5 Skills Every Software Developer Should Have
Acute intelligence, thick glasses, geeky hobbies and no social life. You think you know them all. But software developers aren’t as stereotypical as we think. With the popularity of the profession growing, the programming community is now more diverse than ever. Still, there are certain skills common for successful software developers.
If a problem arises, there’s a good chance an app has already been developed to help users solve it. That’s why the software was created in the first place – to solve some kind of problem: everyday, complicated, analytical, childish, global. And an app developer’s job is to find a solution and make it simple to use. Programmers should understand the issue, analyze its scale and complexity, consider all possible solutions and implement them in the most user-friendly way. Of course, to get to the bottom of various problems you have to be naturally inquisitive.
A good software developer is an explorer and a 5-year-old combined. How does something work? Why does it work this way but doesn’t work that way? Why is it done like this? Can it be done like that? These and many more are the questions fueling a developer’s desire to code. Digging into the issue, finding the core of the problem, experimenting with different methods of implementation to find the best solution is what software development’s all about.
A programmer’s eagerness to know and understand is also essential when it comes to self-education and development – constant companions of IT professionals. There is hardly any other domain that is changing as rapidly and continuously as software development, so you have to always be abreast of the innovations. Old technologies can become obsolete or get modernized, new libraries and frameworks are developed each day, a programming language that was first released in 2014 may have it’s 5th release in 2016 (say hello to Swift). This means that a good programmer can never stop learning, experimenting and growing professionally by all means.
Having a high-level view of the solution that is being developed is not something only software architects should do. Developers also have to see the whole picture to be efficient and make tactical decisions based on the impact they may have on the entire solution in the future. This is the time to show off your planning, designing and fortune telling skills. Because every software product has the potential to expand, developers should never forget to ask themselves: “How can I reduce the level of complexity of the system?” “Will this piece of code still be usable in a couple of years?” “Does this solution add to the agility of the system?”
A developer who sees programming as merely a hobby won’t last in the industry. Yes, every profession calls for passion if you want to be successful in it. But it’s hard to thrive in software development and become an IT expert if you lack the will to code, hack and learn. Investing all your time in analyzing problems you have no interest in solving or studying new tech you see no potential it can be very frustrating. And since app development often requires working late hours on releases under the pressure of deadlines, you have to actually love coding to play it cool.
Myths have been told and ballads have been sung about developers’ social awkwardness. True, they are not the most outgoing of people. Maybe that’s because introversion has been linked to higher intelligence. Unfortunately for them, people are everywhere, and most often they work in teams, whether it’s a giant open space or a tiny office.
No matter how much programmers like being left alone, good people skills are crucial in many everyday tasks, like asking a colleague next desk why they chose this particular method or reviewing the code of a fellow programmer from a distributed team in another country.
Communicating with other developers is also a means of learning. Software development communities share interesting experiences, thoughts, solutions, so it’s a good idea to attend profile conferences, meetups and hackathons once in a while.
Of course, having all the traits mentioned doesn’t make you a good developer, nor does the absence of some of them make you a bad one. A successful IT expert combines technical competence, analytical mindset, diligence, determination, attention to detail, proactiveness and much more. It’s not just about ones and zeros, after all.