Why do some software engineers climb the ranks at breakneck speed while others seem to spend years becoming a sought-after developer?
In a market where talent is in demand, it’s not the hardest challenge to find an opportunity as a software developer.
However, in this second addition to our ‘Everything you need to know about being a software developer’ series, we want to share exactly what separates good developers from great ones.
Funnily enough, there is a misunderstanding that if you solely focus on technical skill development, the better your opportunities will be.
Truthfully, advancing your career in software development calls for essential non-technical skills that will not only make you more marketable, they’ll make you a high-value addition to any cross-functional team.
Here are the five essential non-technical skills that every software developer needs.
1. Computer Science Knowledge
While knowledge in this area might not translate into you being an amazing programmer, it will help you create better programmes.
A background in Computer Science gives you the depth and understanding for improved performance that you may miss during practical application. You’ll have a better understanding of how to problem-solve within frameworks as well as have a better grasp of the creative scope available in programmes. This means you’ll be able to take more initiative without the guidance of others.
When employers see that you’re focused on multi-level skill development, they’ll be more confident in your ability to build great software and subsequently mentor others in those areas.
2. High-Level Thinking (Software Architecture)
Being able to perform the high-level thinking that goes with software architecture will lead to greater efficiency and improved performance.
The development of software has shifted to a more distributed approach, and teams working on the same piece of software could also be far more distributed than before. This could lead to poorly constructed architecture or inconsistent codebases, resulting in massive slumps in output and failure to achieve goals.
Expanding your understanding of software architecture will help you to know exactly what makes the software architecture work. This breath of knowledge will give you insight into possible solutions that others do not see.
By positioning yourself as a software engineer who understands the thinking behind architectural decisions, you instantly place yourself in a position of leadership and are naturally able to help your team achieve more.
3. Soft Skills
You’ve probably heard about soft skills time and time again.
That’s because soft skills such as rapport building, conflict resolution and problem-solving are (and will always be) essential in a team-oriented and client-driven environment.
Team members who can communicate ideas effectively are usually able to complete their tasks more efficiently and quickly. Having the soft skills to carefully discuss key milestones and ideas also helps other team members understand their roles and contributions better.
A strong communication skill set coupled with good software development will open doors to many leadership positions that will quickly advance your career.
4. Ability to Interface with The Rest of the Business
Agile software development has changed the way that teams work.
With quick releases, higher accountability, increased collaboration and greater communication across businesses, software engineers now need to have a greater understanding of the business as a whole. In fact, some companies may even expect you to switch into client-facing bits of work if there is a need.
Being flexible and understanding the greater business is going to make you an incredibly valuable asset to your workplace.
5. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is a skill which allows you to identify the emotions in yourself and the emotions in others.
As we shift our focus towards the customer experience, emotional intelligence becomes essential when developing a great final product. Developers with strong emotional awareness will be able to focus on improved performance for the target client. This will help with developing highly-effective product solutions.
Emotional intelligence is also important in your day-to-day relationships, whether you’re working with colleagues, leading a team, or mentoring juniors.
How Can You Build or Improve These Skills?
When it comes to skill development, it’s best to start with a benchmark of where you are right now.
Skilledd’s online platform helps software engineers to assess their ability through a comprehensive screening and benchmarking process.
Once your profile is complete with the relevant technical assessments, you’ll be offered advice on the necessary steps you can take for improved performance and expertise.
Build your profile with Skilledd to further develop both your soft and tech skills. Get started here: www.skilledd.com