Skills Developers Should Invest In

The speed in which technology, particularly IT, advances these days is a bit of a double-edged sword for developers. On the one hand, it means that opportunities will be in abundance and they will never have any problems with regard to demand for their expertise.

On the other hand, there is pressure to continue progressing and adapting to new advancements as they come along, because choosing to remain stagnant in the face of rapid progress is a surefire way to get left behind by the competition.

While majority of developers choose to obsess over which new programming language to master or which technology to focus on, their time and effort is better invested in learning (or improving) a number of skills that a developer and programmer should have, such as:

Problem Solving Skills

Programming languages will come and go, and while mastery in one can help you in learning another, the real skillset that a developer can carry from one environment into the other is his ability to solve problems. After all, software has always been designed to solve one form of user problem or another, and software development is primarily about solving problems, not learning programming languages. This is not to say that mastering a programming language isn’t important. It is, but it comes second to learning how to apply critical thinking to solving problems.

Improving your problem-solving skills requires an entire article on its own, but basically, don’t be content with cookie cutter or template solutions. From time to time, review problems that you have already solved and try to come up with new solutions or at least, read up and research on a lot of theories, see how other developers solve problems and understand their approach instead of just copying their methods.

Self-Teaching Skills

The ability to learn on your own is one of the most important and useful skills in life. For developers, it’s common knowledge that all of your years in schools and universities will only teach you theories at best, and that application in the real world will still require the ability to study and learn on your own. In fact, there are many successful programmers who started out as self-taught coders.

If you learn how to teach yourself, you’ll be removing all the limitations that are preventing you from progressing in your chosen career. There are books and various resources available for everything – all you need is yourself and enough time to learn on your own.

Naming Skills

The previous skills outlined above can be considered common sense. The ability to name things, on the other hand, is frequently overlooked. After all, we’re software developers, not archeologists or fiction writers. What do we need naming skills for?

The thing is everytime you write code, you are effectively naming things. Your success in reading code that you or someone else has written will hinge on your understanding of the code based on the names of things in said code. Being able to explain your methods and logic in the names you use in your code will put you ahead of developers who just churn out codes that “just work” but can’t remember how they did it nor explain it to a co-worker.

Last, But Definitely Not the Least: People Skills

Unless you’re only developing software on your own and intending your output to be private, you’re going to have to deal with other people. In order to really succeed in life as a software developer, you have to learn some people skills. Technical aptitude is no longer enough, especially these days when projects become so complex that they require an entire team of developers working closely – and efficiently – together.

No matter how good you are as a programmer, if you’re constantly getting into arguments with your team or even if you’re nice but can’t communicate your thoughts well, you’re going to be the weakest link.

So take time out and socialize, learn how to work with other people and keep your ego in check. Make friends and learn how to approach and communicate with different kinds of people. We’re not saying you have to be the most likable person on the planet, but you need to be the kind of person that people can easily approach and talk to, especially when it comes to difficult work-related problems.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.