Qualities to develop
No one wants you to try to drastically change who you are, but there are some qualities common to successful software developers. You don’t need to work on all of them - just treat them as useful suggestions.
- Good developers tend to be calm and organized. They can keep their cool in a crisis and don’t make emotional decisions even in difficult situations.
- You should be a problem-solver, trying to find new solutions, not complaining about things that aren’t working.
- Have some curiosity for learning the business domain of the project. It’s an amazing opportunity for you to expand your horizons, and your voice will be much more valuable during team discussions.
- Be open to suggestions and looking for help or opening a discussion about a difficult issue. You don’t need to be omniscient. It’s okay if you don’t immediately know the solution to every problem. As long as you’re honest about it and willing to learn, nobody will fault you for it.
- Always be ready to help the people on your team.
- Never tire of learning new things - the tech industry is constantly in flux and you don’t want to get left behind.
- Be patient - with your work, your team and your client. Don’t let frustration build up, or you might end up taking it out on the people around you.
- Respect other people’s views, even if you disagree with them. This may seem obvious, but not everyone realises how destructive it is to a professional relationship to dismiss someone else’s ideas and push your own opinions onto them.
- Be accountable. Make sure the people around you trust you and your word. If people on your team or the client doubt the things you say, you know you’re in trouble.
- Be passionate about your work. You won’t burn out as easily, and you’re very likely to infect people with your enthusiasm.
- You should be creative as a developer. You do creative work, after all: building new solutions and improving old ones. You don’t have to think of yourself as an artist, but remember that you don’t always have to use tried and true solutions and just try something new.
- Being detail-oriented is a big advantage - it’ll keep you from cutting corners. At the same time, remember to keep an open-minded attitude - sometimes corners have to be cut, because it’s better for the client.
- Know your limits, but be confident. Be certain that you’re producing quality code. If you aren’t sure of this, then something is clearly wrong.
Learning new skills and developing useful qualities puts you on the right path, but sometimes you’re in danger of sabotaging your success through certain behaviours. They might cause your teammates or clients to doubt your abilities and as a result, the quality of your cooperation will suffer. Watch out for those, or even small hints of those - it might be better to be safe than sorry. Here are some signs of a developer that’s not fun to work with.
- They think that they are always right and get offended when someone offers constructive criticism.
- They don’t put effort into cooperating with the team and the client.
- Talking too much is also a sign. A developer that tries to show off and look as wise as possible by diving into technicalities actually often ends up making the opposite impression: of someone trying to cover their lack of knowledge.
- They are uncomfortable using new solutions and technologies. A lack of knowledge about new OS version updates and being generally unaware of new developments in your field could also paint you in the wrong light.
- A bad developer does not want to learn, does not like to share knowledge, and is impatient with others. This is a sign of pure egoism, clearly destructive for any career.
- Weak developers follow instructions to the letter, and end up delivering poor quality because they don’t take a proactive approach and ignore potential problems. Not caring about details like proper error handling is a sign of this.
- Balancing responsibility is also important. Taking too much responsibility might be just as bad as not taking enough. Especially if you’re only eager to get the credit for your successes and avoid the consequences of your mistakes.
- A developer who doesn’t ask questions when they are stuck is bound to get into trouble. As previously established, it’s okay to admit that you don’t know everything.
- The inability to calmly and objectively discuss their work is a clear sign of an uncooperative developer. Taking everything personally is bad for the team and for your blood pressure.
- It’s easy to get excited about new tools, but using them just because they are cool and have been featured on a blog you follow is a bad idea. Only do what’s best for the project.
- Attempts to reinvent the wheel are another obvious sign of a misguided developer. A developer’s job isn’t to write a lot of code - it’s to solve problems as efficiently and elegantly as possible.
Hopefully this article will help you choose the next area to work on as your develop your career, and to stay away from toxic behaviours that can turn the client and your team against you.