If you ever had a chance to compare the resumes of 2 developers who come from nearly identical backgrounds and skills – languages, frameworks, platforms, methodologies, industries; you may find them practically to be the same person – on paper. However, not both could be equal while comparing their success metrics.
The roadmap to success for a developer is not limited to bearing technical skills and credible experience. It is a long journey of immense hard work and dedication as well as crucial behavioral characteristics and optimal mindset that sets one apart from the crowd. To make a mark in the software development industry, there are a few traits and habits that are widely considered by professionals as value-boosting add-ons that give them an edge over the rest.
1. Write Clean, Readable, And Reusable Code
In the context of software development, everyone can write code, but not everyone can write good code. A successful developer is the one who makes sure their code is clean, robust, flexible, and reusable – not just for themselves in the future but also for anyone else working on it in the future, irrespective of the coding standard or methodology used. While it is easy to write line after line and not pay attention to your function size, you need to pause and remember that you’re going to be spending more time reading and testing it than writing it. It is important to understand that when you go back to read it, you should be able to understand it quickly and know what you’re meant to do.
2. Constantly Expand Your Knowledge Base
Underestimating oneself is dangerous – but so is overestimating. A successful software developer is never complacent; they know there is always something new that they do not know about and are always levelling up their know-how.
Be on the lookout for new improvement opportunities. To keep pace with the advancements, you can join skill enhancement programs, online training, read tutorials, watch videos, etc. Upskilling yourself will be a valuable habit to develop in your career.
3. Be Disciplined And Persistent
A successful software developer is constantly looking to expand their knowledge and sticking their nose into new languages. However, that route is not free of obstacles. To successfully learn something new and gain expertise, one needs to be stubbornly disciplined and not too attached to their comfort zones.
Being disciplined helps finish what you started – and on time – without compromising on quality for speed. Persistence, on the other hand, is what will help you to go beyond the pain-points, beat all the odds and obstacles, and ace your deadlines – both personal and professional.
4. Get Help From Strangers On The Internet
Don’t confuse persistence with pride. Successful developers don’t allow their egos to turn a programming problem into an unnecessary productivity drain—especially not when a solution may be readily available online. Sometimes, asking for help—yes, Google counts—is the most efficient first step toward a solution. Research what the code does and why it solves the problems. Do not just cut/copy and paste. Lack of background knowledge could create problems in your code.
5. Know Your Forte
Not everyone is made for doing everything. You may be good at developing UI and UX but may not be an expert at developing the back-end of an application. Successful software developers know their forte and work around that to succeed in whatever they do.
6. Be Open For New Things
Another habit of successful developers is being open to new things and going the distance in embracing them when it is required. To meet a client’s expectation, a developer may be required to go an extra mile in researching and discovering every aspect of technology. Successful developers are in a constant feat of exploring new technologies, methodologies, and frameworks that help them stay abreast with the latest trending topics.
7. Listen More Than You Speak—Or At Least Listen Before You Speak
If you’re in an office with other developers, listen first, then speak. It’s the quickest way to learn.
This requires humility, especially if you think you’re the smartest person in the room. Great developers have the ability and willingness to admit when they do not know something. Refrain from being that programmer who spews out a bunch of technical jargon instead of acknowledging they might not yet know the answer to a particular question.
8. Pay Attention To The Details
Any successful developer can tell you that to write a perfect code or to complete a project, one needs to pay detailed attention to the client’s requirements and work accordingly. You would not want to work on a piece of code again and again because of a small semicolon that you forgot to add while terminating a line of code. Similarly, be responsible for the objective and the goal that the code you are working on is intended to achieve. Successful developers are always aware of how each line of their code helps to drive the business as a whole.
9. Deeply Focus On The Right Thing
The ability to focus on the shared goal of a particular project without getting side-tracked by nice-to-haves or pie-in-the-sky thinking that isn’t moving you closer to your target is vital. It is understandable to go down rabbit holes or get wrapped up in the edge cases of a particular technical implementation. When you step back a little bit, you might realize that you’re putting a lot of effort into something that is not that crucial to the broader goal that everyone is trying to achieve. Make sure you’re on the same wavelength as the rest of the team. Successful developers understand that innovation is a team sport.
10. Have The End Product In Mind All The Time
You cannot hit a target that you cannot see. You must set clear goals for where you are headed and what you really want to achieve at the end of your project. If you start developing a project keeping this mantra in your mind, there is always a better chance to stand out from the rest.