Spotlight
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 min read

10 important skills that every developer needs

Silvana Paneva
June 12, 2019

In our company, we believe that anyone can be a programmer if their willpower is strong enough and doesn't give up on studying.

But there’s a difference between being an average developer and being a great developer.

If you want to be better at writing code and doing more - you have to improve some skills.

We think that these ten skills are essential and a good way to start improving yourself:


1. Creativity

Creativity,  like any other ability, can be learned and improved with practice. You can train your creativity by reading fiction, writing, drawing, even cooking.

Creativity is important because often the best ideas and solutions come to us when we approach the problem from a different, not so obvious angle.

This is the main difference between creative people and everyone else.

The more ways of creativity you explore, the easier it is to find different ways to solve the same problem, and thus you’ll fix bugs in your code faster than other developers.


2. Problem-solving

Having problems at work is inevitable. Maybe it won’t happen often but you should know how to approach when having one. The most important thing when there’s a new problem is objectivity. You should view it objectively, even if it’s one you created accidentally. When you know exactly what the problem is, you will understand it and find out what caused it. Finding a solution is easier once you know the cause. And it doesn’t matter what programming language you use - if you can’t solve problems, you won’t be very good at developing software.


3. Teamwork

Whether you’re in a team of developers, designers, or a project team, developers need to work well with others. This makes what you’re working on more fun, enjoyable and makes people more likely to help you in the future. Even though, you may not always agree with the people in your team, having different points of view helps to build more successful companies. You have to listen to their ideas and work together to improve them.

Keep in mind that problem-solving is more efficient when teamwork is strong.


4. Communication

Communication is very crucial not only for better client management but also for effective internal communication.

You should learn to listen and understand your audience. The needs and requirements of your customers and users should be a priority if you want to deliver quality products.

When you're working on projects communication is very important. No matter if you're talking in real life, slack, or skype. You have to talk to each other. All members of the team (especially developers) should share what they’re doing at the moment, give feedback, listen to criticism and adjust.


5. Patience

One of the most typical cases, when programming, is to write something you’re confident in and at the end, it doesn’t work.

You have no idea what you did wrong, why your code doesn’t work or how to fix it.

When this happens, you should be patient and review the problem without getting frustrated and letting it discourage you. You should be proud of what you have done and try to understand that the code isn’t the end-product and there are many pieces in making something work.

Furthermore, patience is essential when working with non-developers. You have to explain what you’re doing in a non-technical way, so everyone can understand you. Keep in mind that not everyone knows how difficult programming is, how long code takes to write. People may ask you to do something without realising the difficulty of what they’re asking. That leads to frustration.

Take your time to explain why it’s not as simple as they think so you won’t have problems with this later when working


6. Time-management

Time management is an important skill. Especially when you have a lot to do, then knowing how to manage your time is crucial.

You should plan your time - how much time will you spend coding? When will you work with your team to come up with new ideas? How much time will you spend having a break? You should determine these things.

When your time is managed you will focus on what’s the most important thing at the time and get tasks done more efficiently.


7. Abstract-thinking

Abstract thinking is the ability to think about objects, principles, and ideas that are not physically present.

Abstract thinking is necessary when you're coding because the written code, and what it produces can never be observed and measured physically.

You should try to improve your abstract thinking to become better at programming. In this way, you'll understand the code you read and write better than the average programmer.

This skill is overlooked and ignored, but having the ability to imagine what a program can do and how it does operations is essential to coding.


8. Admitting you’re wrong

Accountability is all about taking ownership of your mistakes. It is difficult to admit that a decision you’ve made created an undesirable result.

But you have to understand that in the long-term if you don’t admit your mistakes, there’s a chance that you or one of your colleagues will make the same mistake in the future.

Instead of running from problems, put your hand up and take responsibility.

Use the opportunity to analyse what went wrong, then use this information to fix the problem and teach yourself and your colleagues how to avoid similar mistakes.


9. Open-mindedness

Open-mindedness is key when discussing and reviewing ideas. Even the worst ideas can inspire something great if you’re willing to consider them before dismissing them.

Of course, not every idea you and your team have will turn into something, but you don’t know what will until you’ve thought about it and consider it.

Keep your mind open to every idea from your team, the whole company and even clients. After all, they are the ones who use your product, that’s why they’re the people to tell you what works, what doesn’t and what they need.


10. Empathy

Empathy is necessary when you work in a team.

If you're an empathic listener, you understand the problems that your colleagues face and make the work flow easier. When there’s understanding in the team, then suggestions are easier to communicate. In this way, there won’t be needless criticism, no matter how someone feels about an idea.

When you don’t like someone's idea - first, ask yourself why you don’t like it. Second, think about which is the best way to say you don’t like it.

When you give feedback, start by saying something positive, then say what you don’t like, and finish with another positive thing. Thanks to this the person you’re giving feedback to won’t concentrate on the negatives but will understand the pros and cons of their ideas.