Working as a software developer is a lucrative career path that many choose to pursue. It’s still a very viable choice in 2019, and even though the bar is slowly but steadily going up, there is still plenty of room for newcomers who are just starting out and have no idea what they are doing. There are some skills that are pretty much essential to any good software developer today, and not all of them are technical.
In fact, many of the qualities of a top software developer have more to do with analytical thinking, social skills, and other similar things, rather than working with specific technologies. Some people are naturally more predisposed towards these skills than others, but don’t worry – it’s nothing that can’t be learned with some time and dedication.
Knowing how to write code that solves problems is nice and all, but it can only get you that far. If you want to evolve further as a software developer, you’ll want to pay attention to the skills required to organize a large, complex project and keep it running when multiple people are involved. This is easier said than done, and many people keep putting a lot of effort into coming up with new techniques in this field.
It will probably take some time before you’re tasked with leading your own project, but once you’re there, it will certainly be helpful to already have a foundation of some of the most critical skills necessary, rather than having to learn everything from scratch. That way, you’ll be able to cope with the stress of running that project much more easily.
Knowing your way around large data sets is becoming more and more important in many industries, even ones that traditionally did not work with such large volumes of information in the past. A database using a popular modern platform may not be that difficult to navigate on a more basic level, but it’s definitely going to give you trouble once you start trying to run more complex queries. It takes a lot of knowledge and experimentation to set things up in a way that not only retrieves the necessary data but also does it quickly and efficiently.
To this end, we recommend going through specialized SQL training. It might take more effort compared to learning things on your own at home, but you’re going to come out much better educated in the end, especially with regards to the more complex intricacies of the various database systems you’ll be working with. SQL is a highly valuable skill that can be easily integrated into a variety of environments, and if you find yourself working with Big Data, it will prove particularly useful.
With all the news of data breaches in various companies, big and small, it’s more important than ever that companies are properly equipped to handle issues of this type. And while this is obviously a job for a dedicated specialist with long-running experience in the field, this definitely doesn’t mean that it’s not worth taking the time to learn a little about security as a developer yourself.
There are many things you could potentially do to improve the overall security state of the code you’re writing, and you’ll also have a better overview of the quality of other peoples’ contributions. It’s important that teams cross-check their work internally to improve their security potential as best as possible, and you’ll be better equipped than most of your colleagues to be a reliable source of information in this regard.
It’s starting to sound like a bit of a cliché, but it’s hard to ignore the presence of machine learning all around us these days. It’s a rapidly evolving technological field that’s quickly changing many aspects of various industries, and we’re only seeing the tip of the iceberg so far. It’s very likely that machine learning will continue to evolve at an even more accelerated pace in the next few years, and those who’ve started to explore it early enough will be the ones to reap the most benefits from that.
That’s not to say that you should drop what you’re doing and try to dedicate your career to machine learning exclusively. But it can definitely make sense to explore the field and see what you can pick up from it to integrate into your own personal work. Chances are, you’re going to spot multiple opportunities for improving things on your side, and you may even discover that you have a knack for machine learning in general, allowing you to progress even further.
“Marketing” is a broad term that many people confuse with promotion and use the two interchangeably. In reality, promotion is just one subset of marketing, and not even the most important one. Actual marketing involves things like analyzing your market before even writing one line of code, adjusting your work to the demands of customers more efficiently, and knowing how to gather the right kind of feedback and integrate it into what you’re doing.
It doesn’t matter if you’re leading a team of developers at a large company or writing code on your own at home. Learning some good marketing skills is essential if you want to maximize the chances that someone will actually see your work one day. And if you don’t strive for that, what’s the point in doing that work in the first place?
Some people group this under project organization, but it’s a different field with its own unique set of requirements. Knowing how to set specific tasks in your projects, and how to sort through the work you currently have lined up, is going to prove crucial in building good developer skills in the long run. Many people work inefficiently simply because they don’t know how to prioritize different aspects of their work, or because they don’t know how to track their progress efficiently.
There are many tools out there that can assist you with that, and it’s in your best interest to familiarize yourself with them and figure out how they work. It doesn’t even take that much effort to learn the basics of something like a Kanban board manager or a similar tool, and it can get you started on the right track quite effectively.
Along with these things, pay attention to your social skills. There’s a stereotype around software developers portraying them as awkward, asocial, and uncommunicative, but the reality is that those people are typically the low-tier developers that never manage to progress anywhere beyond a starting position. If you want to move upwards in an organization, you’ll need to work on your skills for expressing yourself clearly and professionally and align your interests with those of others.
These are things that no software development course is going to teach you, which is unfortunate, because you can often go farther in a company with better social skills and somewhat weaker technical aptitude compared to the opposite. Almost nobody is excluded from improving their social skills to a good enough level, so whenever you have the time, you should definitely sit down and go through some basic learning materials to figure out what you might have been missing.