6 Lifestyle Skills You Should Learn as a Developer
Because technical skills can only take you so far
I have been in the IT industry for almost seven years now. Most of the time I worked as a developer. When I started my career, just like anyone else I thought that learning a programming language is enough for being a super-coder. But as much time as I have spent in this industry, I learned that having knowledge about a programming language is not enough. We have to develop some of the personality skills as well, especially if we don’t possess them naturally.
Of course, learning a programming language is a must for being a developer. But this is only the first step — not everything.
In this article, I’ll share what I thought a programmer should have if they want to be an efficient developer.
Consistency is a necessary component for success, not just as a developer but in life too. Unfortunately, most of the time people don’t recognize how crucial consistency is.
By consistently delivering quality work, you establish a reputation. You will be known as someone who delivers understandable and scalable code. And when others know you, you will be recognized as an authority and as a credible source.
In software development teams, there is almost always a person who is preferred. They are preferred because they are consistent with their attitude and their actions. When you commit to something and you follow through, you’ll get inner confidence, and you will gain the trust of your team too. It’s important to remember that
“Consistency is not perfection. “ — Unknown
Definitely, consistency doesn’t mean that you have to produce high-quality code that works perfectly and has no bugs. Unfortunately, most of the time, it’s not possible. However, if you consistently write code with minor bugs only, you know that you’re improving as a developer. And this is exactly what you have to do. Just try to improve constantly by educating yourself and learning from failures.
Whenever I tell someone that I’m a software developer, they always say, “You must be super smart, then.” To be honest, I highly doubt that. Being a developer, I have felt dumb so many times that they can’t even imagine.
Usually, people have a mindset that software developers are good at math. Some of the developers might be, but not all of us. For that matter, math isn’t even always required. No doubt software fields like Data Science, Machine Learning, AI, etc. require a lot of mathematical programming, but to develop a web or mobile application, it’s not required.
Instead of being a mathematical wiz, you mostly need a creative mind. Because today’s software needs you to create something from nothing: A blank screen. An open text document with a programming language’s file extension.
I certainly believe that software development is creative to some extent. I’m not saying that all software is a creative endeavor. I’m not even proposing that business software development is not technical at all. My suggestion is that creative people can and do excel as software developers because they come equipped with the right mental tools. Business, people, and abstract thinking are mostly creative skills. So, the next time someone tells you they wouldn’t make a good programmer because they’re not good at math, you can tell them, “You don’t have to be!”
3. Problem Solving
As I said before, the software is creating something from nothing. Software is for the people from the people. Every single day, whenever my product owner shares the requirements with me, I have to think about possible solutions. As a developer, we receive the requirements as problems which we have to solve. Sometimes, you can get the solution from your past experiences, but other times you really have to brainstorm to find the right path. You should know in which direction you should think; otherwise, you’ll just be stuck in your thoughts.
Software engineering is about problem-solving first, coding second.
Computers need to be told exactly what to do; they can’t make assumptions like a human would when given vague instructions. Secondly, software engineers are tasked with designing features and applications that may not even exist yet, so it’s a developer’s job to come up with the user interface on the frontend and data infrastructure on the backend to power it from scratch.
Do you remember when your parent told you to be responsible? Responsible about certain things in your family, responsible about your own life? I hope you have listened to them. Because this personality lesson from them is going to help you in your professional growth as well.
When you work as a developer, you should take full responsibility for your work; or let’s just say, full responsibility for assigned tasks to you. Being responsible for your work items is not just to deliver them on time, but if somehow you’re not able to finish any of the tasks before the deadline, don’t say that it’s because of some other human being.
I know, when you develop an application, it’s not just you, it’s multiple people with different skillsets working in a team, maybe in more than one team. But, let’s say, you have some dependency on another teams’ work, then it’s your responsibility to get it done from their side. They might be following their own schedule. It’s you who needs something from them even before their scheduled time. So you have to be very attentive. You have to convince them to deliver the stuff so that your task will not be delayed.
Of course, it’s not about the argument, but getting things done in a proper and smooth manner. If you still see something at risk, just let your superiors know about it upfront. We should always avoid surprises at the last moment.
5. Team Work
Teamwork can refer to a number of different things: working with others to achieve a single goal, a collaborative action from multiple individuals, or even just an effective and efficient collaboration with other people.
As a developer, we should take this opportunity to get the benefits of working in/as a team. You don’t have to be a nerd who prefers to work alone. You have to understand that when you get stuck, your team is there to help you out. Don’t burn yourself out too much when your team is easily approachable.
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together.“ — African Proverb
Teamwork allows people with different complementary skills and areas of expertise to come together and share their ideas, thoughts, knowledge, and solutions. Different perspectives of the team members can drive creativity and innovation.
Knowledge sharing is a massive advantage in organizations today. By working in a team, you can learn from each other, improve your skillset, and increase your expertise in certain areas of development.
When team members overcome obstacles, they feel like they’re helping the group achieve its goals. Owning their work and taking full accountability for their success or failure is important. A healthy team will self-manage and hold other team members accountable, thereby instilling the value of ownership.
Dedication means being loyal to someone or something. Dedication is caring about something to an extreme extent.
When you’re dedicated to something, you give everything you have — all of your efforts, all of your time, all of your love.
This is an important trait to exemplify in the workplace in particular.
A developer’s career is full of obstacles. Almost every day, you will face new challenges and new problems. Sometimes you can fix them easily, other times you will get stuck. If you’re not dedicated, instead of stepping up, you will stay down and disappointed.
Dedication at the workplace teaches discipline, passion, and time management, which are the key factors for being successful. When you show dedication towards your work, you will gain the trust of your organization. They will feel secure having you around. Whenever they have something difficult or challenging, they will know who can handle it. By doing more challenging stuff, you’ll continuously learn new things and improve your position too.
No doubt that doing more challenging work, you may feel frustrated sometimes. But if you are dedicated or passionate about your goal, you will not quit until the work is done. And at the end of the day, you will feel satisfied.
Following these lifestyle skills will help you produce more high-quality work. You’ll be more efficient at your workplace. You’ll be valued by your superiors and your employer. These skills will allow you to be happier at your job and feel secure with your position knowing that you are valued.
This is it for this article. I hope it’ll be beneficial for you, so you can achieve your goals. Let me know if you have anything that you think a developer should possess.
Thanks for reading!
Front End Developer by the day and a Front End Developer by the night as well 😉