How Emotional Intelligence Multiplies Intellectual Capacity and How It Is Changing the Definition of the “10X Developer”

Have you ever questioned a candidate for the position of vice president of engineering about their greatest career obstacle and how they overcame it?

It is highly probable that a discussion about the problems that exist within the workplace and with the management will arise. For example, there is the competent programmer who is not well-suited to working in a team environment. Additionally, the Chief Executive Officer is driven and determined, yet unwilling to assume a supervisory role. Furthermore, the team has undergone significant expansion, with the size having grown by two or three times, but there is no standardized process for onboarding new members, nor is there an effective way to store and share information.

It is clear that software development and technical leadership require much more than simply coding, yet why are recruiting processes not reflecting this fact? Where is the developer training which emphasizes both the technical skills and the human skills necessary for success? It is apparent that a lack of education in this area is preventing developers from reaching their full potential and a change must be made to ensure that the software industry is able to move forward in a productive and efficient manner.

For many years, the concept of a “10x programmer” has been widely discussed. This initial definition of a 10x programmer referred to a developer who was ten times more productive than their peers. However, the concept is now being redefined in terms of the programmer’s capacity to enhance the productivity of those around them. Increasingly, executives are recognizing and promoting this new definition of a 10x programmer.

Approximately 19% of Information Technology (IT) recruiters believe that soft skills are more important than hard skills, according to a recent survey conducted by ICIMS. Those involved in the hiring process that are looking for soft skills want to see attributes such as communication, problem-solving, and collaboration.

  • Problem-solving
  • Adaptability
  • Managing One’s Time
  • Organisation
  • Communicating Verbally

Problem-solving abilities are also highly sought after by technical leaders.

According to the results of HackerRank’s 2022 Developer Skills Report, which surveyed over 39,000 developers, problem-solving skills are the most sought-after trait by employers. This trait was ranked higher than knowledge of specific programming languages, the capacity to debug, and the ability to create new systems.

To have a tenfold effect on your team, organization, and codebase, you don’t need to create perfectly-architected code.

Billtrust is an industry leader in integrated receivables, and the company’s Vice President of Product Strategy, Alex Ross, attributes their success to the “attitude” of their developers. According to Ross, the key to success is having the mental flexibility to take on a new project with the goal of finding effective solutions. Moreover, the developers must think creatively to help their team overcome any obstacles they may encounter.

A tenfold developer is not only one that can generate the most code, but someone who can consistently outthink the competition. To effectively manage any challenges or barriers in the market, tenfold developers start by questioning “why“. They use this questioning to think more holistically and reach innovative solutions.

Alex is searching for a particular trait in potential developers when he interviews them: the capacity to think analytically and discover solutions to issues. He desires someone who is able to not only consider the present, but also the future, when approaching a problem. Although a robust résumé is necessary, Alex is also looking for somebody who is affable, collaborative, and optimistic.

According to Camille Fournier, author of The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change, effective communication is essential to successful software development, as it is largely a collaborative effort within most organizations. Fournier argues that effective communication is essential for teams to achieve their objectives.

At this juncture, it is important to reconsider your expectations for any individual on your team who could become a 10-times unicorn. To identify the person who will be able to provide solutions to problems and help the team work together more productively, it is essential to look beyond the scope of your codebase.

Keep an eye out for the next 10x Series instalment from Works

Are you in search of experienced programmers to join your team? If so, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be more than happy to provide you with assistance. Additionally, if you are an established developer looking for the next challenge in your career, we are always welcoming new applicants.

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