Who is a world-class software developer?

Published Feb 21, 2018
Who is a world-class software developer?

When you hear the word world-class, what pops into your mind? you must visualize a badass that could find the solution to any technical problem within a blink of an eye or a smart computer genius that knows every technical jargon. Well, you are not entirely wrong but at the same time, there are some important attributes or trait a person must possess before they can be called a world-class developer. Outlined below are the skills, please add to the list if you noticed that I am missing anything using the comment box below.

1. Excellent communication skills: As a world-class software developer, you must be ready to communicate clearly to anyone what you are trying to achieve or communicate effectively within a team. You need to understand that not all communication involves technical details, there are sometimes when you need to convince your stakeholders on a particular issue, either you and your team require an increase in the deadline or you want to inform the product owner why the technology you are using is the best for what you are building. A world-class software developer can dynamically work on any team and thrive like they have been with the team for years. They are able to reach out when they have blockers rather than spending hours trying to fix the issue themselves which could take up valuable time that could be dedicated to other features.

Another way a world-class software developer is an excellent communicator is the ability to give or accept feedback. John is working in a team, he wrote a code that scrapes a website for some information but within the code, there is a line that could cause memory leakage. e.g:

Peter: You have done a great job by writing the code that performs ABC operation but within your code is a function that could use more resources than expected, I think it would be nice if you modify your code to work this way. Provides a sample

James: What the F, do you mean I don't know what I am doing? I have been coding for 10 years and I know better than you, who do you think you are. Get out!

This explains why James couldn't receieve feedback on codes written by him, he believes he has the most experience and whatever code he wrote always gives the best solution without any glitch. Don't be like John 😦

2. Growth mindset: Let me borrow a wise saying from David Attenborough that says: “We only know a tiny proportion about the complexity of the natural world. Wherever you look, there are still things we don’t know about and don’t understand. There are always new things to find out if you go looking for them.”. As a world-class developer, you must always be eager to learn from anyone, you must never be satisfied with your current knowledge, never believe that you have gotten every skill to thrive or you have learned the best programming language and there is ever no need to go through the stress of learning something new.

3. Problem solving skills: World-class software developers can analyze a problem, either technical or not. An example of a non-technical problem is analyzing the impacts building a particular product can have on the users and the best possible ways to build things that solve problems and not just re-inventing the wheel. A world-class software developer is able to see the bigger picture after deeply analyzing and coming up with multiple solutions to a particular problem then coming up with the best possible one that tackles the problems more effectively and won't have any disastrous effect on the organization.

4. Effective collaboration skills: Although this can be folded into Point 1 but let me be broader here. John is a newly employed software developer at XYZ company. John was assigned tasks within a team, he didn't ask questions, he leverages on previous experience he had from his previous companies, and documentation available to get his job done. Unknowingly, he is using the wrong branch naming convention, using the wrong coding style guide or probably omitting some security practices that need to be in place for his project to fully align with XYZ standard. John would have been on a more safer side by looking through the application, asking questions where he needs more clarity or syncing with a teammate to be sure he is doing the right thing. Another instance could be given when a developer is assigned to a team and he refuses to interact with other members, he chose to focus only on his tasks, get them done and push to the GitHub repository. Even if the developer can get things done unmonitored, he is not a world-class developer. Don't be like him
As a world-class software developer, you must be ready to reach out, collaborate within your team members, ask them questions even if it is just to ask them how their day is going or ask if they have any blockers you can tackle with them, this build trust and makes it easy for your team members to communicate with you due to your friendly attitude.

This are just very few points, understanding and implementing them in your day to day activities as a software developer, will make you stand-out from just writing code to a world-class software developer that can succeed within any team. If you have more details that could contribute to this article please comment them below, let us learn together.

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