Published on December 24th, 2018 | by Sunit Nandi


The Basic Skills Every Software Developer Must Have

Today, more than ever, is a great time to seek a career in technology. The IT job market isn’t slowing down, and opportunities in technology continue to grow. Postings for software developers on job sites like Vanhack in the second quarter of 2018 increased by 32% over the postings in 2017.

Which One Is For You

If you’re thinking about growing your career as a software developer, be aware that there are basic skills every software developer needs in addition to the specific technology skills required for the position. Knowing the differences between a software developer vs web developer is the first step to take before we look at basic skills.

Some people may use the terms ‘software developer’ and ‘web developer’ interchangeably, and while have some similarities, they are not the same. Look at the salary difference. According to the department of labor, a web developer’s earning potential is lower than that of a software developer. That’s because the minimum educational requirement for a software developer is a bachelor’s degree while a web developer may obtain a position with an associates degree. Web developers also generally need some experience with graphic design.

Know the Basics

If you’re currently a software developer wanting to advance your career, or perhaps you’re a web developer that is seeking additional education to become a software developer, you should focus on these basic skills:

  • Reading comprehension
  • Discipline to learn new technologies
  • Attention to details
  • Organizational structure

Excellent reading comprehension is the first essential skill that employers will evaluate. While this skill may seem too obvious to make the list, it’s one of the most important skills in any technology job. Consider that work orders for software developers usually come in written form. It is essential that software developers are able to extract the requirements out of the communication while considering the context coming from style and tone. Software developers who headline rather than reading to understand the instruction can find their work returned to them for rewrite or correction. As a software developer, your career will be limited if your work is consistently returned for correction.

Having the discipline to continually learn new technologies is essential for your software development career. With the continual evolution in technology tools, you should plan to be a lifelong learner. If not lifelong, then at least until you retire from a career as a software developer. Occasionally, your employer may provide the training, but this is not always the case. Learning new technical skills and studying after hours should be considered a requirement for your professional development like many other trades.

Attention to detail in your work is another essential skill. Misspelling in code as well as user interface looks unprofessional and can limit your career. When senior engineers or managers review your work, the exceptional functionality you created may be overshadowed by a single misspelled word.

Organization and Management

Software developers also need the ability to organize their work. Although the work can be highly creative, it needs to be organized. Just as a painter doesn’t want to paint himself into a corner, a software developer should avoid “spaghetti code” that paints him into corner when it comes to future extension of the functions or maintenance of the code. A well organized software developer will pre-plan his functionality by making comments that create a map for himself or others who may have to make changes to the code in the future. Software developers who organize their work will be more likely to find quicker turnaround and easier defect management. This organization skill extends to other areas of the job including timeliness in completing work products and effectively communicating with your team and manager about the progress.

The path to a successful software development career is easy to understand, but like many things it will take devotion to skill development in order to achieve higher levels of expertise and compensation. Consider which of your basic skills needs the most improvement and develop a plan to sharpen them in 2019.

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I'm the leader of Techno FAQ. Also an engineering college student with immense interest in science and technology. Other interests include literature, coin collecting, gardening and photography. Always wish to live life like there's no tomorrow.

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