Our world’s ever-increasing digital lifestyle is made possible by developers. Through the growing popularity of mobile devices, interactive websites, e-commerce, and social networks, we’ve created a spurring demand for developers that has no end in sight. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an 8% increase in developer employment by 2029, which is more than double the national average for all job growth.
There’s no doubt that the future of development careers is incredibly bright, but what exactly does it take to stand out in a crowd of talented problem-solvers? A solid grasp of web fundamentals may be enough to land you the job. However, the majority of development roles will require you to extend yourself beyond the script.
In addition to a strong technical skillset, Poetic’s development team believes four distinct qualities separate good developers from great ones: creativity, a positive attitude, being a team player, and of course, passion.
Great developers find the best and most elegant possible solutions for the end-user. They think outside the box and transcend traditional ideas, rules, and patterns to create meaningful new ideas. Logic and reasoning support problem-solving and critical thinking, but today’s complex solutions require both sides of the brain. With multiple solutions at a developer’s disposal, it takes creativity to imagine how each will perform and ultimately determine which is best suited for the task at hand.
“I think writing code can easily be compared to composing music or writing... It’s about taking familiar or known parts and combining them with new components or arranging them in new and unexpected ways to create something beautiful.”
As with many jobs, becoming a great programmer requires a positive attitude. Great developers check their egos at the door and welcome all types of feedback and constructive criticism.
Maintaining perspective and optimism is important because a developer’s work cycle is riddled with trial, error, and more error. A positive attitude can help deflect feelings of the ever-so-common imposter syndrome and subsequent chronic self-doubt. In a fast-paced industry, becoming paralyzed with fear is not an option. Instead, a great developer works daily to maintain positivity and will find confidence in their steadfast determination and diligent use of resources. Finding comfort in this discomfort is hard, but will improve over time as skills develop and confidence is built.
“Being a programmer is about having overwhelming problems that we manage by breaking them into smaller, more manageable pieces...Don’t focus on the doubt or feeling like an imposter, instead focus on the progress you have made, the stuff you’ve built, and the challenges in the future that will help you grow. Each challenge is a new opportunity to learn something and that learning is a continuous process, even after you are a senior developer.”
Whether a developer is a part of an extensive engineering department or working solo as a contractor, a great one doesn’t problem-solve in a silo. Rather, they prioritize the success of the project by identifying their role in the overall project and user experience. This means being able to effectively communicate with stakeholders and other team members.
Poetic exercises this cross-disciplinary approach to facilitate alignment on a singular vision which allows teams to move forward as a cohesive unit. Working collaboratively requires the ability to offer support as well as gracefully navigate conflicting ideas or solutions. As problems arise, a great developer will openly and respectfully talk through issues and crowd-source a resolution. Likewise, a great developer offers teammates help to unblock them when they are stuck. Teaching new skills and documenting processes for future reference not only helps internal organization and workflow but the open-source community as a whole.
“To me, the core of being a team player is accountability. Taking ownership of a problem, taking responsibility if things don't go perfectly, and striving to learn from those mistakes should they occur. When everyone on a team is doing that, they become far more than the sum of their parts.”
Last but not least, great developers have a passion for continuous learning and growing. They realize the importance of ongoing education for the career path and are driven by an unwavering passion for the craft.
Passion is especially important in web development because techniques and systems fundamentally change every few years or even within months. To keep up with the constantly evolving technological landscape and the ever-growing mountain of new tech to climb, developers must remain curious and plugged into industry news and trends—continually dabbling or exploring with different languages and other elements.
Continued education can be achieved through many forms and many do not require enrolling in formal education or courses. Hundreds, if not thousands, of virtual resources and communities, are available to an aspiring developer. Becoming part of the greater development community through organizations, networking groups, or personal networks is one of the best ways to learn and grow. In an open-source community, developers can share information freely and discuss challenges and variables while learning important techniques and tools.
“Set a goal, push yourself, and stick to it. The way I got into programming was by starting a 6-month online coding bootcamp offered by The University of Texas and Trilogy Education. I set a goal to one day stop teaching and become a web developer. One year later, I scored a position as web developer at Poetic.”
Mastering these four attributes will not only help you progress in your professional career, but it will help set you apart in a job search. Poetic is proud to have a development team that values these qualities and promotes development excellence, which in turn, benefits our wide array of clients.