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​7 Qualities of a Great Software Engineer

  • Publish Date: Posted about 3 years ago
  • Author: Jon Armstrong

When it comes to programming, the difference between good, bad and average is massive. Great developers might be three times as productive as the average developer, and ten times more productive than the bad ones.

Yet it’s not just about the code you write – it’s also about who you are. Scalable Path founder Damien Filiatrault has identified 7 qualities that will mark you out as a great programmer.

1. Positive Attitude

A great programmer is ambitious and eager to do their best. They step up when there’s a deadline to hit, take feedback without getting defensive, and take care of their company’s product.

2. Good Communication Skills

Programming is a linguistic skill, so being a good communicator is directly related to being a good developer. In fact, great offshore developers usually speak more than one language, as well as having great English. You need to be able to ask the right questions, understand concepts without needing a written specification document, and turn problems into theories and theories into coherent solutions.

3. Time and Task Management

Having a good work ethic and being punctual is important, but beyond that, you also need to be able to predict how long things will take you and to “manage up”, setting expectations with your boss or clients instead of leaving them to manage you.

4. Quick Learning

Great developers are committed to their own development. They’re self-learners who can pick up new technologies independently and aren’t afraid to ask when they don’t know the answer.

5. Technical Experience

Great developers have experience that’s both deep and broad, and have a good grasp of best practices like agile development, task management tools like Jira and Trello, version control, and working in different environments.

6. A Good Team Player

Good developers aren’t just committed to their own development, they also care about helping other developers improve. They’re willing to teach, answer questions, and write documentation that favours teammates both in their business and in the wider developer community.

7. End-User Focus

A great programmer doesn’t just do what they’re asked – they think about the end user’s wants and needs and work to solve problems, create high value, and cut features that don’t create value.

How To Become a Great Developer?

Educate yourself

Getting a good degree in computer science is just the start. Read forums and articles about the latest tech developments, try out new technologies, attend conferences, join groups, and write a blog that brings value to the community.

Gain experience

When you’re just starting out, look to build your CV by taking jobs in a variety of companies and sectors. Don’t be too picky about pay to start with – the more experience you get, the higher the salary you’ll be able to command.

Do what you love

Great programmers do what they like and like what they do. As you try different jobs, discover the aspects of programming that excite you the most. Make those your speciality and enjoy getting creative with them. Nothing will make you better at your job than genuine enthusiasm.

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