The Most Underrated Skills Of A Top Developer

Andy Charters
.
August 18, 2023
Tech News

You hear the words ‘top developer’ and your mind suddenly races to intricate coding skills and keen analytical capabilities. But do you know that there are soft skills for software developers that fall outside this circle?

Sure, every skilled developer needs to have a hang of programming languages. Nevertheless, there are so many soft skills for computer programmers that get overlooked for the ‘big stuff.’ These skills are vital and make for a more well-rounded professional. That’s because programming is tasking enough, but with these underrated skills, you may just get ahead of the curve.

1. Communication

Let us start by saying that communication is multi-layered here. First, there is communication with non-tech colleagues then there’s the tech folk. Whether you work as a developer for Microsoft or IBM, you will need to communicate with people other than your tech-inclined colleagues. Do not go into this role expecting others to learn in-depth tech lingua to understand you.

Look at it this way, you are bilingual and your non-tech colleagues are monolingual. Isn’t it easier for you to communicate with them upfront than for them to learn complicated terms? The answer is clear. So, let’s say that you are trying to explain something to a team that comprises personnel with no tech background. Try to look for metaphors or analogies that they can use to grasp your point. This will save you time and increase productivity.

Now, onto the next point, you need to learn how to communicate with your tech-inclined colleagues. Most times, your duties are a small part of a big project. But that does not mean they are not important. So, you need to let your team members know your progress. Not checking in, regardless of how minute your duty is, can drag the whole team behind.

Even worse, it may cause them to do it all over again. Where is the productivity there? Especially, if you are a newbie or a lower-level employee, this does not look good for your prospects. All in all, let communication come easy to you and the work will be a lot easier. If you practice this skill, you will have a positive outlook in your job as a developer.



2. Basic typing skills

Contrary to what Hollywood shows you, not every developer types at the speed of light. Touch typing is a basic skill that every 21st century professional should have in the bag. How much for more developers? Look at it this way, your run-of-the-mill Qwerty keyboard is designed to accommodate the ten fingers.

Sure, there are a handful of developers out there that take advantage of this to the fullest. Some of them even clack away without glancing at the keyboard once. Nevertheless, you will find developers that use a measly two to three fingers to get their work done. Taking it up a notch, others have to look at the keyboard a little too much. No one is saying that alternating the gaze between screen and keyboard makes developers incompetent. In fact, they may have some of the sharpest minds in the industry. But, think of how much more productive one can be when touch typing is in the bag.

It goes a long way to save time, energy, and money. Also, at the end of the day, developers with good touch typing skills will cover more ground. So, before you try your hand at hardcore tech tasks, learn how to navigate the humble keyboard.



3. Asking intuitive questions.

Even outside the world of coding, one thing can be interpreted in more than one way. So, do not be that person who is assigned a task and delves right into it without truly understanding. This does not portray your ability to work independently. Here it is not just about asking the right questions in general.

Know which questions to ask when the need arises. Each task, no matter how similar it seems, is different. As such, you should be able to gauge which questions apply in every situation. This is where intuitiveness comes into play. The questions you ask should reveal the very essence of the task assigned.

This also involves visualization, because you should be able to conjure the issue your task is trying to solve in your mind’s eye. With this, it is easier to anticipate any future challenges and kinks that need to be worked out. It is based on this that the best questions will emerge. With this in mind, Never equate asking questions with incompetence.

In fact, it is a sign of incompetency not to ask the right questions before delving into a project. It is all about uncovering the inner workings of the project you are working on. The more answers you have the more efficient the final product will be.

4. Adaptability and willingness to learn.

There is no field where one person knows everything. New techniques, theories, and methods are learned every day. It is even more so when it comes to the tech-inclined roles. The rate at which technological advancements pop up these days is alarming. A developer who is stuck in their ways is bound to have a short career.

A clear example is how once celebrated methodologies like Waterfall have been replaced with others like Agile, Lean, and Scrum. Though Waterfall set a precedent for all these new methodologies, it would be foolish not to upgrade your knowledge. Developers have to be readily hungry to learn more.

In other words, they should have this sense of curiosity that pushes them to explore new things even when faced with impending failure. You would be surprised how many mistakes were encountered before some of the best products were perfected. Even at that, most manufacturers still upgrade their products because there is always room for improvement. Besides, being adaptable and open to new ideas makes for a better developer. It is also a great way to find out your strong/weak points, then work on them. Sure, being open-minded comes easier to some than others.

One way to fake it till you make it is to ask questions. Yes, this point is so crucial that it may pop up more than once. Asking questions is a great way to show your colleagues that you are willing to learn new things. As a bonus, it also checks the box in terms of communication.

Creativity and critical thinking.

When people hear the word creativity, their mind rushes to writing, dancing, singing, and arts in general. You would be surprised at how much creativity it takes to be a developer. Remember earlier we mentioned that visualization? It takes a lot of creativity to imagine the intricate details of a project. As such, developers should stock up on a range of creative techniques that help with tackling problems.

No one is saying developers have to cram all the creative methods out there. In fact, that takes away from the creative process. If you find a method that works for you, then have at it. This is even more necessary when the problems encountered have multiple situations. It is creativity that will help explore all the possibilities to come up with the best route.

Most times, creativity is interwoven with critical thinking. It is not enough to explore all routes and possibilities. You need to be able to reel it in and narrow down on what works. This is where critical thinking comes into play. In the long run, these skills help all developers tackle complex problems while improving all-around efficiency.



Open-source contributions.

Managing the hurdles that come with your own job is hard enough, right? Where will you possibly get the time to contribute to open-source projects? Think of it this way, in every career line you have to pay your dues. To stand out as a developer, you need to get the word out there about how good you are.

No one is going to take your word for it, they need to see it. Contributing to open-source projects is a sure way to showcase your skills. Your colleagues, peers, and superiors in the industry can catch a glimpse of your thought process. In fact, most companies are attracted to candidates that have loaded GitHub profiles with an extensive range of projects and activities.

Sure, this is not the only thing that makes a developer stand out. In fact, it may not even be the most reliable means. But, it does not hurt to show that you have been keeping busy over the years. Also, it may not completely show the range of your skill, but it will showcase the fact that you are passionate about improving your coding career.

So, even before the big offers start rolling in, look for ways to build your portfolio. Anything from your run-of-the-mill bug fixes to problems that require collaborative algorithms is up for grabs.



Documentation

What comes to your mind when you hear the word 'documentation'? Giant cabinets filled with dusty files? Online drives stocked with tons of information? Or do you even think about an old-timey secretary sorting it all out?  Well, newsflash, documentation is relevant to all fields of work. Even more, it is not just an administrative process.

As a developer, it is vital that you properly document your project every step of the way. In fact, if you are an active open-source contributor, this is one skill that you need to have handy. With proper documentation, open-source contributors have access to vital information, programming practices, applied coding conventions and so much more.

Rather than scrimmaging for information that is scattered all over the place, it could be readily available if proper documentation is imbibed. Even more, properly documenting your projects makes them more accessible for your peers. You can equally count on the fact that you’ll know exactly where your work is if you want to make reference to it in the future.

The great thing is that there are documenting resources and tools to help you get ahead. So, it may not be that hard to document your project. Altogether, it is better to put in a little effort in the present to save yourself trouble in the future. This is one way to work smart and not hard, your future self will thank you.

Time management.

This one may not be as overlooked as some others, but it is worth mentioning based on its importance. You cannot expect to thrive in the tech world, or any field for that matter, if you cannot effectively manage your time. Sure, you had to tackle deadlines back in school, but the labor market is a whole other ball game.

The thing with the tech industry is that most projects are linked to others. So, for the most part, you will be handling a small part of a large project. As mentioned earlier, this does not reduce the importance of your small role. The same way the parts of the body work together, each part of a project works in tandem.

Who knows? Without your seemingly small contribution being handed in on time, you could bring the entire project to a halt. Time management is so important that most companies employ Agile techniques to get ahead of this. If they take it that seriously, then it is probably a good idea to follow suit.

The great news is that there is a plethora of time management software and techniques out there. You can use any of them to ensure you do not get swallowed by the sheer magnitude of your work. It is also a good idea to be in constant communication with your team members. So if you are lagging behind, they know how to adjust.

Adherence to coding standards.

As much as creativity is encouraged, this should not be the case when writing the actual code. Dealing with obscure code can set projects back by months. So, though it may seem boring and underwhelming, try to stick to standard practice. Keep it simple and readable.

Conclusion

The above-listed skills may seem almost trivial to some. But contrary to what some movies portrayed, developers are not one-dimensional, reclusive types. There is so much more to the job role and with all we’ve looked at today, the sky's the limit. Remember, the field is fast-changing, but there are some soft skills that will improve efficiency and ultimately land you a spot at the top.

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A completely integrated innovation studio within the corporate framework, with a primary emphasis on making the future of the food industry accessible to all. Their core objective is to discover, create, and expand tailored automation remedies, utilizing a team of proficient individuals covering domains like engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Our central mission revolves around constructing automation technology solutions that empower individuals to achieve greater feats.

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Mid-Senior Industrial Design Engineer

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

We pride ourselves on being supportive and cutting-edge work that continuously invests in staff development, engagement and well-being. We provide security, and career paths, along with individual training programs and mentoring.

A completely integrated innovation studio within the corporate framework, with a primary emphasis on making the future of the food industry accessible to all. Their core objective is to discover, create, and expand tailored automation remedies, utilizing a team of proficient individuals covering domains like engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Our central mission revolves around constructing automation technology solutions that empower individuals to achieve greater feats.

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Electrical Engineer

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A completely integrated innovation studio within the corporate framework, with a primary emphasis on making the future of the food industry accessible to all. Their core objective is to discover, create, and expand tailored automation remedies, utilizing a team of proficient individuals covering domains like engineering, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Our central mission revolves around constructing automation technology solutions that empower individuals to achieve greater feats.

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In the role of an Electrical Engineer, your expertise and proficiency in designing electrical-mechanical systems will be a key asset, enabling you to stand out. Collaborating with our skilled team, you will play a vital role in expediting product development processes.

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Front-End Developer

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Front End React Developer

Cloud Employee is a fast-growing UK-managed offshore recruitment and staffing company in the Philippines. We tackle the growing global IT skills shortage by connecting tech companies based in Europe, the US, and Australia to our pool of expert software developers in the country.

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Frontend Developer (NextJS and React)

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Frontend Developer (Senior)

Cloud Employee, is a UK-owned Philippines business established 8 years ago. We connect high-performing software engineer talent in the Philippines with some of the world’s leading and most innovative tech companies. Developers join to work from the Philippines as part of international engineer teams and grow their CV and skill-set.

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Frontend React Developer

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Full-Stack Developer

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Full-Stack Laravel/Vue Developer (Jr to Mid)

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Full Stack .Net Developer

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Full-Stack Node/VueJS Developer (Mid - Senior)

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Full-Stack PHP Developer (Mid to Senior)

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Full-Stack PHP Developer Tech Lead

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Full stack RoR/VueJS Developer

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Fullstack Developer

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Fullstack .NET Developer

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Lead/Senior Frontend Developer (UI/UX) - Brazil

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Marketing Specialists

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Backend Developer (Python)

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Senior Full-Stack PHP Developer

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The Most Underrated Skills Of A Top Developer

February 16, 2024

You hear the words ‘top developer’ and your mind suddenly races to intricate coding skills and keen analytical capabilities. But do you know that there are soft skills for software developers that fall outside this circle?

Sure, every skilled developer needs to have a hang of programming languages. Nevertheless, there are so many soft skills for computer programmers that get overlooked for the ‘big stuff.’ These skills are vital and make for a more well-rounded professional. That’s because programming is tasking enough, but with these underrated skills, you may just get ahead of the curve.

1. Communication

Let us start by saying that communication is multi-layered here. First, there is communication with non-tech colleagues then there’s the tech folk. Whether you work as a developer for Microsoft or IBM, you will need to communicate with people other than your tech-inclined colleagues. Do not go into this role expecting others to learn in-depth tech lingua to understand you.

Look at it this way, you are bilingual and your non-tech colleagues are monolingual. Isn’t it easier for you to communicate with them upfront than for them to learn complicated terms? The answer is clear. So, let’s say that you are trying to explain something to a team that comprises personnel with no tech background. Try to look for metaphors or analogies that they can use to grasp your point. This will save you time and increase productivity.

Now, onto the next point, you need to learn how to communicate with your tech-inclined colleagues. Most times, your duties are a small part of a big project. But that does not mean they are not important. So, you need to let your team members know your progress. Not checking in, regardless of how minute your duty is, can drag the whole team behind.

Even worse, it may cause them to do it all over again. Where is the productivity there? Especially, if you are a newbie or a lower-level employee, this does not look good for your prospects. All in all, let communication come easy to you and the work will be a lot easier. If you practice this skill, you will have a positive outlook in your job as a developer.



2. Basic typing skills

Contrary to what Hollywood shows you, not every developer types at the speed of light. Touch typing is a basic skill that every 21st century professional should have in the bag. How much for more developers? Look at it this way, your run-of-the-mill Qwerty keyboard is designed to accommodate the ten fingers.

Sure, there are a handful of developers out there that take advantage of this to the fullest. Some of them even clack away without glancing at the keyboard once. Nevertheless, you will find developers that use a measly two to three fingers to get their work done. Taking it up a notch, others have to look at the keyboard a little too much. No one is saying that alternating the gaze between screen and keyboard makes developers incompetent. In fact, they may have some of the sharpest minds in the industry. But, think of how much more productive one can be when touch typing is in the bag.

It goes a long way to save time, energy, and money. Also, at the end of the day, developers with good touch typing skills will cover more ground. So, before you try your hand at hardcore tech tasks, learn how to navigate the humble keyboard.



3. Asking intuitive questions.

Even outside the world of coding, one thing can be interpreted in more than one way. So, do not be that person who is assigned a task and delves right into it without truly understanding. This does not portray your ability to work independently. Here it is not just about asking the right questions in general.

Know which questions to ask when the need arises. Each task, no matter how similar it seems, is different. As such, you should be able to gauge which questions apply in every situation. This is where intuitiveness comes into play. The questions you ask should reveal the very essence of the task assigned.

This also involves visualization, because you should be able to conjure the issue your task is trying to solve in your mind’s eye. With this, it is easier to anticipate any future challenges and kinks that need to be worked out. It is based on this that the best questions will emerge. With this in mind, Never equate asking questions with incompetence.

In fact, it is a sign of incompetency not to ask the right questions before delving into a project. It is all about uncovering the inner workings of the project you are working on. The more answers you have the more efficient the final product will be.

4. Adaptability and willingness to learn.

There is no field where one person knows everything. New techniques, theories, and methods are learned every day. It is even more so when it comes to the tech-inclined roles. The rate at which technological advancements pop up these days is alarming. A developer who is stuck in their ways is bound to have a short career.

A clear example is how once celebrated methodologies like Waterfall have been replaced with others like Agile, Lean, and Scrum. Though Waterfall set a precedent for all these new methodologies, it would be foolish not to upgrade your knowledge. Developers have to be readily hungry to learn more.

In other words, they should have this sense of curiosity that pushes them to explore new things even when faced with impending failure. You would be surprised how many mistakes were encountered before some of the best products were perfected. Even at that, most manufacturers still upgrade their products because there is always room for improvement. Besides, being adaptable and open to new ideas makes for a better developer. It is also a great way to find out your strong/weak points, then work on them. Sure, being open-minded comes easier to some than others.

One way to fake it till you make it is to ask questions. Yes, this point is so crucial that it may pop up more than once. Asking questions is a great way to show your colleagues that you are willing to learn new things. As a bonus, it also checks the box in terms of communication.

Creativity and critical thinking.

When people hear the word creativity, their mind rushes to writing, dancing, singing, and arts in general. You would be surprised at how much creativity it takes to be a developer. Remember earlier we mentioned that visualization? It takes a lot of creativity to imagine the intricate details of a project. As such, developers should stock up on a range of creative techniques that help with tackling problems.

No one is saying developers have to cram all the creative methods out there. In fact, that takes away from the creative process. If you find a method that works for you, then have at it. This is even more necessary when the problems encountered have multiple situations. It is creativity that will help explore all the possibilities to come up with the best route.

Most times, creativity is interwoven with critical thinking. It is not enough to explore all routes and possibilities. You need to be able to reel it in and narrow down on what works. This is where critical thinking comes into play. In the long run, these skills help all developers tackle complex problems while improving all-around efficiency.



Open-source contributions.

Managing the hurdles that come with your own job is hard enough, right? Where will you possibly get the time to contribute to open-source projects? Think of it this way, in every career line you have to pay your dues. To stand out as a developer, you need to get the word out there about how good you are.

No one is going to take your word for it, they need to see it. Contributing to open-source projects is a sure way to showcase your skills. Your colleagues, peers, and superiors in the industry can catch a glimpse of your thought process. In fact, most companies are attracted to candidates that have loaded GitHub profiles with an extensive range of projects and activities.

Sure, this is not the only thing that makes a developer stand out. In fact, it may not even be the most reliable means. But, it does not hurt to show that you have been keeping busy over the years. Also, it may not completely show the range of your skill, but it will showcase the fact that you are passionate about improving your coding career.

So, even before the big offers start rolling in, look for ways to build your portfolio. Anything from your run-of-the-mill bug fixes to problems that require collaborative algorithms is up for grabs.



Documentation

What comes to your mind when you hear the word 'documentation'? Giant cabinets filled with dusty files? Online drives stocked with tons of information? Or do you even think about an old-timey secretary sorting it all out?  Well, newsflash, documentation is relevant to all fields of work. Even more, it is not just an administrative process.

As a developer, it is vital that you properly document your project every step of the way. In fact, if you are an active open-source contributor, this is one skill that you need to have handy. With proper documentation, open-source contributors have access to vital information, programming practices, applied coding conventions and so much more.

Rather than scrimmaging for information that is scattered all over the place, it could be readily available if proper documentation is imbibed. Even more, properly documenting your projects makes them more accessible for your peers. You can equally count on the fact that you’ll know exactly where your work is if you want to make reference to it in the future.

The great thing is that there are documenting resources and tools to help you get ahead. So, it may not be that hard to document your project. Altogether, it is better to put in a little effort in the present to save yourself trouble in the future. This is one way to work smart and not hard, your future self will thank you.

Time management.

This one may not be as overlooked as some others, but it is worth mentioning based on its importance. You cannot expect to thrive in the tech world, or any field for that matter, if you cannot effectively manage your time. Sure, you had to tackle deadlines back in school, but the labor market is a whole other ball game.

The thing with the tech industry is that most projects are linked to others. So, for the most part, you will be handling a small part of a large project. As mentioned earlier, this does not reduce the importance of your small role. The same way the parts of the body work together, each part of a project works in tandem.

Who knows? Without your seemingly small contribution being handed in on time, you could bring the entire project to a halt. Time management is so important that most companies employ Agile techniques to get ahead of this. If they take it that seriously, then it is probably a good idea to follow suit.

The great news is that there is a plethora of time management software and techniques out there. You can use any of them to ensure you do not get swallowed by the sheer magnitude of your work. It is also a good idea to be in constant communication with your team members. So if you are lagging behind, they know how to adjust.

Adherence to coding standards.

As much as creativity is encouraged, this should not be the case when writing the actual code. Dealing with obscure code can set projects back by months. So, though it may seem boring and underwhelming, try to stick to standard practice. Keep it simple and readable.

Conclusion

The above-listed skills may seem almost trivial to some. But contrary to what some movies portrayed, developers are not one-dimensional, reclusive types. There is so much more to the job role and with all we’ve looked at today, the sky's the limit. Remember, the field is fast-changing, but there are some soft skills that will improve efficiency and ultimately land you a spot at the top.

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