5 Traits to Invest in to Make a Good Developer Great
Jobsity has recruited, trained, coached, and nurtured hundreds of developers in our decade as a talent incubator and nearshore staff solution for North American companies. Our vision for culture is based on taking good developers--those with skill and potential--and helping them grow into great ones, with the hard and soft skills required to ensure they are not only a top asset to Jobsity but to the firms across the world that they serve.
This means we’re experts not only in code, in tech, and work performance, but in understanding how to develop developers, how to help them reach their maximum potential, and how to push them to be the best in the industry--in South America, North America, and beyond.
But what does greatness look like for developers? What do we mean when we say we’ll take “good” and make it “great”? Below is our list of the 5 trains a developer needs to embody to be at the top level of the field--the level we expect from 100% of our nearshore staff, and that you should expect from your staff, too.
- Know Your Code
Developers begin and end with code. Literally. You become a developer the day you begin to learn your first coding language, and your life as a developer depends upon this love affair lasting for years to come. Like a painter knows her brush technique, a musician practices scales, and a homebuilder knows the price of lumber, a developer must be knowledgeable about the coding languages within their arsenal, enough to write cleanly, efficiently, quickly, and creatively, when faced with any team goal, OKR, or project brief.
- Have a Learner’s Mindset
Like many aspects of technology, the field of software and web development is as fast-moving today as it has ever been. This means yesterday’s expert could end up today’s “nube” if she doesn’t keep an open mind and an eye “in the books.” Almost as much as the technical expertise itself, a great developer must be a learner first and foremost. What does it mean to be a learner? A learner isn’t stuck in what worked yesterday; a learner isn’t happy with comfort; a learner isn’t blind to the fact that there may be better ways to do even the things that you do well. Such a mindset means a good developer is always on the path to getting better, and this improvement will mean the difference between good and great.
- Be a Team Player
Coding, like many design-based enterprises, is not a solo sport. You can be the quickest, sharpest, most technically proficient developer in the world, but if you can’t work with a team and serve a cause greater than yourself, then you will be useless in a company, and dead weight in the marketplace. These days, every aspect of software development connects to something else: back-end to front-end, UX to UI, systems to a database, etc. To serve a design team as a great developer, you have to be open to navigating the politics of personalities, forging alliances, creating friendships, and getting along. This is what Jobsity calls “being authentically cool”--our third company value. Great developers, at the end of the day, are great teammates.
- Be You, Not Someone Else
Everyone these days is connected, but that doesn’t mean we should all compete. Every developer’s job is to invest in what makes them special and to invest in what gives them the most meaning within their lane. If you’re excited by a new language, invest in learning it; but don’t learn what your friends are learning just because you’re afraid of being left behind. Likewise, spend time thinking about what makes you special--there’s always something. Is it your critical thinking skills? Your ability to lead a team? To make connections between various parts of a project? To paint the challenges of a new design with a broad brush? Whatever it is, find this thing and invest in it. Knowing what your special talent is and giving it center stage will make you the strongest version of yourself. And the strongest version of you has the greatest chance of being the greatest asset to your team, and the dev profession as a whole.
- Be a Problem Solver
Most developers know how to execute code when asked. They can do it quickly, efficiently, and at a high level of accuracy. But being a software or web developer isn’t just about execution. What sets “good” apart from “great” is that secret special skill set that comes in when the usual, or the rote, or the basic doesn’t work: are you able to create solutions? To circumvent these challenges? To solve problems? If you can, then you’re halfway down the road to greatness. And if you can’t, what’s holding you back? Likely it isn’t a skill, but fear. Problem-solving is a creative ability that you can develop just like anything else. Invest in it and you’ll be on your way to become much more than just a “good” developer but to become the greatest professional asset you can be.
While the future of software and web development is in flux, we believe these five traits to be the most important a developer needs to maintain their skills going forward. But we also know that they are also what sets up “good” developers to become “great” over time. Remember: technical skill is just the base of what a developer needs--like the bread in a sandwich. The traits listed here are meat, cheese, lettuce, and condiments. Don’t be a dry bread sandwich, be a delicious one. Follow the list to become the greatest developer you can be.
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