Essential Qualities Employers Seek in Junior Developers

February 16, 2024

Being a newbie in the software development industry can be challenging. Sometimes, it's hard to know what employers want or do not want in a candidate. Without intervention, you could easily spend months or years trying to get a job. Are you looking to hire a junior software developer? Do you want to know the most important skills they should have?

Here at Cloud Employee, we work with companies looking to hire professional offshore developers in the Philippines. In this article, we’ll share ten qualities that every junior developer, must-have.

Who is a Junior Software Developer?

A  junior software developer is an entry-level software developer who assists a development team with writing and maintaining code. A junior software developer’s primary duty is to learn the codebase, work on small bug fixes, write basic code, and participate in paired programming activities with higher-level developers.

As a junior developer, no one expects you to have the same level of expertise as a mid or senior-level software developer. However, employers still expect you to have some essential qualities as a junior developer; most of these qualities are soft skills.

A while ago, there were only a few qualified software developers, so; employers would hire anyone with hard technical skills. In the 21st century, things are very different. There’s an abundance of skilled software developers to meet the rising demand. Employers are pretty much spoilt for choice. Because of this, a junior software developer must possess qualities that go beyond the raw technical abilities that every other developer has. Here is a list of the top ten qualities that every junior software developer should have:

10 Must-Have Qualities Employers Look for in Junior Software Development

1. Analytical and problem-solving skills

A good developer should be able to identify and solve problems. To do this requires a highly analytical mind that can notice patterns and deviations. Problem-solving is about using logic and imagination to analyze a situation and then develop smart solutions to that problem. That’s not all. A developer with problem-solving skills can also foresee future issues and proactively make decisions to prevent them or mitigate their consequences.

Anyone who even has the slightest experience with software knows that software development revolves around problem-solving. That’s what debugging is about – identifying errors in written code and fixing them. Whether it’s debugging or other technical issues, employers want to know that junior developers can recognize and solve problems.

2. Ability to work as a team player

This is a big one, mainly because most software geeks tend to be introverts who spend hours on end by themselves. Gone are the days when employers adjusted their team structure to accommodate the "I-walk-alone" nature of developers. Now, employers require developers to fit into the team and work closely with other team members to achieve results.

Even if you're applying for a job in a company that only does software development, you'll still work closely with other developers. Often, these companies operate through teams of developers with different skill sets. It’s unlikely that you’ll land a job working alone as a developer. Considering that you’re a junior developer, it’s a hundred times more unlikely. So, there’s no way around it; you need to be a team player if you want to land a junior developer role.

Employers are quite open about wanting team players. In interviews, the panel will undoubtedly ask about your teamwork skills. It's not enough to just say, "yes, I'm a team player." Instead, it would help if you gave instances where you worked in a team successfully. You can go further to describe situations where working with the team was challenging, but you still managed to pull through.

3. Competence

Remember that you're applying for a job as a software developer and not a 'problem-solver' or 'team player.' So, you need to demonstrate competence in software development. It's great to work on developing your soft skills, but do not lose sight of the actual job you’re applying for. No matter how impressive your soft skills are, employers will never hire you if you fail to demonstrate that you have the basic technical know-how of a software developer.

At this point, we need to emphasize the word ‘basic.’ Many junior developers make the mistake of trying to impress employers with their knowledge of the latest technologies in mobile app or software development. While it's commendable that you're familiar with the latest trends, you'll hardly be a useful developer if you're not familiar with the fundamental aspects of software development. There's no point showing off your skills in modern techniques if you're not familiar with, say, HTML or CSS.

4. Ability to learn

The world of software development is constantly changing and evolving. There's little if any guarantee that the skills we learn today will be relevant tomorrow. Because of this, it’s imperative that junior software developers acquire the skill of learning and adapting to changes rapidly. It’s the only way to survive in the industry.

A quick search will show you that many of the technological trends in 2018 are no longer so popular in 2020. Employers want to hire developers who can remain relevant to them and the software industry, so it's in your interest to develop the ability to learn.

5. Time management

Working as a software developer means that you’ll have targets to hit and deadlines to meet. Clients will give management pressure to deliver projects on time, and you can be sure that management will, in turn, pass that pressure on to you. Therefore, a good developer should know how to schedule tasks and manage their time adequately to meet deadlines. Good time management also means that you’re able to speak up and explain why it’ll be impossible to meet a particular deadline.

6. Communication skills

The only way a project can succeed is if all the team members are on the same page, each working to achieve a common goal. This can only happen through frequent and effective communication. Unfortunately, a lot of developers are bad communicators, and this may cause problems. Employers want developers who can communicate with their colleagues and team leaders.

When you work on-site, communication comes naturally, but it’s a lot harder when you work as a remote developer. If you have poor communication skills, get to work on it right away, or you can stay away from remote jobs where communication is critical.

7. Hard work

No one likes to work with a person who is always tired or always complaining. In the same way, employers are looking out for hardworking junior software developers who know how to get things done. Undoubtedly, software development is a tough job. There will be many times when you'll have to work extra hours after the official nine to five working hours.

Indeed, you'll rarely start at nine and end at five. Instead, you'll find yourself awake deep in the night, working to meet a deadline. And then there's the pressure from managers to deliver quality products at a faster pace. Therefore, a junior developer should be resilient, hardworking, and capable of dealing with stress and extreme pressure.

8. Able to see the big picture

Often, software developers get lost in the small section of code that they’re working on. They get carried away and forget that there are other people and other aspects of the project. It's easy to become selfish and think about only what you need to complete your part of the project. But remember that without the rest of the team and the project as a whole, the tiny bit of code that you're so proud of will be meaningless.

Looking at the big picture gives you a different perspective on things; it gives you the ability to observe and improve your team's work. A junior developer who understands this will be interested in the team's success as a whole, not just in their personal success. And that's the kind of person employers want in their organizations.

9. Attention to detail

This is another vital skill for junior software developers. Your success as a developer depends heavily on your ability to notice little errors. Employers are looking for junior developers who are meticulous and perhaps even picky about the most minute details. Such people can write clean, near-perfect code with hardly any errors. The fewer errors that need correcting in your code, the more valuable you are as a developer.

10. Professionalism

Do not make the mistake of focusing on only technical skills and neglecting other aspects of your career development. One factor you should pay particular attention to is your professionalism. Especially when you're young in the industry, you need to present yourself in a way that makes people take you seriously. Spend some time studying some seniors in the industry – what do they wear? How do they relate with fellow developers? How did they get to where they are? Here are some other tips that can help you to look professional:

  • have standards and stick to them.
  • Have clear boundaries.
  • Don't pretend to know something when you don't.
  • Learn how to negotiate win-win situations.


Now that you know the top ten qualities that employers are looking for, we are confident that you’ll have no problem landing your dream junior software development job. Thanks for reading; if you enjoyed this article, please leave a comment in the section below.

We hope you found this article useful. Here at Cloud Employee, we assist companies looking to hire dedicated offshore developers across many technologies. Talk to us, learn more how Cloud Employee works, or see our Developer Pricing Guide.