9 Key Skills Needed To Be A Successful Programmer
The advent of the Internet and the rising popularity of the different applications of the Internet in the Nigerian landscape has led to an increase in programming jobs and opportunities both locally and remotely. The rise of companies like Andela, Interswitch (to mention but a few) has solidified this line of thinking.
The proliferation of Internet companies has led to an increase in demand for qualified Programmers to solve the daily problems that these companies face. To you the ‘Aspiring Software developer’, what are the key skills you need to have to be able succeed in the Information technology landscape?
- Computer Programming / Coding
Like duh? A no-brainer actually. The ability to understand computer code is a prerequisite for any programming job. Furthermore, as a developer, you need to know how to build something from scratch and incorporate changes into already built software. So be ready to learn skills like code structuring, database knowledge, algorithms and data structures, amongst others.
It is essential to become familiar with programming languages and operating systems. Try to keep up with them as they evolve, and choose one to master. Basic knowledge in mobile development is also beneficial as companies are becoming more mobile-focused and need developers to build apps and mobile operating systems. Most importantly, learn how to test and debug your own code.
- Logical Thinking & Problem-solving
In programming, even the smallest of errors can lead to problems, and if you can’t solve problems, you might not succeed at developing software. Being a software engineer requires structured thinking as well as the ability to think outside the box for the best answer. As software developers, we spend a significant portion of our time dealing with logic, be it through conditional statements, loops, functions, and myriad other mathematical and problem-solving constructs to try and make a computer do what we want. I say “try” because this process is often based on trial and error, leading to bugs. You could think of bugs in software as flaws in our reasoning when understanding a problem, or a mistake we made when implementing a solution. They are unavoidable, and over time our experience trains us to be better prepared for avoiding some of these issues.
- Developing Your “Soft Skills”
Becoming a software developer involves more than just writing code. There is a need to leverage a variety of other skills to become an effective person in your workplace and earn more money. A major one is “soft skills”. These “skills” are interpersonal personality traits that help us to collaborate and interact with other people effectively. Luckily, like all skills, they can be learned. They include:
- Patience & Attention to Detail
Attention to detail and patience is necessary for programming as well as fixing issues. Software developers may need to locate and identify even the smallest issue in endless lines of coding in order to fix an issue.
- Written Communication
Although Writing is a key skill in business communication, it is a quite underrated skill in a typical developer’s arsenal. As a programmer, learn to clearly express your ideas. This may take some time of practice, but the skill is an asset.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “guru”, teaching is an important skill to have as a developer. You may need to teach others about a topic you are more knowledgeable about than they are, and perhaps learn a thing or two in the process.
Whether it is yours or not, as a software developer, you need to understand where you fit inside a business and do what you can to increase the bottom line. This is key to a business’s growth, and it can help take your career further.
- Interpersonal Skills
This is essential even for remote software developers. Unless you develop software just for yourself, other people are going to influence your career as a software developer. The ability to work well on a team, communicate effectively and have the desire to learn new skills are critical traits for a well-rounded software developer.
Curiosity is a strong fuel for new inventions and self-development. Experimenting helps you discover new solutions and gather valuable experience while testing your assumptions.
In conclusion, software skills are becoming important skills as it isn’t enough to simply be highly-skilled in a technical field. To be able to stand out among hundreds of other applicants, you need to build your personal brand and show your expertise. The need for software developers isn’t going away anytime soon, so level-up those skills as soon as possible.