering analysis and problem resolution. Identifies, evaluates and recommends options, implementing if required. Collaborates with, and facilitates stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy agreements. Seeks to fully address client needs, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.
Maintains an in-depth knowledge of specific specialisms, and provides expert advice regarding their application. Can supervise specialist consultancy. The specialism can be any aspect of information or communication technology, technique, method, product or application area.
Queensland Government roles align with the Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile.
The success profile is a sector wide, one-government approach to the leadership behaviours expected of all public sector employees to support high performing workplaces. The profile describes three performance dimensions (vision, results and accountability) and 13 leadership competencies required against four role types:
- Individual contributor (manages self)
- Team leader (manages individuals)
- Program manager (manages multiple teams/projects)
- Executive (manages program managers)
When developing a Role Description, identify the role type and then focus on the most important attributes and create a balance between SFIA skills and leadership skills.
A degree level qualification in information technology or computer science are highly regarded in this field.
 The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) provides a common language that integrates with an organisation’s way of working, to improve capability and resource planning, resource deployment and performance management. This role profile quotes extensively from the SFIA, under licence from the SFIA Foundation. Information about the SFIA can be found at http://www.sfia-online.org/en
 The Queensland Public Service Workforce Capability Success Profile plays a key role in translating the government’s ‘talent management requirements’ into clear behavioural terms, while at the same time delivering organisational change and growth. The success profile is being utilised to align sector-wide talent management strategies, including workforce planning, talent acquisition, leadership development, capability development, performance management, career management and succession planning. See http://www.psc.qld.gov.au/includes/assets/PSC_Workforce_Capability_Success_Profile.pdf