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Essential Skills for Programmers

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. Plus, due to COVID-19 some platforms even offered free access to their materials for all the interested parties.

It can feel like in a supermarket, really. There are so many options, that 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 their goal is to be helpful, they can be a bit confusing too.

Be it a list of 11 skills every programmer should learn 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 or some soft skill that will set you apart from the competition?

Although the range of sources, tips, and discussions are practically bottomless, we tried to wrap some of them and to offer our view on the subject.

Tech Skills

Without a doubt, technological knowledge is the feature that will open you the door into the industry and ensure your first professional engagement. Regardless of the programming language, you are currently focusing on, some general points should be found 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.

VCS

Typically, mastering of version control software is seldom required of you. Yet, surely some elementary knowledge is required in practice. And to be fair, the knowledge of version control software is really important and necessary. It does not depend on the fact whether your whole team is in the office around you or if we are talking about the collaboration among several hubs located in different parts of the world. Git and Github are omnipresent terms in the software development world. So, go on, find the sources for learning either basics of it or some more advanced level.

Algorithms

Be it right at the beginning of the communication with your potential employer or during the work on a real-world project, slim chances are you will avoid talking about data structure and algorithms. So, without further ado, roll up your sleeves when it comes to this one. If you have not graduated computer science or did not have a chance to deal with algorithms, today is the perfect day to start with that.

Editors

Another bread and butter of every programmer are text editors or even better IDEs. And yes, 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 the 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 to your needs and spend some more time to learn its ins and outs.

Learn and apply

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 and 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 attitude are also a part 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.

Communication skills

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 of you to come up with new ideas, solutions and suggestions. You should be proactive and suggest new features and 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.

Organization Ninjas

Organization skills 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.

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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Vesna Radović calendar

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