Launching a career as a software developer means a lot of things. It’s a mix of many different skills, attitudes and natural abilities. It’s not for everyone, and not everyone’s going to be great at it, but if you’ve got these following ten qualities, then you might have what it takes to become a successful programmer.

Basic technical knowledge

Like any industry, knowing the basics is 90% of the job. Like a mechanic who can strip an engine down and rebuild it, it may be impressive, but if he can’t change a tyre he’s not a real mechanic. It’s the same in programming. Just because someone knows the latest mobile app development, doesn’t mean they have experience in HTML. A professional programmer should know what <H2 > means

Ability to learn at a rapid pace

The world of software development changes so fast, everything we learn today may be useless in a couple of years. That’s why it’s important to be willing to learn and adapt to new languages and platforms. Those who can’t won’t last long in this business.

Knowing how to debug

Writing programming code is only one part of a professional programmer’s day. When code doesn’t work as it should, a programmer is expected to get to the root of the problem fast. Instead of spending hours blindly making changes, a good programmer will carefully investigate his code and research possible issues until the answer is found.

Be a natural problem solver

The best software developers tend to be good at solving problems. And we don’t mean math problems. Games, puzzles – anything there’s a pattern involved – a good programmer can see it, work it out, and fix the problem. No matter how “impossible” it may be.

Put in the extra hours

Software development isn’t a 9-5 job. Any junior programmer will tell you that. Fixing code brings with it long, lonely hours, staring at a monitor, and drinking obscene amounts of coffee and/or red bull. Fortunately, most programmers find this description paradise, and do exactly this kind of thing in their spare time anyway.

Be able to handle stress

It’s those extra hours that allow you to meet a deadline – and trust us, there’s always a deadline. When a client has put a lot of money into something, and there’s a launch date, it’s your job to meet it. But when things are working out, how are you going to handle the pressure? If you curl up into the foetal position and start crying, maybe a job as a professional programmer isn’t for you.

See the big picture

It’s easy to get lost in one bit of code, but a good programmer will be able to see the bigger picture. They can see ideas for the scope of the software and will suggest different applications and ideas moving forward.

Take the highs with the lows

Failure in software development is a certainty. It’s going to happen. Every programmer at some point has spent hours on a piece of code, only to delete it all at the end because it wasn’t working. It’s frustrating, it’s time consuming and it’s costly- but it’s going to happen. Getting up and moving on without taking it to hard is essential in a good programmer.

Ability to work in a team

The stereotypical image of a programmer working alone in a dark room is nonsense. Even if you’re the only developer in the company, you’ll rarely work alone. Everyone from designers, clients, business owners, marketing and sales staff and of course other programmers will be working alongside you. If you’re not good working with others, then become a copywriter.

These are just a few of the traits needed to be a great professional programmer. Attention to detail is also important. For example, this article was titled ‘10 skills every programmer should have’, and we only outlined nine. If you noticed, then give us a call today.


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