Which core competencies are common among top tech talent, ones that make the difference between a good developer and a great developer? Here are some of the most important soft skills that all developers should have:
Eagerness to learn
Most developers will have gained solid fundamental knowledge from a degree program or online course, but the best software developers are excellent self-learners. Curious by nature, they find the balance between learning and doing, constantly applying their knowledge to practice. They’re never afraid to try out the latest tech– in fact, they relish it.
Problem Solving Skills
Software development is ALL about solving problems! All software is designed to solve some user problem regardless of the programming language or technology you use. Effective developers strive to avoid making the same mistake twice. An experienced developer should be able to identify problems that look similar to problems they’ve dealt with before, which is a skill in itself. They recognise past issues and transform past solutions to work within the current context and even better, improve on the solution every time.
Big Picture Thinking
A great developer will always have the ‘big picture’ in mind. It’s not just about writing code, but also how the other life-cycle stages like requirements, design, testing and maintenance impact coding and vice-versa. Whether it’s Agile, Lean, Waterfall, Iterative, Spiral or a DevOps model, awareness of the software development life-cycle as a whole is important.
The best programmers genuinely care about the product they’re working on. They maintain a positive attitude and are usually willing to go the extra mile to get the job done. In software development there’s often urgent deadlines, whether a product is being brought to market or a particular feature is being released– so a team player attitude is invaluable. They should also be able to receive feedback well and take it on board. Code reviews and pair programming are common, which help to improve even the most experienced people!
The stereotype of coders who sit alone in front of their screen is old news. Collaboration is key in agile teams, which means strong communication skills go hand in hand with great development skills. It’s crucial for developers to articulate their ideas in a way that the rest of their team understand, and in turn listen to what others are telling them.