Practice makes perfect. This is the key to success, but it’s not enough. In fact, having solid technical chops isn’t the only thing needed to have a thriving career as a programmer. What makes a great developer? There are plenty of opinions on this topic. Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 qualities that you should have if you want to become an expert:
1- Never Satisfied
As Albert Einstein said: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.“.
Expert developers are a life long learner, they’re never satisfied with what they know.
The best developers don’t just know how their own code works, they understand how the libraries and runtimes beneath it work.
With the accessibility to courses online, you don’t have to go to school to become a great developer. Getting a degree in computer science helps understand architecture better and gives you a holistic perspective on the world of computer programming. Besides, great developers are never afraid to ask questions. As a matter of fact, they admit that they don’t know everything, and this is why they keep learning. They are happy to receive information from experts as well as from beginners.
2- Fast Learner
Being a fast learner is a great advantage to master a skill. In fact, time is your enemy, the faster you grab the info the faster you achieve greatness. Great developers are usually amazing self-learners. They have the ability to learn new technologies on their own and aren’t intimidated by new technologies. Every programmer will experience a situation where he or she doesn’t know the answer. Great programmers will find different resources, talk to the right people and find the solution no matter what.
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3- Grace under fire
Programming can be an extremely stressful profession. When deadlines are tight and nothing seems to be working, it’s easy to freeze up. The ideal developer will be able to handle even the most stressful situations calmly and, most importantly, be able to continue working.
4- Great Team Player
Another superb quality of legendary developers is their ability to help other developers get better. They offer teammates help when they are stuck. They are always willing to offer help and share their knowledge. Besides, great team players are always reliable, communicates with confidence and display genuine commitment. They are driven by passion which triggers their motivation to not just stick to the 9-5 job. In fact, great team players take their job to the next level by making positive work relationships with other team members a priority and displaying a genuine passion and commitment toward their team. They come to work with the commitment of giving it 110% and expect others on the team to do the same.
5- Great Time Management and Planning Skills
Great developers are highly reliable. An important skill is the ability to estimate the amount of time needed to complete a task, communicating this and delivering on it, before writing the first line of code. Through experience, they can plan ahead and know the issues that they will face during the project. Exceptional developers are great at managing their clients or leaders instead of you managing them.
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6- Deep Technical Experience
Great developers have worked with a handful of technologies long enough to become experts and are competent with many. They follow coding standards and write code that is understandable and commented where necessary and can be passed on to someone else easily. Using their cognitive abilities and diverse industry experience, they’re able to arrive at optimal solutions quickly. An expert developer is well versed in best practices like agile development, task management software, version control, and working in different environments.
7- Debugging skills
Expert developers are problem solvers. Coding is only part of their job. When software doesn’t work as expected, they are expected to get to the root of the problem quickly and effectively. Instead of spending hours blindly making changes, experts carefully investigate code and research possible issues until an answer is found.
Programming can best be compared to solving extremely difficult math riddles. A great programmer thrives on finding ways to make something work, despite the odds.
8- People Skills
Good communication skill is correlated with good development skill. It seems to be understood that a developer will mostly be sitting in front of a computer all day. Yet, programmers are regularly expected to interact with managers, teammates, and clients. that’s why the ability to work well with others is a must. This is especially true if your programmers are occasionally asked to participate in client meetings and explain how a system works. A great developer is able to understand problems clearly, break them down into hypotheses and propose solutions in a coherent manner.
9- Passion for the work
The word “passionate” has been used and reused everywhere so much that it now appears as a hollow adjective. Still, it remains an important trait of a software developer. While some programming staff can simply serve as nine-to-fivers, many hiring managers are interested in finding someone who will gladly put in long hours when the situation merits it. Often these employees can be found during the interview process by their outside interests. True programmers are self-proclaimed “computer geeks” spending their time gaming, building servers, or creating apps for friends.
10- Never Give Up When Everything Fails
Programmers almost never get everything right on the first try. In fact, failure is a certainty. However, elite developers see errors and bugs as a challenge rather than a sign of defeat. Persistence is important, as well as the ability to start over if necessary, even after hours of work. This is why perseverance is key. They believe that after long hours of troubleshooting they will solve the problem, and they do solve it!
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The list goes on and on. After interviewing and working with the top developers in the world, I’ve picked these 10 common traits that I’ve noticed in these great developers.
There are many aspects to being a good developer, but at the end of the day, like any profession, it starts with seeing yourself as a professional. That mindset alone will move you in the right direction.
What’s your definition of a great software developer? Which attributes resonate the most with you?