Finding a truly great software developer nowadays is like looking for a needle in a haystack—all but impossible.
Sure, there are a lot of good programmers out there who will do their job just, and most of the time, you will be satisfied with their work. Plus, you’ll definitely have an easier time pinning them down than you would a great developer.
So, why would you go after this rare species, waste your valuable time and resources, when you can opt for an average developer instead? What’s so special about “the greats”?
Well, one thing that comes to mind is that they are three times more productive than your average developer, and 10 times more than a bad one (Source: The Mythical Man-Month). Sounds like quite a lot, doesn’t it?
It actually is, once they start doing their magic.
Something else to remember when it comes to developers is that great ones are able to not only write solid code, but also have certain traits which make them as desirable as they are. Now, if you don’t have a lot of experience with hiring programmers, you won’t know which qualities to pay attention to.
Luckily, here at Kolosek, we do.
After years and years of working with both good and bad programmers, we’ve managed to pinpoint the traits which you should always look for in developers.
Today, we’ve decided to share with you seven traits which make a great software developer, in hopes of helping you find yours. It might take a while for you to stumble upon them, but once you do, you’ll be able to recognize them with more ease.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Here’s the thing about great developers: they never accept matters as they are. Whether their code works or doesn’t, they are always trying to dig deeper into what they’re doing and find the answers to every “why” they have to ask.
Great programmers are not afraid to experiment, either—they are willing to approach projects from different points of view or learn new languages which will help them improve themselves. In short: they possess a strong love of learning and are curious by nature.
If you come across a developer who’s not inquisitive and who’s scared to ask “why”, it usually means that they don’t have the knowledge they need to solve certain problems and probably can’t justify why they’re doing what they’re doing.
Developers’ main tool for work is their computer, so it’s only logical that they know how to navigate their devices from the technical point of view. Right? However, what sets great software developers apart from average ones when it comes to this is that they not only understand computers (and other related devices), but actually enjoy figuring out the logic behind them.
It’s simple, really—a software developer needs to possess great technical skills and, more importantly, they need to be able to explain the technical parts to non-tech people they find themselves working with.
Aside from a technical mindset, your perfect software developer needs to have an analytical mindset, too. What does this mean exactly? They need to be able to solve complex and simple problems alike, by making decisions based on the available information. Great developers have a solid set of thinking skills which they can use in different situations, and they can consider both the big picture and the smallest of details, if needed.
Great at Managing Tasks and Time
Here’s something a lot of people overlook, but that’s as equally important as the love of learning and technical mindset: great software developers are incredibly reliable. This means that they can always organize themselves in a way that will allow them to finish all of their tasks on time, and that they respect the given deadlines.
“The greats” are known for their strong work ethic, and they never fail to show up at a meeting or for a call with their client. If you decide to hire a developer, then make sure that they can manage their time, tasks, and clients all by themselves, and that you don’t need to manage them while they’re working.
Good Communication Skills
Believe it or not, good communication skills are not just about speaking a high level of the English language and being able to talk to your clients and/or employers. No, having good communication skills means being able to convey an idea in an accurate and effective manner. It means being able to get your point across and understanding what others are trying to tell you. It means knowing how to communicate with the people you work with.
And while it’s really difficult to figure out whether someone has supreme communication skills over the phone or email, a face-to-face meeting will tell you exactly what you need to know. If your potential developer’s communication skills are not as good as you’d want them to be, chances are that they won’t be able to do their job right.
Code is unpredictable. That’s why great software developers need to be adaptable, no matter which programming language they specialize in. So, say, if the scope of a project changes unexpectedly, a developer needs to be able to deal with that change and continue working. A great programmer is constantly aware of the fact that anything could change, and they need to learn how to think on their feet.
Whether you work as a developer, designer, or a content writer, chances are you’ll probably work with other developers, designers, and writers in your career, if not entire teams of them. If not flying solo, a developer will need to work closely with e.g. a marketing or sales team, or even their client’s team. That’s why, if they want to be successful in what they do, they need to be able to collaborate with their peers and be a fantastic team player.
A great developer won’t hesitate to offer their teammates help when they get stuck, teach new skills to others, and even write tutorials that can help not only the other members of their team, but the entire developer community, as well.
It’s hard to attract great software developers, it really is. Not only are they in high demand (and, ironically, rarely “on the market”), but they are also after cool projects they can work on and won’t accept just any job. So, if you want to get the best of the best, you need to have an exciting offer ready for them, a serious job interview in place, and you might want to pay attention to the traits mentioned above. The latter might not be the deciding factor in who you get to hire, but it can certainly help you make your choice.
We hope you found this post interesting and that it’ll help you out in your search! If you’ve got any traits you’d like to add to the list, let us know.