If you are a computer user or have a little knowledge of technology, you may have noticed that due to its nature in computer science, technology is very changing and constantly evolving.
In the case of software development, one of the main branches of computer science, one can notice constantly progress with new programming languages or technologies that facilitate the development of applications, which implies that developers have the need to keep us constantly researching and looking for the latest trends that allow us not to be up to date in our careers.
Before such changes and variations of the software market needs at some point you have wondered what skills you should have as a developer or software engineer to achieve the job you want or keep up as a good developer.
Well, guess what? Well, you’re not the only one 🙂
In general, among so many technologies we all reach the point of feeling that no matter how hard we study, we never know anything and sometimes our colleagues are more prepared than us.
If you feel identified, I have come to share with you this information that may help you avoid falling into frustration.
It is for this reason that I have sat down to analyze based on my experience and recommendations of experts in the area of information technology, what are the characteristics that a good programmer should have and what should he master to avoid feeling obsolete in the area.
Without more preambles here I share 15 skills that we have compiled about what a good programmer should have and what we should prioritize in learning.
1 – Soft skills
Perhaps you are surprised to see this feature and it has really been overlooked over time when looking for a vacancy as a developer.
Nowadays many companies are already beginning to consider that this is the most important skill that a developer should have and I can not really agree with myself. In many cases if you ask someone what would be the main characteristics of a good programmer you mentioned different technologies and programming languages that you should have knowledge, but now we know that having a high IQ does not guarantee success.
If we analyze a pattern we realize that successful people are those who have social skills, it is worth mentioning people like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gate, Steve Jobs, among others; that more than developers has been people with the ability to transmit their ideas and convince the right people to help them implement them.
Do not misunderstand, having the technical knowledge and mastering some programming languages is important depending on the position will always be necessary, that is, it is quite difficult to hire someone who does not even have knowledge of the area.
Within these skills can be taken into account: punctuality, good communication, leadership, adaptability, teamwork, organization, among others.
As we mentioned before, the constant changes in technologies demand that we are always learning about the different technologies that are emerging, so that we are not stuck.
Being self-taught according to the RAE: is the person “[Person] who instructs himself”. That is, a person who guides themselves using their empirical knowledge, carrying out a learning process without the need of a teacher.
Programmers should have enough interest and passion to research new things without waiting for someone else to show them. That is to say, it does not remain stagnant in the absence of information, but rather that it manages to acquire the necessary knowledge to complete new projects in which it is not accustomed to develop.
3. Good memory
Managing large code sequences between complex projects requires that you have a very good memory as a programmer.
Having ability to remember is one of the main skills that are taken into account at the time of hiring developers, as well as the famous plus of being multitasking, which by the way, but the latter is no longer considered very healthy for our brain; since managing many projects at the same time can cause that skip important details that affect the final result to be omitted.
It is very easy to make mistakes and mix information when you have in mind that you have to complete another project, for this reason it is advisable to carry out one project at a time.
But, well, if you consider that your memory needs improvement there are many techniques you can practice to improve your ability to remember.
They say that the person who has no curiosity to learn has stopped living. Having new knowledge gives you new experiences and moving to a next level.
Part of being a good programmer is having enough curiosity to analyze those details that raise doubts when we are solving a problem. Especially those doubts that we know that your answer will allow us to develop a product of higher quality and this experience in turn does not allow us to be better professionals in the area.
5. Have good logic
If I already know, that a programmer should have excellent logic, it is quite logical 🙂
But I can not stop mentioning it because by its nature the programmer requires this ability to solve complex problems. However, depending on the type of programmer the requirements may vary.
If you are a designer, they may not require you to have an advanced level of logic, if you are a front-end software developer you may need a little more, but on the other hand if you are back-end; You will need to have this skill well-developed since it is one of the areas where you are facing more complex problems.
If you consider improving this ability you can try different techniques such as practicing problems, studying algorithms and data structure, design patterns, among other things that will soon be plentiful in another article.
6. Learn fast
Software developer must have ability to analyze and learn new topics with ease, but I do not only refer to issues related to software development, but rather to various areas that we usually see within a company, for example: finance, sales, operations, etc.
Having the ability to analyze, evaluate processes and understand how they work although they are not directly related to our area. This allows us to have a better perspective of how to create quality software and deliver better results by combining our technical knowledge with those acquired on the areas we want to work with.
The word passion refers to the feeling a person has about a topic or idea or object, in this case we refer to the desire that you have as a developer to work in your area. Many programmers focus on performing their development tasks routinely during work hours, which in many cases are repetitive processes that are performed over and over again every day.
Particularly I consider that being at this point is the most boring part of software development, not seeking to innovate, improving what you do every day and learning new things is a reflection of the lack of passion, which at a certain point will take you to to be stuck.
That’s why it’s important that as a developer you do not lose the passion to implement new things and improve every day more, not only in your work schedule but in your free time.
8. Adaptation to change
In the development process it is very difficult for projects to maintain the requirements as they were defined at the beginning. Depending on the type of company and client that leads the project you will encounter situations in which you need to make changes whether small or large.
As a programmer you must be flexible and have the ability to adapt to changes as necessary. This is very important since those who can not adapt to the changes may not succeed in their projects.
9. Effective communication
This is one of the points that I consider most important, is one of the main soft skills defined at the beginning and I think it is worth emphasizing its importance in this section because it is one of the main skills that guarantee the success of any developer.
Effective communication in a programmer refers to their ability to convey their thoughts in a way that can be understood by their employees and customers effectively, so that everyone can understand what is being developed and the result that should be expected.
It is one of the fundamental characteristics of the agile development of software projects and it is a skill that must be taken into account if necessary.
10. Be patient
We already know that patience is a virtue that not everyone has been able to develop but it is an important skill that every software professional should have. This can be useful in solving problems and at a certain point interacting with our clients and colleagues.
Especially in our area we are used to working with complex issues and we constantly have to communicate with people who are not from the area which for them is not easy to understand and we should have enough patience especially if we have to work with users who are difficult or resistant to change.
Is to place ourselves in the place of the other, analyze in each situation we have with our clients and colleagues and then try to see it from their point of view, putting ourselves in their shoes.
Being empathetic with others allows us to see how others visualize the problems and find a point where everyone benefits by taking the best decision.
In addition, seeing the perspective of the other will give you an idea how they will react to particular situations.
As a developer it is best to see things from the point of view of the client remember that in the end they are the ones who will use the products you are developing. You should avoid being guided by a personal preference.
12. Open mind
It is your ability to accept the ideas of others. When you have an open mind you are more willing to analyze different perspectives. The more ideas you have to reach a goal the more possibilities you will have to achieve it effectively, because you will be able to analyze the possible results and choose the one that is most convenient.
Especially you must have an open mind for the ideas and contributions of your customers, in the end these are those who use the final product and who give the approval of if this really is useful for what they want.1
I refer to the quality of being responsible for doing the right thing and assuming the mistakes we mention.
In many occasions people prefer to hide their mistakes to avoid being criticized by their bosses or clients and I understand it can be difficult to admit our mistakes but in the end it is better and leaves a better impression of you before everyone.
In addition, recognizing your mistakes allows you to help your colleagues to avoid making the same mistake in the future, you will also learn from your mistakes taking into account what you did wrong and how to face similar situations.
In many cases it is considered that the programmers are not creative, because rather our profession is associated with a nerd who only pulls code and has no ability to create innovative and attractive things, but the reality is that it is just the opposite .
Software developers are quite creative and for each new task they must start from scratch and devise solutions that in many cases have not been done before.
When creativity is present, it allows the developer to have a better view of the problems and find solutions that may be better in view of the common options that may be available.
It is necessary that as a good programmer you always try to exercise your creativity learning new things like programming languages, new tools and practice creating applications that you had not tried before, this will allow you to face new projects looking for possibly simpler solutions.
15. Time management
For generating the developers we have many tasks to be done, especially if we carry out several projects and if in this we also have the responsibility to support applications that are already in production.
For this reason it is extremely important to have an effective management of the time to complete our slopes on time.
Managing time properly allows you to concentrate on completing the tasks that are really important and have better results in the shortest possible time.
To achieve these it is advisable to use tools to organize your tasks and work them according to priority. There are many techniques that can be very useful for these purposes, for example:
- Use lists (To-do list)
- Kanban boards
- Pomodoro technique
- Seinfeld technique
- Mental maps
Using these types of techniques, you will notice great progress completing tasks in less time.
And how do you organize your time?
Having good technical skills that does not guarantee success for a software developer, although you can get to create applications with complex algorithms and solutions that are not common problems but what will mark the differences are those skills that complement your knowledge of the area and allow you to develop it more and communicate your ideas to the other collaborators.