Some say it has never been a better time to become a programmer. There are tons of great resources with free and paid tutorials, courses, and groups you can find on the Internet. However, only programming skills are just a part of the requirements you will find in any IT job post ad. You will find several other essential skills a programmer should develop.
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There are so many frameworks and languages to consider. Not less than 150 programming languages to be more precise, although some sources dare to count them in thousands. It all depends on the definition and criteria. But all the same, to an inexperienced eye, it may look like a maze. If you are just starting as a programmer professional or you are a tech graduate, you are in the information supermarket. And although the goal of learning sources is to be helpful, they can be a bit confusing too.
Be it a list of 11 essential skills for a developer or 97 things every programmer should know, there are always a couple of hovering questions. Is there a single secret ingredient or a magic potion that will make you a great software developer in the future? Would it be some particular technology skill set or some soft skill that will set you apart from the competition? And the competition is only growing in numbers.
Although the range of sources, tips, and discussions are practically bottomless, we tried to wrap some of them and offer our view on the subject.
Tech Skills Set
Without a doubt, technological knowledge is one of the essential features for a developer. It will open you the door into the industry and ensure your first professional engagement. Regardless of the programming language, you are currently into, some general points should be in the lingo of every software developer. Your tech stack is your ID card. The first thing the HR department will see when you send them your resume.
One thing that is also tightly related to the IT sector is continuous learning. In one of our earlier blog posts, we listed top podcasts as a source where software developers can follow the latest news from the industry.
Typically, mastering version control software is seldom required of you. Yet, surely you will need some elementary practical knowledge and understanding of VCS. And to be fair, the knowledge of version control software is really important and necessary. It was important before the COVID era because it is not related only to the physically near you colleagues. The whole development team depends on and contributes to the code change, wherever they are. Git and Github are omnipresent terms in the software development world. So, find the sources for learning either basic of it or some more advanced level.
Many developers will argue the relevance and importance of this part of the interview. Yet, regardless of the peer discussion, there are slim chances you will avoid talking about data structure and algorithms during the interviews. So, without further ado, roll up your sleeves when it comes to this one. If you have not graduated in computer science or did not have a chance to deal with algorithms, today is the perfect day to start with that. Maybe it is not an essential skill for a developer, but it certainly can be necessary.
Another bread and butter of every programmer text editors or even better IDEs. And yes, no doubt there will be frequent meetings, especially when it comes to larger projects. And lots of discussion before starting working on a feature. Yet a text editor is one of the applications on your computer that will hardly ever remain unopened during working hours. Either you are currently working in a text editor or IDE, the advice is the same. Take some time and find the most suitable one for your needs and spend some more time learning its ins and outs.
Learn and apply
The apply-the-learned-concepts-to-new-problems method of course is something that is desirable in every industry and IT is not an exception. Investing your time in learning is always trending. Truth to be told, with all the available resources, there is practically no excuse why it should not be a regular habit.
It’s not a bug, it’s a feature
Problem solvers and can-do attitudes are also buzzwords of almost every job ad related to the IT field. Naturally, before problem-solving, you need to be able to identify that problem first and draw the steps and ways of solving it. Plus, problem-solving is practically the synonym for software development. That being said, it is definitely one of the essential skills to have.
You probably noticed that in most common social media images a programmer is sitting in front of the screen and doing the coding. Yet, the reality is that this is only a part of the story. The other part of the reality is that every complex and large project requires at least intermediate communication skills. Namely, the concepts you are working on have to be explained both to technical and non-technical people during (usually) numerous meetings. This is especially true when stakeholders and/or product owners expect you to come up with new ideas, solutions, and suggestions. You should be proactive and suggest new features and the development of a product you are working on.
Although the first association when talking about communication skills is speaking, don’t neglect the writing part of the communication as well. Writing skills apply to everything from Slack chats to writing documentation, instructions to less experienced colleagues, mentees, or Medium articles.
Do you speak English?
Additionally, brace yourselves if English is not your mother tongue. The market is changing quickly, and although only a couple of years ago it was enough to chat through the written form of communication, the requirements have upgraded. There will also be tests included of all areas of English – reading, writing, listening, while speaking is evaluated usually at the very beginning of the screening process.
And since interview steps involve video calls with end clients at a very early stage, it is evaluated in that way, and practically there is no way to avoid that part.
Even after the onboarding process is successfully finalized many outsourcing companies internally organize additional language courses for the developers. That way, the programmers have the opportunity to upscale both their communication and language skills to a higher level.
All in all, this segment is definitely the one that counts as a necessary and elementary skill to have.
One of the regular nice-to-haves in the job ads is organizational skills. They will help you break complex tasks into smaller points no matter your experience level. That way, you get the issues you can more easily manage and resolve. More importantly, keeping organized will help you keep the track of your work in general and deal more efficiently with problems that may occur.
More specifically, you can read more about time management tips and tricks in a separate article.
The list can go on and on with new sets and subsets of skills indefinitely as every project and challenge require a bit of tweaking of established practices.
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