When shopping around for a software developer, many clients focus primarily on the developer’s ability to write code. It is easy to see why they do that. Good, average, and bad software engineers almost appear the same on the surface, but the difference in terms of their output can be quite immense. You have to be extra keen to tell apart the three categories of developers. But even as we acknowledge the need to pay closer focus on the coding abilities of a developer, we should also acknowledge that there is more to programming than simply being a great programmer. Software engineering in 2022 demands a unique blend of non-programming skills, philosophy, ethical practices, and expertise. Let’s look at the top five qualities that you should focus on when hiring a software developer today.
To be considered great, a software engineer must not only portray a deep understanding of the current tech landscape but also be sufficiently experienced to influence the future of software development. They must have a solid combination of basic coding knowledge, hands-on experience, and technical skills. You can tell how experienced and knowledgeable a developer is by how quickly they master your unique business needs, understand your existing tech infrastructure, and use new technologies to find the perfect solutions to both your current and foreseeable future tech needs. They should be a master at identifying defective code and finding cost-effective, lasting solutions.
All great software developers subscribe to the “clean code” philosophy. This philosophy highlights the need for self-explanatory, easy-to-understand codes. Programmers who subscribe to this philosophy ensure that the code they write is not only easy to understand but also easily transferable to other programmers and tech infrastructures. The code is easy to maintain and upgrade, so you don’t have to keep going back to the original developer for maintenance or upgrades.
Ability to adapt
There are tons of on-the-job learning platforms that ambitious programmers leverage, including GitHub and StackOverflow. There also are many upskilling programs such as Springboard’s Data Science Career Track, tech seminars and conferences, and mentorships programs that software developers can utilize for continuous learning and adaptation. During the interview process, be sure to ask the candidates about the tools they’re using to learn and stay relevant in the tech industry.
The world of software development is riddled with problems and challenges. Developers have to worry about their system’s performance, design, and user experience, all while fighting to keep up with industry standards. Sometimes the design or development challenges will be too dire, forcing a developer to scrap their entire code and start afresh.
The attitude of a great developer is the “can-do” attitude amid such crippling challenges. Great developers are equipped with the right tools and algorithms to navigate the murky world of software development. That’s on top of their impeccable analytical skills, confidence, ability to innovate, and other competencies.
A good developer also focuses on the end-user experience. They don’t blindly follow their employers’ instructions. They interrogate the business needs of their employer and then make important suggestions on how to make the end product as painless as possible in the eyes of the end-user. They try to factor in the end user’s wants and needs and therefore cut out features that complicate the user experience.
Lastly, good developers understand that they cannot thrive in isolation. They, therefore, are not only committed to their development but also their team members and peers in the tech industry. They are always available to answer questions from colleagues in the workplace, mentor their juniors, and even write documentation for the benefit of the wider developer community.
There are a few non-programming soft skills that every programmer must possess:
– Time and task management: You may not have the time or the expertise to micromanage your software developer. Be sure to pick someone who can manage their schedules; someone who is self-motivated and self-driven.
– Communication skills: Programming is a linguistic skill. Pick a developer who can communicate effectively at least in English. You also want someone who can create an app that communicates with clarity and authority, and that convinces the users.
– Collaboration skills: Choose someone who can effortlessly collaborate with a multicultural team.
– Empathy skills: As we mentioned, you need a software developer who is empathetic to the end-user’s needs.
– Critical thinking skills: You want someone who can critically analyse situations and offer concrete solutions to complex problems.
Merely writing codes doesn’t make a good software developer. Even if someone has great coding skills but doesn’t possess the qualities we have discussed, you cannot trust them to give you the best value for money in the long run. Take your time to interrogate candidates’ competencies before making any permanent decisions.
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